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Review: Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon (PC)By Snowtwo At 10.02.2018 16:19

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Despite what most people think of the ancient world, even in feudal Europe, China held some degree of presence. It wasn't much, to say the least, as even kings could be forgiven for not knowing about this strange and far-off land; but it was still there none-the-less. The Silk Road, serving as a transitory chain to export goods neither side of the world had even seen, the influences brought down upon India, which was brought down on the Arabic, which was brought down upon Europe, and a few other things. At long last, China finally dips its toe into the Crusader Kings II world officially and even its toe gives a massive change.

Upon loading up the map, a new tab can be seen right next to the main mini-map. This tab will open up information about China and the current actions that can be taken with them. Various things, such as sending gifts of eunuchs and tribute, will result in gaining favour in China. Accumulate enough favour and it can then be redeemed for things such as artefacts, commanders, and even princes/princesses to marry into the royal bloodline - a nice boon, indeed. However, their whim isn't the most stable and it's possible for them to end up disliking you while favouring another nation entirely.

China is hardly the most stable land itself, as well. It will cycle through various states, such as 'Isolationist,' 'Open,' and 'Expansionist,' which can drastically impact anyone attempting to curry their favour. On top of that, China can fall into civil war or even invasions, which can have further impacts, such as refugees and the inability to call upon the mighty ally for protection.

This is a surprisingly good and interesting mechanic, providing a solid change to how the game is played, especially to those in the eastern portion of the map. The resulting change, and its impact, opens up many new avenues of play for the aspiring Eastern King. Falling in-line with China's whims and demands may be great for some players, but there are also potential rewards for rebelling against them, such as improved trade should China become opened once more if it goes Isolationist. Ignoring them entirely could allow for armies and economy to be focused to pressing and practical matters but it could also leave the player open to having a Chinese army at their doorstep.

Even to Western folk, normally out of range of China, it still plays a role as getting close enough to open up proper relationships can be a very desirable thing. Gaining access to the potential trade from the Silk Road, and a direct hand in its flow, would be a very nice thing, but it's also very far away, to the point where some may simply not be able to make it.

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This is what an expansion for this series should look like - something that doesn't feel minor and can impact choices in many areas of the actual main game itself; even ones not directly related to it. While [i]Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon[/i] is certainly not quite as epic as other expansions in the series, there is no denying the positives it brings, either, making it well worth the investment for those that have been enjoying the [i]Crusader Kings II[/i] experience so far.

7

/10

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