I got quite a bit of feed back after my first review. I promised that if my opinion changed I would put up a new review for all to see...and holy moly did I change my mind!
After my initial disappointment I put the game down for a few days. When I finally got a break from my hectic week I decided it was time to give Sims another go. I decided the best course of action was to start a new game (aka a whole new village). Right away I got to make my own custom Sim monarch. I didn't get to do this in my initial game. I knew right away one of the big things I hadn't realized; this Sims starts you off in a "tutorial" village. Although they don't tell you this the whole first game you select is one big long tutorial. Right away everything that didn't make sense as to why I couldn't do this or that became clear. The tutorial has a much more linear game for you to play so you can learn the basics. That being said the tutorial game itself really isn't all that helpful. For some things yes, but it doesn't show you other things in a very clear way.
For example, you get to play as several different classes of Heros (the monarch, the wizard, the medic, the tavern keeper, ect) but the game doesn't tell you how to access these characters in the beginning. It forces you to only play as the Monarch so you can follow one track. Although you can place the buildings for the other heros you don't get access to their quests.
All the quests you have available are in one quest tree. You pick one then get several options on how you want the story to unfold. So for example I picked a quest where I had to find a legendary lobster (yea a lobster) and I had 3 options on how I wanted to go about finding him. As a main character I could pick the monarch, the medic, and the knight (who I don't have yet). I decided my poor medic needed some experience (each hero gains experience points to get better locations for themselves) so I followed his story tree. The monarch in this situation adds a second story line to go along with this quest.
As you gain more Kingdom Points (which you gain from quests) you as the monarch can place new buildings for your town. Once you place one you get to make the main character who resides there. So when you place the barracks you get to make a custom Sim who acts as your warlord/knight for the village you are creating.
The best way I can figure how to sum up the game play is you take Fable and smash it together with The Sims. Its a semi-linear Sims game which is a refreshing break from the super sand box that The Sims normally is. You still get some of the classic Sim features like decorating your buildings, although you don't get to create the base footprints for them. So you start with a small castle, then you get to add on to it when you buy the feast hall with your points. The Wizard Tower is a 3 story building while the Hospital is one longer story building.
Medieval runs on the Sims 3 engine and if you have played Sims 3 you will recognize certain features like the ambitions (what you Sim wants to do each day) and if you accomplish these you get mood boosting points which help you complete quests better. You can go on adventures, hunt wild bears, feed the pit beast in your town, explore caves, sail the seas, host parties, send messages by carrier pigeon, and sword fight to your hearts content! While your sim still has the hunger and energy bar of previous games, gone and hygiene and need to use the bathroom constantly.
After this restart I now have to say I am in LOVE with this game. I have to be careful though because like other Sims once you start playing all of the sudden hours have mysteriously vanished and you wonder what happened to them. If your a reenactment nerd like me (Hurray SCA!) this game holds a special sort of place and I can see playing it a lot in the non-camping season of the year to fill that hole. However I think many people will find something to love about this game. Its different enough from any other in the Sims series you will feel like its something brand new. An excellent edition to your game collection and a new turn for The Sims series!