Empire: Total War will see the debut of 3D naval combat within the Total War™ franchise. PC Gamers will be able to intuitively command vast fleets or single ships upon seascapes rich with extraordinary water and weather effects that play a huge role in your eventual glorious success or ignominious defeat. After pummelling your enemy with cannon fire, close in to grapple their ship and prepare to board taking control your men as they fight hand to hand on the decks.
Along with the revolutionary introduction of Naval Combat, Empire: Total War™ will see further enhancements to the Total War™ series signature 3D battles and turn based campaign map. Real time battles will pose new challenges with the addition of cannon and musket, challenging players to master new formations and tactics as a result of the increasing role of gunpowder within warfare. And the Campaign Map – for many the heart of Total War™ – will see new improved systems for Trade, Diplomacy and Espionage with agents, a refined and streamlined UI, improved Advisors and extended scope taking in the riches of India, the turbulence of Europe and the untapped potential of North America.
“Empire: Total War™ is a huge revolutionary step for the series. We’re delighted to introduce true 3D naval combat, something that adds a totally new dimension to Total War™ games. We’re genuinely excited about what we’re achieving with the naval battles and also by the scale of the improvements being made to the core of the game – the land battles and the campaign. This will undoubtedly be the biggest and best Total War™ game we’ve ever made.”
Empire: Total War™ has already been secretly in development at The Creative Assembly’s Horsham studio for over a year and is priming its forces for a release in early 2009.
Critical Reception Edit
(credit goes to Wikipedia for this section)
Empire: Total War was received well by critics within the video game industry, holding aggregate review scores of 89% and 91% on GameRankings and Metacritic respectively. The game has become the fastest selling Total War title to date; Empire topped British video game sales charts for all platforms in the week of release, the first PC exclusive title to do so, in a year and a half. The game was reported to have sold nearly double the amount of Rome: Total War and Medieval II: Total War. In the United States, Empire: Total War and its Special Forces edition were ranked as first and second respectively in the PC sales charts for the week of release. The game's Australian version debuted as the top PC game; across all platforms Empire: Total War was ranked fourth, behind Halo Wars, Wii Fit and Killzone 2.However, consumer response was hampered by technical problems arising from incompatibility with certain Nvidia Device driver drivers released after the game's development was completed and reports of installation problems with the Steam content delivery system. As part of its post-release support, the Creative Assembly is planning on addressing these issues and improving the overall performance of the game.
Reviewers praised the large scope of the game's strategy map. PC Gamer UK noted that the game "takes a great deal of its design philosophy from the events and trends of its era", which enabled the game to reasonably reflect the challenges faced by the factions' historical counterparts. Praise was also given to the extensive amount of factions, down to very small factions such as the Knights Hospitaller and a renegade pirate settlement. Kieron Gillen, reviewing for Eurogamer, described the campaign map as "endless" and due to the large amount of content, observed that he had managed to complete the game without entering the Indian theater of play; a factor that enhanced the game's replayability. Other reviews echoed this sentiment; GameSpot stated that "even a short, 50-year campaign can take a good amount of time to complete, given that each turn requires strategic thinking on multiple fronts". Praise was further bestowed on the refined interface, introduction of a technology tree and level of strategic thinking required for the campaign map. However, some reviewers noted inconsistent behavior with the campaign artificial intelligence; 1UP.com noted that it could perform illogical choices, such as "the occasional suicidal war between Dagestan and Russia".
The real-time land battles in Empire were thought of to be well constructed. Expressing that the Creative Assembly had effectively implemented what it had learned since Shogun: Total War, GameSpy described the addition of personal firearms and friendly fire as something that "changes the tactical nature of the game much as it did in real life", and noting that the player controls and enemy AI were "competent".IGN felt that the real-time aspects captured "the cinematic brilliance of it all without ever falling back on obvious exaggerations or pretenses" and that the controls, specifically in relation to unit formation, were much improved. GameSpot put the real-time land battles as "enjoyable to command and enjoyable to watch", particularly commending the amount of detail in each model and animation for every soldier, points carried in several other reviews. However, GameSpot thought that the artificial intelligence could appear "confused" in some circumstances. In addition, Eurogamer felt that units' pathfinding abilities in fort sieges were insufficient.
Naval combat was subject to more criticism than land battles. PC Format described the visuals in a naval battle as "incredible", but stated that the controls were "frustrating; genuine naval tactics fast disappear out of the window as [the player] struggles to bring [their] navy’s cannons to bear on the enemy".PC Gamer UK reciprocated this view, but noted that naval strategy was a "deeply difficult task" for a developer, and that "the Creative Assembly have done the best that their game template would allow". IGN praised the graphical quality of the naval battles and stated that "trying to line ships up correctly, making the most of the wind and choosing targets appropriately is very rewarding", but that "the formations and pathfinding leave a lot be desired". GameSpot commented that "the AI seems incapable of managing [a naval battle] with much success".
Despite criticisms, most reviews were ultimately favorable to Empire: Total War. While IGN felt that the game "drags a bit and there are some small, rough edges in the tactical battles", the game still "deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the greatest names in gaming history". 1UP.com finished by saying "For all its problems, it's undoubtedly progress", while Eurogamer felt that issues "limit [the game] to being merely one of the games of the year," but implied that a post-release patch could deal with these flaws. GameSpot summarized that the game was "complex and rewarding" and GameSpy praised the game for "the simplified interface elements, great campaign, and much-improved map and information screens [that] make this the most accessible Total War yet, and a great place for those unfamiliar with the series to get started". For their part, PC Gamer UK enthusiastically proclaimed the game as "one of the most playable, important and accomplished games ever created".