Napoleon: Total War – first look

Take on the role of history's greatest compensator

Civilian units will also change. Gone are the wandering preachers, unrealistic in this particular timeframe, while the Rake has morphed into the Spy, who’s able to slip into enemy camps for purposes of sabotage. Gentlemen are still around, and will be able to distribute pamphlets for propaganda and political destabilisation purposes.

Strangely, naval combat seems to have less emphasis placed on it than in Empire. Whether this is true or not, only time will tell. It would be a strange decision, given the importance navies played in the Napoleonic Wars: Trafalgar, anyone? Some improvements will be made, like the new ability to repair ships while at sea. Again, whether this means completely repaired or just patched up a bit, we don’t know just yet.

Creative Assembly are claiming that Napoleon will appeal to a broader base than any other game in the Total War franchise. The focus on smaller-scale campaigns instead of distant grand strategy will, they say, make it more appealing to regular strategy players. Ones who like to micro- rather than macro-manage, perhaps. This is the sort of thing we can only determine after playing the game first-hand, so we won’t comment on the validity of these claims just yet.

Having said that, it does make sense that people put off by the sheer scale of the grand campaign will be more likely to embrace a cut-down version. Those who weren’t enamouredwith Empire won’t find this expansionchanging their minds. However, the smaller scale, extra development, and tweaks made to the engine might be enough to convince you that it isn’t a wreck after all.

Creative Assembly have a history of making good expansions for their games, so we can’t see any reason this won’t follow in that grand tradition. And if you’re wondering where Waterloo is, you’ll be able to play that as a historical scenario. The main campaign finishes in 1812, so Napoleon’s final bow will be taken elsewhere.

Oct 15, 2009

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