Monday, June 21, 2010

Empire Total War

So I got a new laptop, and, as a result, I can actually play Empire Total War, a game I bought last year that never really worked properly on my old computer. I mean, it worked decently well, but it was really, really, really slow, so I didn’t bother playing it.

So first of all, the basics on Empire Total War. Empire Total War is the 5th game in the Total War Series and is by far the most complicated, though I personally think the combat of Medieval Total War II is better.

Empire Total starts in the year 1700 and goes on till about 1800ish, it’s the time of Napoleon and European Colonization, Gunpowder, Cannon and Steel. You get the picture. The game starts out with gunpowder pretty much entrenched as the primary weapon of infantry in Europe, but with Eastern Powers still relying on swords and pikes somewhat. Calvary are pretty much light cavalry for scouting, screening, and harassing, and Cannon, while still somewhat immobile and inaccurate, are very much have their place.

So the game starts out allowing you to pick several European Nations and then a few odder ones. Obviously nations like Spain, France, and England are pickable, but they also have some others that are less known such as the United Provinces (Netherlands), Russia, and Sweden. Non-European nations include the Ottoman Empire and the Marathas of India.

Medieval Total War II, the previous Total War game, while an improvement over Rome Total War in terms of adding more Religion features, a 3d map, and a very good family tree method however, does not boast of many of the feature of Empire Total War. First of all, Empire Total War is at truly a global game. Players can battle in Europe, India, North America, and even the coast of Africa and the East Indies. Furthermore, provinces no longer have every single factory and farm all in the capital, but spread out over the province. This allows for several things, including raiding actually being somewhat useful. Realistically, several small bands of fast moving units (cavalry?) can run over the map, hit a town, factory or plantation, do damage to it, making unusable for a turn or two, and depriving your opponent of valuable resources. Also, for the first time in the history of the Total War series, Naval Battles are actually playable! I have not fought many of these such battles, and have been told they are somewhat clunky and unrealistic, but they do actually have them, so that is saying something.

The biggest difference I think, from previous Total War games, is the government and how you run your empire. Previous games pretty much worked like an absolute monarchy, sometimes with the King given missions or advice or commands from powerful figures within the government (the Pope, the Senate, the Nobility, etc) but essentially the King/Emperor/the Player had absolute power. His family controlled the government and having a large number of various relatives of semi-competent city-management and army-commanding abilities generally was a good thing.

Empire Total War does provide for an absolute Monarchy for many of its nations, however, it also allows for more modern governments such as a constitutional monarchy or even (I think) a democracy or republic of sorts. Also, because many of these kinds of governments do not look kindly upon dynasty politicians, the family tree of the head of state really doesn’t matter. No one cares if you are royalty in a democracy! As a result, generals are no longer carefully raised and nurtured to have that natural killer instinct, but simply hired and promoted from the ranks or picked out from a list of promising candidates. All of this makes the game a rather different animal than previous Total War games, but I think in a good way.

Anyways, so my personal experience has been rather entertaining. Being the TCK I am I of course decided to play the Marathas of Southern India (who actually traditionally ruled the area of India I was born in) and proceed to conquer the horrible Mughals that oppress my Northern brothers! The Marathas are interesting in comparison to European Nations. Obviously Europeans have more use for Muskets and Cannon, and less for sword and spear, yet I am finding Maratha cavalry to be frighteningly powerful against lesser trained musket-men. A general frontal charge can leave them reeling, and a flanking attack will do wonders. My artillery is rather underpowered, as I’m still using 15th and 16th century era cannon, but that is primarily because I don’t really need them! Yet, that is.

My only real problem is my navy. Basically, you star with no good naval base and I’ve pretty much spent my time conquering the land based Mughals, however, this means that every so often the Mughals surprise me with a naval raid or blockade of my ports that does wonders for destroying my economy in the short term. Its nothing more than a setback and a rather annoying inconvenience, but if they Mughals actually were on the offensive on the land, it would be truly frustrating.

Anyways, my current plans are to finish conquering the Mughals, which will probably take some time, and then turn my eyes to the Ottomans and Persians. I think it would be hilarious if I managed to sail a fleet into say… Spain or better yet North America, but I’d like to have a bit of a more realistic approach to this game.

On another note, the US is awesome. I’ve been greatly enjoying some relaxing time with my family. Jet-lag is passable, but because I have nothing to do I force myself to stay up late so I have a better chance of sleeping in. Hopefully by the end of this week I’ll be all over jetlag and I’ll have no problems with sleeping late.

Quickie Edit: I apologize for not posting so much, I have a few more things I can probably post about and I'll try and get several updates up this week, we'll see how things go.

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