Napoleon: Total War – first look

Take on the role of history's greatest compensator

There’ll be up to 322 unique units in the game, although some of these will only be usable when playing certain historical scenarios. Interestingly, for those of you who are interested in military history, you might also notice some real-life regiments that are still around dotted about the place. To accommodate so many different varieties of unit, there’ll be an increase in the number of soldiers visible on screen during the battles.

Speaking of the battles, Creative Assembly have been stressing how they’ve wanted to make the battles feel and look more realistic. Smoke, rain and different environmental effects will all have more of a part to play this time round. For example, fight in the rain and there’s the chance that your gunpowder will become sodden, leading to the odd misfire that could have a big impact on the battle. Position the camera near cannons or cavalry charges and you might just seeyour viewjuddering about, adding to the cinematic feel of the battles.

As for the units on the field itself, the generals will have been buffed with new abilities. However, Creative Assembly have contradicted themselves a little with this.

The PR folks told us these new abilities will make us want to get the generals involved in combat a lot more frequently, instead of employing the usual tactic of hiding them at the back to make sure they don’t snuff it. However, they also tell us that the method of recruiting generals will be different, as they’ll be drawn from a finite pool instead of just created out of any unit you like.

This indicates that instead of risking him on the frontline, as the developers claim you’ll want to do, you’ll be even less keen to get him stuck in, because losing a general now would impactyour chances in the long term far more than it used to. A curious idea this is, so we’ll have to see how this develops and works out in practice.