Crusader Kings II: Conclave (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 26.03.2016

Review for Crusader Kings II: Conclave on PC

Crusader Kings II has seen a lot about it get changed since its initial release back in 2012. New lands, religions, systems, and even a non-historical invasion have all been set up, yet after so long and so many changes, the series has struggled with finding a way to actually do something new and different. Conclave attempts to find a new way by dealing with underlings and children, but it may be doomed by 'sequelitus' before it even starts.

For those who don't know, 'sequelitus' is a term that happens when a game, movie, series, whatever, tries to keep on expanding well after it should have stopped, resulting in sub-par sequels. This happens a lot, sadly. Crusader Kings II has it bad when it comes to expansions. With a sizeable chunk of its expansions being focused more on refining mechanics already present, instead of introducing new lands and content, it can become a bit dull. Conclave attempts to avert this by focusing on a few of the various annoyances and ironing them out, as well as changing the interaction between kings and the various Lords. This doesn't stave it off, though.

This expansion focuses on three things primarily; the first, and most obvious, being the council. Absent from prior expansions (like Horse Lords, the council serves as an interesting little variation. Now, various Lords will demand seats upon the council, and giving them out can help appease certain ones. However, the council can be fickle and do a bunch of things, such as vote on rule changes, war declarations, and other such stuff. This can make it a very interesting, and difficult, thing to deal with, but in a good way. With a heavier focus on the politics and a new 'infamy' mechanic to keep players from expanding too fast by making such expansions result in negative all-around opinions and opponents even forming coalitions against the player should they become too infamous, it serves as a nice slow-down and speed-bump to keep the more vicious gamer in check.

Screenshot for Crusader Kings II: Conclave on PC

Secondly, it is now possible to set a focus for the children and their education. This makes it a lot easier to raise children, according to the role planned for them and incline them towards, or away from, certain traits and stats.

Thirdly, the law system has been changed, for the better. Now broken into multiple categories, the multitude of options, such as the status of women, can be handled individually instead of fiddling around with a lot of various other effects and pre-requisites. As a result, getting the realm to be in the desired state is much easier and less convoluted.

However, this is the problem with Conclave. All its changes are internal ones that alter or refine pre-existing mechanics, such as diplomacy, without much direct impact otherwise. If Crusader Kings II was an MMO, this would be a content patch and not an expansion, which is really where it should be. As a content patch this would be great, yet as an expansion pack… it's just not enough. It's underwhelming and, frankly, par for the course.

Screenshot for Crusader Kings II: Conclave on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

It's really sad to see scores slowly slide down like this, but with Crusader Kings II seemingly starting to get stuck in a rut due to a lack of a desire to release things like new maps (hint: China/Japan or a fantasy-style alternate campaign), there wasn't really anywhere for Conclave to go that wasn't 'sequelitus.' As a content patch it would get an A, but as an expansion? Sadly, not so much.

Developer

Paradox Development Studio

Publisher

Paradox Interactive

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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