Cossacks: European Wars
When CDV released Sudden Strike the game got loads of positive reviews since it was both fun to play and had great graphics. The only downpoint of the game was that it was not really easy for the average gamer to finish.
Now, CDV has released another real-time strategy game, and it’s up to you to command incredible amounts of units in several countries in the ancient times when Russia was not Communist yet.
Cossacks:European Wars gives you both the possibility to play a campaign or a mission. While missions are focused on one goal you need to achieve, campaigns rather have you going through several missions in real-time while you need to complete one main goal.
To give you an idea of how this works I’ll tell you that in a campaign you can for instance get the orders to join up with troops from an emperor as a main goal, but on the way you’ll get several sub-missions like free a priest and protect him or kill all enemy forces that you encounter.
When playing a mission, there will only be one goal like “conquer the island”.
You always get some troops (varying from farmers over musketeers to even battle ships), and from time to time you’ll be able to build a whole city which you’ll need to defend from enemy forces.
Don’t think it’s easy to do that though. When you have control over a city you need to really make sure everything is balanced so that you will have enough gold to pay your troops, make sure you have enough stones and wood to build buildings, and have enough iron to create bullets for instance.
Since Cossacks gives you control over as many units you want, it’s easy to loose the overview, and if you for instance run out of gold, your mercenaries (cheaper troops) will revolt and start fighting against you, or if you run out of iron your troops will not be able to shoot bullets anymore. The problem is that you need enough troops to defend your city while you also need enough farmers and other units to keep supplying your troops with stuff they need.
Cossacks is defenitely not an easy game. While you are doing your best to create a well-balanced town with enough resources, hundreds of enemy units from different empires will start attacking you, making your life hell.
This is not some kind of Command&Conquer clone where everything is pointed towards military success, but rather a kind of Civilisation game where you have to command hundreds, if not thousands, of units to keep everything going.
Graphically, the game is just as good as Sudden Strike was, which means that units are well detailed and although the maps are huge, it’s easy to spot specific things.
The only minor itch I found was that if you want to select a specific unit in a big crowd, you’ld better go through the units-menu than by just clicking on that unit because chances are you’ll either have multiple units selected, or not the correct unit.
The gameplay is quite good, except that this is defenitely a game for die-hard RTS gamers. I’ve been playing Cossacks for a few weeks now and although I’m very easily capable of finishing strategy games like Red Alert and Civilisation, I’ve been unable to finish any of the campaigns of Cossacks except for the training-campaign (which explains how things are done in a very good way)
The only last “negative” point of the game is the soundtrack. It’s dull and uninspired.
In the beginning you will not really notice it, but after a while you’ll have the same music over and over again in each mission and/or campaign, only disturbed by bleeps that are supposed to make you aware there is a problem.
I already see flames coming towards me for giving Cossacks only a 7/10 for gameplay (which I admit is pretty low for Cossacks) but the reasons for this are clear : No possibility to change difficulty settigns for a campaing and the single missions are already very hard for an average gamer if you play them on the “easy” level.
If I would rate this game only for the hardcore RTS audience, Cossacks would get a defenite 9 for gameplay (which would increase the total score up to 80) but since we’re here to give the average gamer and idea, I decided for the score that you see above.
Overall, Cossacks is a must-have game for the Die-Hard RTS crowd. If you’re only starting with strategy games or are an average gamer, you might want to check out some other titles though