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Zoombie
03-18-2009, 11:17 AM
Once more into the breech, my friends!

If you don't know what these posts are about, then go back and read any of the other video game threads I've made before. And then throw rotten fruit at me.

So, the year was 2000 and the RTS market was firmly stuck in a rut carved out by the massive ice pick known as STARCRAFT!


http://www.makefive.com/images/200816/878c797fce9171de.jpg
I always said that green girls ARE the best!




Now, the rut that Starcraft had made was simple: Build a base, use base to build army, destroy enemy.

There were variations. Age of Empires had you upgrading your "Empire" up through the "ages", so that you'd progress from the dark ages all the way up to the late 17th century. Total Annihilation had an absurdly large number of units and nukes that actually DID SOMETHING! And there were some other games that don't matter.

But, really, once you got down to the nitty gritty basic stuff, RTS always had that basic progression.

OR DID THEY!?

Well, yes.

Till SHOGUN: TOTAL WAR!

Shogun, based off various board games, brought you the violent and exciting Age of the Country at War, where multiple Japanese clans fought amongst one another for the control of Japan.

But here's where it gets cool!

Half of the game involved moving your armies around on a classy broad...er...board that looked a lot like, well, a blown up version of Risk that only had Japan. (But, hey, who needs other countries when you have Japan?)


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/68/Shogun_Total_War_map.jpg
And yes, you DO get ninjas!



But when two armies got next to one another, the game ZOOMS into a gorgious battlefeild mode, where you commanded the army in real time!

No more base building and no more rock paper sicsors (Unit A beats Unit B, Unit B beats Unit C, Unit C beats unit A...the standard balence system that lots of unimaginative RTSs use when trying to make the game fun for all).

This time, the game played more like a turn based war game, with moral, stamina, amunition...all were taken into account during the battles. Flanking was important, and terrain actually mattered!


http://www.freewebs.com/fungamesss/Shogun%20Total%20War%202.jpg

Okay, it looked prettier a decade ago...


Shogun was not a huge sucsess in the United States but those in Europe loved it. They loved it SO much that Creative Assembly (the people responsible for the series) gave us Medevil: Total War!


The game added a bazillion new things, things ranging from a more complex politics system, more religions, and the pope!


http://img110.imageshack.us/img110/8131/popedeathstarye3.jpg
Do...do I even need to add a caption?



Medevil was built on the same engine as Shogun, and it was starting to show its age, despite some spiffy new features (like...um...things).

SO, the men and women at Creative Assemby put on their thinking caps and decided to create a brand new engine. This engine was used on their very next game, Rome!

Oh, I thought, Rome?

Rome has never been my favorite historical period. I just found it uninteresting. How awesome could Rome: Total War b-


http://twoday.tuwien.ac.at/static/mbuchetics/images/rome-total-war-20040824044758216.jpg
DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYMNNNNNNNNNN!


Okay, I was sold. I bought Rome...and found that awesome graphics do not always make a boring time period (well, boring to ME) interesting.

However, other people found the Romish time period to be as exciting as I found it to be dull and Creative Assembly got richer.

Then they split into two groups. One group worked on the game Medevil 2: Total War, which is essentially Rome, but in the 13th century. I loved Medevil 2, despite its multitde of problems.

Then the other group released a few whispered rumors about what they were working on.

See, despite all of the awesomness that was in the Medevil games and Rome...no historical period had drawn my attention more than Japan. I don't know why, but Japan just stuck in my head and got me to pay attention.

But there was...one other period of history that was near and dear to my heart...

So, I was not sure just WHICH time period to hope for. Shogun 2...or the other, more recent time period.

And then the first images were released and I was SOLD!

Empire: Total War was going to be my new crack cocain.


Yes!

The 18th century is now our playground. And that playground is bigger and better than ever!

Empire brings to it so many new and awesome things that its hard to know where to begin...fortunately, the developers understood this and added in something to help new players ease their way into the mind crushingly deep Campagin mode.

This something?

The Road to Independence!

You start at Jamestown in the 16th century, trying to carve out a niche in the hostile, wild lands of America. And yes, the game is unapologetic in how it portrays our ancestors and their treatment of the Native Americans. It dosn't shy away the whole...killing a lot of them, taking their land, and generally being jerks.

