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 Napoleon Total War Review

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MesajSubiect: Napoleon Total War Review   Napoleon Total War Review Icon_minitimeSam Feb 20, 2010 7:41 pm

Napoleon Total War Review
We fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.

February 18, 2010
- In many ways, Napoleon
Bonaparte is the perfect subject for a Total War game. He lived during
a time of revolutionary technological advancement during which a number
of powerful nations were in direct conflict with each other. The
spectacle of war was at a particularly high point and Napoleon
dominated the era with a forceful personality and ambitions that
rivaled those of history's other great conquerors. And since Alexander
and Caesar already have their own Total War games, it only made sense
that Napoleon would be next.

In telling the story of Napoleon, [Trebuie sa fiti inscris si conectat pentru a vedea acest link]
created a narrower, more tightly scripted series of three campaigns,
four if you count the tutorial. You have to take the scripted nature of
the campaign for granted, if only for the sake of the story telling. It
certainly allows the team the chance to let players take on some of the
specific challenges and situations faced by Napoleon himself. Whether
you find yourself drawn into the rivalries of Italian city-states on
your march to Vienna, or watch as your corps wither away in the harsh
Russian winter, Napoleon is fairly faithful to the historical
situation. Even the small minor missions and peripheral generals lend
an air of authenticity.

The downside, of course, is that the campaigns tend to focus the
action in the same direction each time you play them. There are small
opportunities here and there to diverge from the main avenue of advance
but for the most part, if a campaign begins at A and ends at C, you can
be sure you'll have to go through B to get there. And since the three
campaigns are only linked by historical context, your successes or
failures in one won't affect the others. Fans of the open-ended,
expanding consequences of previous Total War games may feel a bit
constrained by this approach but the content overall is still
enjoyable, even if it's a bit less flexible.

[Trebuie sa fiti inscris si conectat pentru a vedea acest link]

There's a bit more room to stretch out in the Coalition's Grand
Campaign, which lets players pick from one of four (only four?) powers
in opposition to Napoleon. The world is a bit more open here, so things
are more likely to develop in unexpected ways. It's true that the
overall conflict and alliances are a bit stiff, but there's definitely
more replayability here than there is in the other three campaigns.
Even more replay appeal is sure to be unlocked once the modders start
to open up the minor nations. Our only real complaint about the design
here is that the victory conditions can sometimes bring the Coalition
members into direct conflict with each other, which seems to go against
the spirit of the game somewhat. I don't want to have to turn on an
ally just because they happen to have captured an objective I needed in
order to win.

As you expand, you'll find that the campaign AI is still a bit
passive in some areas. The main obstacles to your expansion aren't the
armies and generals of your enemy, but rather by the increasing upkeep
costs of fielding large enough armies to maintain your momentum and by
the need to keep garrisons in your rear to subdue unrest in recently
conquered regions. These are important matters to be sure, and Napoleon
himself was enthusiastically dedicated to matters of logistics, so it
suits the game historically. Developing a sufficient support system for
your armies and keeping what you've won is every bit as important as
battlefield heroism, but it still makes for a less thrilling game when
your municipal concerns begin to outweigh the military. Though they
heighten the realism somewhat, the attrition and supply rules are
another small drain on your forces but most players won't find them to
be too distracting.

[Trebuie sa fiti inscris si conectat pentru a vedea acest link]The tactical battles are still freaking gorgeous.

full campaign options from Empire have been preserved in the Grand
Campain, so players will still be improving settlements, researching
technology and conducting diplomacy under the same guidelines as
before. Though there are a few new tricks here, like the return of the
little movies that help put the campaigns into context, the biggest
improvement to the campaign is the option play in multiplayer.

One of the obstacles to multiplayer in empire building games is the
time it takes while waiting for another player to finish their turn.
Civilization IV made some great strides in this area by giving players
something to do between the end of one turn and the beginning of the
next and Napoleon follows suit by allowing you to make policy changes
and issue build orders even after you've clicked the end turn button.
When empires get a bit large, it can still take a while for players to
get everything squared away but it's still a small price to pay for the
challenge of playing a human opponent.

Since waiting out during another player's tactical battles would be
particularly obnoxious, Napoleon gives players the chance to take
control of the enemy in the other player's battle. It can create a bit
of a moral crisis if you're trying to play cooperatively, but it's a
wonderful way to stick it to your opponent every chance you get. The
whole scheme plays out very well but we were a bit distressed to find
that the game simply ends if a player drops out. We'd much rather have
had the option to continue, or at least save the game.

The tactical battles are still some of the most amazing we've ever
seen in any game. The cavalry charges, cannon strikes and wheeling
formations just look brilliant. The range of environments and
atmospheric effects add a lot of variety to the experience, which is
good because the actual range of units you'll be using is thinner than
most other games in the series. The subtly stylized graphics create a
much more powerful impression this time around but may not be to
everyone's tastes. Napoleon seems to run quite a bit better than
Empire, but then again, I've also upgraded to a better computer.
Framerate can still be a problem in the driving snow with cannon fire
bursting all around, but the visuals run fairly well when you consider
the quality of the image.

[Trebuie sa fiti inscris si conectat pentru a vedea acest link]The campaign has stronger ties to history, which is both good and bad.

terms of AI, the tactical battles are challenging but still exhibit a
few of the pathfinding and judgment problems seen in Empire. Trying to
lead large groups of units in a coherent formation is still sometimes a
bit awkward. Units still try to cross from one flank to the other if
you try to resize or reface the line. It's only a minor frustration in
single player, where you can pause the game to get things repositioned,
but it can be very aggravating in multiplayer. On the plus side, units
don't seem to go into melee mode on their own as often anymore.

Closing Comments
Napoleon is
an enjoyable addition to the Total War franchise but it's not as a big
a game changer as previous sequels. While Napoleon and his armies were
probably every bit as terrifying as Mongols, Vikings or Barbarians, the
scope of this sequel is a bit more limited. On the plus side, it allows
gamers to experience a historically inspired version of one of
history's greatest military careers. On the downside, there's not quite
as much variety here. Campaign multiplayer is a welcome addition that
neatly sidesteps the sometimes passive AI and works to reduce, if not
exactly eliminate, the potential downtime inherent in the format.
IGN Ratings for Napoleon: Total War (PC)

[Trebuie sa fiti inscris si conectat pentru a vedea acest link]
out of 10[Trebuie sa fiti inscris si conectat pentru a vedea acest link]
Great subject for a Total War game. Big on story but light of variety.
I love the new style of the graphics and the new effects. Amazing battles.
Great score and battle effects. The French gibberish is weird.
Tactical battles are still thrilling and campaign action is satisfying. AI can be a bit passive, but still challenging.
8.5Lasting Appeal
The campaign doesn't have as much variety as previous versions but multiplayer adds legs.
(out of 10 / not an average)
[Trebuie sa fiti inscris si conectat pentru a vedea acest link]

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