This review is one of the hardest I’ve had to do for a number of reasons. For one, the game crashes. Allot. For another, the glitches it harbors can kill the game from time to time. Even more infuriating is when it locks up the computer, forcing a restart. And yet, for all of that stress, I do really enjoy this game. Here’s what it’s about.
The Guild 2, a sorta/kinda/almost sequel to Europe 1400, is a life sim not entirely unlike The Sims and is set in medieval Europe. You select a gender, religion, profession and appearance, then head off to start your dynasty. What starts with your first character scraping out a living in a simple carpenter’s shop or pub can eventually lead to you running the most powerful family in the lands, with control of the local government via political office and a grasp on the economy by supplying the goods it’s people need. The way you go about this is quite interesting. I’ll be referring to my main game for most of this review, so let’s start there. My dude started life in the city of Nottingham with nothing but a hut to sleep in, although as far as I can tell, sleeping is rather useless since you never tire (there are other uses, though). I built him a pub to run and started micromanaging the finer details of it’s business to try and make him a prominent citizen in town. As the years passed, it dawned on me that he was going to be the only of his line if I didn’t get him married and have some offspring, so I courted some lady I met in the town market, and they soon got married and had a son.
Now on in years, he has retired and given his son the business and is focusing on making it to a political office. His son is courting a high-society lady, rather then the peasent his Dad married, proof that I’m putting a little more care into his relationship. Since there are up to 16 other dynasties running around any given time, you’ll be competing with or against them for most everything – resources, land, business, politics, and most of all money. My pub got attacked a number of times and also got stink-bombed once while I was trying to scrape some money together to send dude’s kid to school, which cost me profits while the shop was sitting empty. The game has allot to manage, which is why it’s rather fortunate that the game comes with some automation. You can put your business’ on ‘automatic,’ and they will run themeselves for the most part, to the degree that you let them.
The graphics range from poor to above average. The scenery is very well done, as is the lighting, but the character models are downright ugly. It also takes a good system to get it to run well. The loading times between buildings and the like are often fairly short usually happen only the first time you enter. The sound quality is alright, with barely decent speech, pompous music and middling sound effects. The speech rarely matches the movements of the character speaking, though.
The bugs, though. Oh man, are there bugs. They aren’t as prominent as they were when the game first came out, thanks to patching, but they’re still very prevalent. The worst one I’ve seen involved the lower halves of every person in town to be transposed with a cow (!). Seriously, the people were all cows from the waist down. I laughed for awhile, until it turned out that it wasn’t a temporary problem. I have also lost a character to NPC-dom after my first year once, meaning that I had no one at all to control. These and other glitches provoke allot of profanity and slamming of furniture.
However, like I said, I keep playing it anyway. I get enough fun out of it when it works that – similar to Morrowind, another crash-prone game – I’m compelled to keep working through the issues to get to that nugget of fun I know is there. If you have the patience, then I recommend you pick it up and give it a shot. Those that value their sanity, though, should think twice. Alphasim out.