by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
To spice things up, the game's multiplayer experience has been enhanced by the addition of a drop-in mode. Right before battle, the game asks you if you want to find a human opponent online which is easily the best new feature ever to be introduced to the series. Suddenly, battles against human players have real meaning, rather than the pointless 'battle only' multiplayer games in the original.
Another new addition to the series is Achievements. These can be viewed in the ever inadequate Steam interface and have colorful names like "The Hand-and-dagger On Black Chain" for assassinating 15 people and "Russian Doll On Green Ribbon" for winning the Europe campaign on Easy. I am sure there are some people who will find some enjoyment in these, but they are a far cry from the achievements and real-time log in - for instance – Dragon Age: Origins. A miss, as far as I'm concerned.
On top of these new features, numerous small enhancements have been made. One of my favorites is the increased significance of army generals. The still have ancillaries that influence their morale and command ratings but they are also able to inspire units and bolster morale on the battlefield through new buttons in the battle interface. On the campaign map, they are also able to fill up the ranks of units that are not at full capacity.
Some games are difficult to review. There can be any number of reasons for this, but in the case of Napoleon: Total War, the reason turned out to be that it is entirely too similar to its older sibling. I wouldn't go so far as to say "You might as well play France in Empire: Total War" but when you finish the campaigns, you will probably want to go back to Empire.
The new features and subtle improvements – do – have a positive impact on the game but I can't help but feel that there is something missing. I would have loved to see some relation between each of the campaigns. As it stands, there is no relation whatsoever, but how hard would it have been to carry over research, generals and admirals with the experience they have gained? Another thing that is lacking is the ability to play on the world map. While there is no direct historical reason for doing so, it is known that Napoleon was eying India for future expansion. And isn't it a shame that we can't use the new features to conquer the entire world?
These issues aside, Napoleon: Total War is as solid as its predecessor and will no doubt keep you glued to your PC for days or even weeks. And when you have beaten Wellington on easy, I am sure you will go back in and try on each consecutive difficulty level to see if you can succeed where one of the greatest generals who ever lived could not.
Napoleon. Drop-in multiplayer for campaign battles.
No relation between the individual campaigns.