installation issues aside, i've been playing this game for a while now. its just as fun and addictive as the Total War games of old and perhaps a bit more. the changes made to the game just make sense with the farms and forts and so on. it makes it so that an invading army can incite a lot more havoc this time around since you can bypass the actual city and focus on destroying infrastructure like the farms and even ports. of course, the AI isn't going to just let you get away with it as they'll try to intercept your army, but if they can't field an army big enough to challenge yours, then you can literally choke the life out them which you never really could do in the old TW games.
the sea battles are as much amazing as they are breathtaking to look at. the ships ride some of the most realistic looking water ever seen in a video game outside of Crysis, and said ships actually move with the waves which can make battles in stormy weather even more challenging in addition to the added epic feel. the ability to directly control the ships is useful as well, and it really adds a nice touch when you only have one ship in your fleet.
performance wise, this game runs very well on my system. with no AA or AF @ 1900x1080, Default High settings, the game seems to run at a steady 45-60 FPS during battle sequences which is the most demanding graphically. i've adjusted the settings, though, by reducing the shadow effects to Medium and then maxed everything else. the FPS then dropped to about 35-45 which is more than acceptable for a strategy game.
my only complaint so far: the AI pathfinding in the realtime battles sucks. you'll give an order for an army to move to a certain spot, and its almost a given that they'll try to take the scenic route. you can, however, use this to your advantage in the battles since your troops can easily pick apart an approaching unit that's crossing perpendicular to your units in order to attack one of your flanking units on the other side of your line.
so far, so good, though. most of the changes are welcome ones, and i'm currently enjoying my chance to mop the floor with the Ottomans as France.