Empire: Total War PC Games and Downloads
PC Games and Downloads
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Released on 04/03/2009
Empire: Total War will see the debut of 3D naval combat within the Total War franchise. PC Gamers will be able to intuitively command vast fleets or single ships upon seascapes rich with extraordinary water and weather effects that play a huge role in your eventual glorious success or ignominious defeat. After pummelling your enemy with cannon fire, close in to grapple their ship and prepare to board taking control your men as they fight hand to hand on the decks.
Along with the revolutionary introduction of Naval Combat, Empire: Total War will see further enhancements to the Total War series signature 3D battles and turn based campaign map. Real time battles will pose new challenges with the addition of cannon and musket, challenging players to master new formations and tactics as a result of the increasing role of gunpowder within warfare. And the Campaign Map – for many the heart of Total War – will see new improved systems for Trade, Diplomacy and Espionage with agents, a refined and streamlined UI, improved Advisors and extended scope taking in the riches of India, the turbulence of Europe and the untapped potential of North America.
The Empires strike back
For the last decade the Total War series has utterly dominated the arcane world of the military strategy simulation. Its expert blend of turn-based campaign planning and epic real-time battles is hugely addictive, whether the fighting rages across feudal Japan (Shogun: Total War), the Holy Land (Medieval: Total War), or indeed most of the globe, as it does here.
Yes, this time developer Creative Assembly has directed its war machine at the whole of the 18th century, taking in everything from the industrial revolution, to the fight for American independence to the rise of the firearm. Empire: Total War is as magnificently detailed and sprawling as the great novels of the era, and it is so utterly involving you may need to be dragged screaming from your PC.
The 100 year war
The game's Grand Campaign kicks of in 1700. You select a nation then guide your country to global domination over the course of 100 rollicking years. Play Empire: Total War as Britain and you must avoid conflict in Europe while heading East to dominate the trade routes; play as Poland and you may want to ally yourself with the German states to counter the looming threat of Russia.
You command vast armies of grenadiers, infantrymen and other specialists, directing them across intricately detailed battlefields.
Along the way you'll need to research new technologies to improve your military arsenal, while also ensuring that domestic policies create a wealthy, intelligent and willing population. The micro-management burrows right down into the thick of taxation, agriculture and politics (want a nice friendly democracy or a harsh dictatorship? Each has its advantages, and costs...), though you can stick all that on auto if you just want to get out onto the battlefield and cause some mayhem.
Battles over vital territories are the meat of the game. You command vast armies of grenadiers, infantrymen and other specialists, directing them across intricately detailed battlefields. Your men clamber into wrecked buildings and over higher ground for cover, the landscape becoming much more a part of your tactical game than ever before.
The introduction of gunpowder provides a new dimension as you manoeuvre your cannons and musketeers into key regions, allowing you to lash enemy forces with distant gunfire. The fighting is beautifully fluid, whip-lashing across fields and valleys, and punctuated with explosions and rampaging cavalries. The visuals are so intricate it's like watching an epic war film.
There are more cunning ways to get at an enemy, with espionage and assassination proving sneaky alternatives to all-out war.
And of course, there are now naval battles. In Empire: Total War you can command an armada into fraught ocean encounters, broadsiding enemy vessels and blasting them to pieces. Unfortunately though, the combat system is fiddly and confusing, and most players will feel overwhelmed in larger face-offs. It's the one part of the game that doesn't feel perfectly balanced.
In the background, there are resources to capture and exploit, and diplomatic deals to strike; after all, you can't fight everyone all the time. There are also more cunning ways to get at an enemy, with espionage and assassination proving sneaky alternatives to all-out war.
World war fun
Empire: Total War is so vast and so deep, it really feels like you're taking a decisive role in one of the most fraught periods in world history. From all-out battles to the protection of merchant routes and the forming of alliances, this is genuinely gripping, even educational stuff. It also works on so many levels - economic, religious, social, technological - there's something in here for everyone with an interest in how war shapes the world map.
Then there's the excellent multiplayer battle option, and the promise of more online support to come. Even if you grow tired of the single-player modes (unlikely), there's much more fun to be had. Empire: Total War is, in short, essential.
- Massive in scope and enormously deep.
- Lovely visual representations of battles.
- Two excellent single player campaigns, plus online multiplayer.
- Naval battles are confusing.
- AI can glitch and stall at times.
- May be too deep if you're used to shooters.
Review by: Keith 'Strat-Head' Stuart
Review Published: 06.03.09
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