The latest offering in the strategy franchise that includes Rome takes full advantage of the medieval period's colorful pageantry. While Rome broke new ground with its introduction of fully 3D soldiers who could move and fight independently from their fellow soldiers, Medieval II has dug even deeper, adding interesting finishing moves to the game's massive battles. Knights sport unique heraldic emblems, their warhorses are draped in different styles of barding, and the lowly foot soldiers who support them wear mismatched pieces of armor and clothing like the poorly trained peasants they were.
The franchise's political and economic systems have also been improved. Negotiations between factions are much more detailed now, with the other side giving you verbal clues as to their disposition and the likelihood that they'll stick to their word.
Medieval II is an addictive game to play. You'll find yourself repeatedly saying 'Just one more turn,' only to find yourself still playing two amazingly short hours later. For a strategy title, there isn't much higher praise.