Napoleon: Total War
Sega profiles Napoleon: Total War as a standalone expansion focused on the little French dictator. Empire: Total War may be the basis for this game, there’s quite a lot of innovations present, some returning from older titles.
The main part here are the campaigns: Napoleon’s battles in Italy, Egypt an Europe, ending with the famous battle at Waterloo. These campaigns are equal (although more extensive) to those of the US in Empire: each next step is more complex. Those that want to leave behind the strategic map to directly jump into the action can reply the most famous battles including two sea fights. Next to that you can also get to work as one of Napoleon’s enemies (UK, Austria, Prussia and Russia) which gives you the option to do a historical campaign or “world domination”. Were set in 1780 – 1815 and after the big campaign from Empire.
Recruiting a general is done differently than before: four make themselves available for the fatherland and some money. After a number of turns a new one arrives if there’s an open spot. In total you can have four at the same time and historical figures like Napoleon himself are also present and even have as special ability that they can’t die. In battle they can get heavily wounded (and in the end disappear) but after a couple of turns they’ll be available in the capitol again.
Spies can now also sabotage armies. If they succeed in doing that the struck army can no longer move. A handy instrument to quickly send back additional forces to the threatened region. Religion doesn’t really play a role which is quite logical as back then there were no more real religious wars. Religion agents have also disappeared but settlements will still have a certain belief and this will play a role in the relations with other countries. The gentlemen are also still present but they didn’t receive any new skills.
Supplies are quite important now and after combat troops will automatically be replenished when they’re lead by a general and located in a province of their own, or an allied one. How fast you can get your troops back to full strength depends on a number of things like how many supply factories are present, properties of the general and technology. For the first time attrition appears and making your men go through deserts or snowy landscapes will result in deaths and desertion. Certain special units are immune to this and new buildings take this into account. You can for instance put down a couple of structures that will replenish your army faster.
When besieging a hostile settlement you can ask your enemy to surrender. Whether he complies depends on the size of their army and yours, and how important the settlement is. In some cases he’ll make it clear from the start that surrender is not an option though. When conquering a town you can occupy or plunder it. The latter brings in more money but will result in an unhappy population. When you conquer the capitol of a previous state, you can also choose to “liberate”.
On the battlefield certain special units have specific skills. The general can again rally and inspire his troops, if only for a limited amount of turns and with a “cooling down period”. It doesn’t guarantee that a fleeing units won’t return though. Artillery can do a barrage of shots towards the enemy for a limited amount of turns which has all cannons shoot at the same time and has a bigger impact on the enemy’s morale. Also the radar map has been renewed and more topographical info is available which can have you make better use of strategic heights. Also interesting is that soldiers can earn more experience and in a faster way.
In the singleplayer there’s also the possibility for “drop-in battles” which allows you to invite a friend to join a fight instead of the AI. Through the multiplayer you and your friends can also get going in the campaign or decide to fight each other. Napoleon: Total War again works with Steam so you can easily use your friendslist.
There’s only one conclusion possible: Napoleon: Total War is again a great expansion of a great series. It’s hard to find flaws and if there are any they hardly influence the gameplay in a negative way. A must-have.