gaming since 1997

Cossacks: Art of War

‘Cossacks, the Art of War’ is an expansion of ‘Cossacks, European War’ and requires that this game be installed before you can play AoW. After reading the review myself, there was one sentence that kept on playing through my mind: ‘Speed is a sissy’. A game that is hard on ‘Easy’? Don’t let me laugh. I played Quake on ‘Hell’. OK, I got killed in the first room, but that is a different story. So I started the original Cossacks a few weeks ago. And I must admit it is not an easy game. Actually, it’s rather difficult, or, what shall I say, it is hard actually. So Speed is not a sissy. Sorry Speed…

This expansion set offers more from the same. For starters, you get 6 new campaigns. The campaigns follow a certain order, and consist of many missions. If you want to practice a bit before going to these campaigns, you can choose freely between the 6 new missions. The rest stays the same. You are still in the 17th and 18th century, there are more then twenty countries to choose from, and there is a maximum of 8000 units on screen. If you start playing this game like you do in Warcraft (or whatever C&C clone), you won’t make it. In those games you try to make as much fighters as you can, and send them all together to the enemy. There is a problem if you have artillery, they tend to kill everything around the place of impact, but if you keep your heavy guns away from your small soldiers, everything works fine.

Not in the 17th century. The strategical aspect of war, or the ‘Art of War’, is much more dominant. If you let everyone attack together, your musketeers will be slaughtered first. After them, your cavalry and finally your pikemen. The artillery will be taken prisoner, and will attack your surviving units. Defeat comes quick if you do not have a decent attack formation. The reason for this is simple. The artillery is only capable to shoot at enemies that are not very far away. So they have to approach the enemy. If you want to defend the artillery, you have to guard them with musketeers, who can shoot at the attacking cavalry. The musketeers can not reload fast. So all they can do is shoot once and work hard to get a second bullet in their guns, usually this takes a minute. If the enemy comes close during that time, the musketeers are lost. So you have to defend them with pikemen. These guys are good against cavalry also, but their armour is not sufficient to keep the bullets out. I hope you understand this a little, otherwise you’ll have to read the manual. And that is a very thick booklet…

I can hear you thinking: “Is that all, a few new missions and campaigns?” Nope. Together with this expansion game comes an easy way to play it via the Internet. A ready to use version of Gamespy will be installed, so it becomes fairly easy to play against the rest of the World. Still not convinced? Cossacks is a game that will keep you busy a long time, and so is this expansion kit. But if you have seen it all, there is an editor included. Finally you can prove that you are a better level designer then those who invented the game.

It is fairly straightforward to make a new mission. You can adapt everything, the surroundings, mountains, rivers, even the shining of the water can be tuned. After that, you can easily put buildings and people on your new territory. The first time that you put a unit of an other country near the previous unit, is a surprise. They start to fight immediately… So click on the ‘Peace’ button if you don’t want your new units to be eliminated by the older. Because it is so simple to make a totally new environment, I suppose the Internet will be full of self made maps, although the majority will not be that good. Anyhow, players who love this game will have enough maps for the rest of their lives.

And then the final conclusion: is this a game worth buying? If you liked the first European War, then it is definitely a yes. Although there are not many improvements, (one of them is that you can pause the game to give your orders), the game itself keeps on pulling you back to the keyboard for one more try. And that is never wrong. One of the negative points that Speed mentioned was that the original game was difficult. The same can be said about the expansion, but now this is not a minus anymore. People who bought the first, know what to expect from the point of difficulty when they see an expansion.

So if you have Cossacks, and if you liked it, this ‘Art of War’ will keep you busy for more weeks of pure strategy. Oh, one more thing, there is a small MPEG clip circulating on the Internet, about this game. Try to find it, it is rather funny. If you are the man in the movie that is, woman won’t be very fond of it…

Our Score:
related game: Cossacks: Art of War
posted in: PC, Reviews
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