Ah, uhh, well, at face value, this comment would seem to validate some of the arguments this guy has been spamming on.
But yes, the historical battle was frustrating. I still haven't won it. The campaign tutorial was pretty easy, though.
On a side note, I finally finished all the Song of Ice and Fire books out so far, so I get your screen name reference now... which is also referenced in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening, as I mentioned some time ago. I made a separate post about the Dragon Age II demo here, which came out the same day.
Oops, my bad, face value isn't everything and I wrote it after losing -again- at Sekigahara. It's more that my strategies developed out of my general feeling that castles in Medieval 2 were the worst except in a few strategic spots (there were maybe....4 territories I would consider turning into a castle). The problem was always money, castles didn't do it for me and their defensive value eroded quickly as you expanded your borders. Cities have the free upkeep, they were money machines, they never lost their value, and some of the best units in the late game came from cities (Scots Guards, Sword and Buckler Militia, Musketeers etc)
Almost all of my friends play TW and tended to have one primary force full of expensive castle troops but I preferred fielding 3-4 full banners of militia with the trade off being that casualties ran really high because there's really nothing spear militia can do against dismounted knights. It led to a slight difference in the gaming experience since they would feel that one army was "theirs" since it stuck with them through the whole campaign whereas my units were constantly either destroyed, disbanded, reorganized, etc. One friend of mine had a 10% acceptable casualty threshold, the battle was a failure for him if he reached more than 10%. Against that sort of backdrop, thats how I got my "Dark Lord" style of play, since they were just constantly stunned at how bloody it could be for me but it was just a logical consequence of showing up with militia to a party for knights.
-Family trees are back. I hated how this was removed in Empire. You no longer had the sense of continuing a dynasty of playable characters through the centuries, and you couldn't use your ruler as a general. This all returns.
On the battle mode:
-Units can be assigned to groups, like in a real-time strategy game (like StarCraft).
-Groups can be permanently assigned to various mass formations.
Well you've been able to assign them to groups for a few games and at least since Rome (I think), been able to put them in formations, except now they have pretty names. I never liked the formations though, they always tended to be narrow but deep where the AI would almost always form up into wide and shallow formations.
I'm also thrilled at the return of the family tree as well, especially the ability to grant offices to family members and the vulnerability of generals to bribes. Since they've improved the aggressiveness of the AI when it comes to agents over the past couple of games, I hope they struck a balance between Rome's bribing (you didn't need to garrison italy with anything more than a diplomat in a city sometimes) and Medieval 2's bribing (62,000 just to disband a force you could annihilate with 3000 worth of knights).
Did you find the enemy agents particularly aggressive on the campaign? It was like a flashback to Medieval 2 watching some enemy merchant annihilate my whole merchant force.
On the campaign map, I think the best streamlining they did was putting province developments under the main city. When they were making Empires one of the features they advertised was "develop straight from the map." That turned out to be a huge nightmare for me, since I would have to spend agonizing time scrolling through the villages.
Returning the recruitment of agents is also a huge plus, since it was frustrating in Empires to have a Gentleman appear in the backwaters of Russia 10 turns away from...well anything.
How do you feel about the new art style and interface on the campaign map? I think its very impressive and beautiful, but in terms of being a game interface the icons run a little small for me and its not readily apparent what it is I'm building sometimes.