by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
Forging an empire
The war is going badly. We need a win in Lahore, or all will be lost. Our carefully planned campaign against the Mughal Empire had worked beautifully, leaving them all but defeated. Everything went according to plan until Mysore declared war and quickly conquered our home province of Carnatica. Their move made perfect tactical sense. We took a gamble and stripped our home garrisons of all but a handful of infantry. We didn’t have any choice with the Mughal Empire threatening to overrun our cities like a tidal wave. With daring and skillful tactics we defeated their two main armies and had enough men left standing to push all the way through to Lahore. Our conquest left our forces stripped thin, having to leave regiments in each region to keep control and suppress any sign of rebellion.
With our backs exposed, Mysore saw an opportunity to invade and quickly take possession of some of our most profitable provinces. If it had not been for general Rawat who stopped the enemy advance the moment they left Arcot, we would probably have lost the war already. Now that was some good soldiering! He defeated ten regiments of horse, infantry and cannons with just three regiments of line infantry. Ha! If only all of our regiments were as strong and unwavering as his. But stopping the advance is not enough. We need to take Carnatica back or we will fail to make the payroll next month. A win in Lahore would give us time to consolidate our newer conquests while changing our focus to teach Mysore a lesson that they won’t soon forget.
The Total War series is eight years old. Four great games and five expansions in eight years is no mean feat. With that, Creative Assembly’s track record for delivering great gaming experiences is rivaled by only a handful of other developers. The series has already taken us to medieval Japan, ancient Rome and medieval Europe. With Empire: Total War, the developers are now ready to take us to the ‘Early Modern’ era on a map that spans almost the entire planet.
No more walls
During the Early Modern era, nations ruled using tall ships, steadfast infantry and wall crushing cannons. Because of the latter, walled cities became increasingly rare though some nations were still building forts and cities as late as the early 1800’s. The strength of a nation was measured not only by its standing army but also by the bulk and value of its trade, its overseas holdings, navy and of course its allies. In Empire: Total War, it is up to you to achieve success by managing all the above and more. No easy task, but definitely a fulfilling one.
The theme of Empire: Total War is its introductory campaign called ‘The Road to Indepence’. It is made up of a string of short campaigns in which the player is given various missions that eventually lead to the creation and independence of the United States of America. The campaign is a bit short but fun for both veteran players and those new to the series. After that, you will dive into a Grand Campaign which encompasses not only Europe and North America, but will also add India, the Middle East and South America as playable regions. It is entirely up to you whether you will focus on overseas expansion or more local endeavors.
Agents and trade
Gameplay is very similar to Empire’s more recent predecessors. Some of the mechanics have been tweaked, others changed but the only two major changes are the addition of sea battles and research. That is not to say that the smaller changes don’t deserve mentioning.
The most welcome change is that buildings are no longer restricted to your cities. They can be found all over the map and appear as farms or small towns in which a particular building or industry can be built. These buildings are tied to the region that they are located in so that you won’t, for example, find a spice plantation in Europe. Local production can be traded to other nations and you will find that your goods are particularly in demand in regions that do not have their own supply. The demand for goods varies, and so does its price. In many cases it is possible to destroy a building to make room for a different type of industry, one that fits better with current demand.
No Pros and Cons at this time