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Old 03-20-2009, 10:19 PM   #110
Follow the Wolves
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Join Date: May 2004
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Current Game: Forza 5
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well, i finally completed my first campaign. i can't say it was easy, but at the same time, i can't say that it was too difficult, either. i'm going to have to ratchet up the difficulty for my next playthrough. overall, it was a great experience for this ol'timey Total War fan. there were a *lot* of changes from the previous two installments, but most of those changes were welcome changes.

what i liked
  • the addition of a real tech tree is a huge step forward since you can develop technologies instead of eventually "discovering" them as with the previous games.
  • making cities and regions more of a separate identity was a very nice touch. before, a region was defined by its city. now, its has its own identity with one capital and a number of smaller towns. it reduces confusion and increases the strategy element.
  • the scale is vastly expanded as well which was yet another welcome addition. i always wanted to go out and establish a Roman Empire that covered Alexander's Empire, and while you can't really do that here, the game world is still massive as it includes most of North America, all of Europe, most of Western Russia, all of India, and the Caribbean. of course, there's also several coastal areas that can be conquered by your ships for valuable trade.
  • Naval battles are a huge addition to this game, and they are just as fun to play through as a land battle. its a bit tricky since you need to use the wind to your advantage (most of the time), but its well worth figuring it out so you can decimate your opponent.
  • like the other Total War games, this one is very addictive. plan on spending hours trying just to get through one campaign, and it helps to plan for some sleep loss, too.

what i didn't like:
  • the terrible AI. clearly, this game was made from scratch since the AI was hardly a complaint in Medieval 2, but it doesn't change the fact that the AI does some very dumb things. this goes for both the strategic and battle maps. in the strategy map, it doesn't make sense to declare war that has a massive military and economic advantage over you. despite this, a number of very small nations decided to declare war on me despite the fact that one of my large armies was stationed within 2-3 moves of their territories. in battles, it was worse. charging infantry headlong towards a group of cannons that are firing grape shot is never a good idea. and don't even get me started at how the AI will orient their units to fire on my infantry lines all while completely exposing their flanks to my cavalry. the AI just doesn't make sense.
  • as good as the graphics are, i have to wonder why its only marginally better than Medieval 2. textures are easily just as blurry, and compared to World In Conflict, everything just isn't very detailed. i honestly think that even Medieval 2 had more variety from soldier to soldier. in this game, its more like Rome where you have a lot of clones running around only they at least have some variance to their outfits (although not much). i'm not expecting something like Crysis, but World In Conflict is a better looking game despite the fact that it came out while Empire was still on the drawing boards.
  • the cinematics are very broken (at least on my computer). anytime a cinematic pops up, the video stutters and skips while the audio just goes on. its awkward to say the least, and its the main reason why i haven't played through the Road to Independence Campaign.

score: 4.5 / 5

See the struggle of the faithless lot as they negate their time
How low to sink to the depths of their frame of mind

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