Real time strategy games have never been my favourite game genre and if I’m honest I’ve only played a handful in the last few years. I tend to prefer more lightweight RTS games such as Pikmin or Mega Lo Mania. I just couldn’t get into Command and Conquer and the many others that were popular on the PC during the late 90’s. Empire Total War comes from the Creative Assembly crew that bought us recent console game Stormrise as well the other more well known Total War games such as Rome and Medieval.
Empire Total War for PC takes you back to the 18th Century to battle on Land and by Sea spanning most of the known globe including India, Europe, Scandinavia and The America’s. So not only will you be controlling ground troops but warships across the high seas in a bid to take over the world. There is an absolute ton of content in this game and as it comes on two DVD’s you’d expect nothing less (I’m sure the gorgeous FMV intro fills up disc one on its own), I really haven’t got the time to go over everything here so for the most part I hope you’re familiar with the franchise.
After played the tutorial you start the game and you’ll probably want to head into one of the main game modes which are The Road to Independence and The Grand Campaign. The Road to Independence let’s you follow the interesting story of the rise of George Washington and Grand Campaign sees you pick a nation then have 100 years to take that Empire and further make it the biggest the world has ever seen. Now a few years ago this would have been fairly straightforward because games were just smaller and less far reaching back then but today Empire Total War is full to the brim with everything you’d need to take over the real world let alone one set in the 1700’s. You have two advisors who will pop up from time to time to advise you on what to do next or you can call upon them at anytime to explain any of the game panels to you.
Now if you thought delving deep into the Microsoft Windows Control Panel was confusing then take a deep breath because Empire Total War has more Windows and Panel’s than your local double glazing dealer. Absolutely everything is here from dealing with your Governmental duties such as Tax and Expenditure, to Missions, Army and Fleet Building, Trade, Diplomacy, Revolutions, Public Happiness and even Prestige. This is all before you think about going into battle where you need to balance your ground infantry and artillery with keeping your soldiers morale up with the presence of your General and Admiral as well as making sure you’re not losing the fight.
All your units are controlled by mouse and keyboard and once you are used to controlling them it isn’t so daunting controlling hundreds of troops but you must bear in mind that they are totally under your control and won’t even so much as sneeze without you telling them. You’ll constantly need to check their status and issue new commands whilst moving your camera around the 3D map to plan your strategy. What about the Ship Battles? Well most of the same applies but now you’re controlling warships but now you have to deal with formations, wind speed and direction as well as boarding enemy ships, dropping anchor – all whilst dealing with the battle at hand.
If you’re after a lengthy strategy game to see you through until next winter then you’ll not go wrong with Empire Total War, however if you’re new to this type of game then I think you may want to start with something a little easier because I found it very complex and slow going even with the AI helping me out.
Not only will you need masses of patience and time but a powerful PC is recommended if you’d like a decent framerate, a dual core CPU and a decent video card is the minimum you’ll need if you want to get a decent looking experience with the highly detailed and animated graphics. Empire Total War is as hardcore as you can get and fans of the series will not be disappointed by the sheer breadth of stuff in single player mode but also multiplayer against up to 7 others. It’s not easy (even on easy mode) so isn’t good for those new to the genre or to video games in general but if you’re a diehard Risk lover then this will make you giddy with excitement. Empire Total War scores a rather complex 8 out of 10.
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