The campagin starts small, first letting you control only one portion of the land, then slowly expanding what you control as you leap frog through the two rather important wars in that period. The French/Indian war and then, of course, the Revolutionary War.

Once you have completed that, you are given the keys to the United States of America in the Campagin.By this point, you will have learned how to run a country, build armies, command armies, and kill native americans, frenchmen and brits.

Just like the rest of the series, playing and winning involves two halves. Controling your nation and commanding your armies. Now, controling your nation is SO MUCH EASIER than before.

In Medevil 2, you had natural resourses (furs, oils, ivory and so on), but to USE them, you had to build mercents and then move the mercents over to the resourses and then wait. The game didn't tell you how much money you were making, wether your mercent was actually doing what he was supposed to be doing, or why he suddenly dropped dead.

In Empire, you have a city at the center of each province. The city builds new units and has 5 upgradable buildings (Soldier building, Governing Building, Naval Building, Happiness Building, Ordinance building), each improving various things in the provice.

But here is the BEST part!

The city grows over time. The faster it grows, the more often new Resourse Collectors pop up. I mean, in real life you don't direct your population to build a logging company. Logging companies pop up when someone goes, "hey, there are trees over there and people need wood!"

As regions get more developed, more resourse collectors pop up. Some are customizable (such as towns, which can be turned into, say, reserch halls, theaters, churches, or taverns). Each one has its own upsides and downsides. For example, schools are the most obviously useful, cause they reserch new technologies, which your nation need...BUT they also decrease the happiness in your lower classes, for they get smart enough to realize how poorly you're treating them!

Now, recruiting new units is very easy. Select a city, click the recruting tab, then click on the unit types you want. Right clicking will give you a headache inducing amount of historically accurate information about said units.

Its these text blurbs that make this game educational. You learn about the culture, the history, the society, the...everything about the times! The detail is easy to read and informative and USEFULL!

And, just to make things even more streamlined, Generals can recruit in the feild. This dosn't mean they get units out of thin air...but rather, the closest city to them recruits the unit they are asking for and the unit automatically walks to the army as fast as it can. Takes a while, but its easier than nannying all the units you want to all the armies you need them to be at.

Land Combat is easy to learn, hard to master, and a blast to play!

Manuvering your army about is as easy as right clicking and dragging to create formations. The spectacle, though, is indescribale.

The crack of musket, the rattling of snare drums, the hiss BOOM! of cannons going off...its truely amazing to behold from a distance. Up close, you'll wince at the whizz of shot flying overhead or the sick wet snaps as the bullets bite into your men.

The animations are all very very detailed and quite amazingly lifelike. It gets very very cool when you watch your units attack one another in melee combat...

See, in prior games, they motion captured the animations...BUT all the motion captured animations were done by one person. As in, one person would attack. Then he would mime dying. The animations were scanned into the computer, then applied in the game.

The result looked good...but you never really got the feeling that the men were actually connecting with one another. They would make an atting motion and someone would die...but there was no real connection.

Now, Empire has TWO motion capture artists, which mean rather than creating alternate "attack" and "dying" animations, they actually created a load of "duels", where men stabbed with bayonets, kicked, punched, sliced, impaled, shot, and generally were very very nasty to one another.

The effect is quite amazing to watch.

And, of course, there is a serious game going on under all this spectacle.

Cannons are vitally important. Position, freindly fire, and timing are all vital. Moral plays a huge role, as men who can take a lick and keep on fighting are more valubal than anything else.

And, of course, calvery have a completely different role from prior games. See, in prior games, most calvery were heavily armored knights...and they can be used like, well, tanks. Sledgehammers.

But not so in the 18th century.

No, now calvery were lighter armored, and a good volley from muskets could get them in trouble!

Now, calvery are a scalple. You have to use them at the right time, in the right way...ignoring this has gotten my army routed on a few embaressing occasions...

Previous Total War games had land battles...so even with these new additions of guns and artillery, the land battles are still, at their heart, familiar.

But Empire has added a whole new ball game!

Naval Combat!


http://www.totalwar.com/asset_library/Screenshots/ETW_announce_01.jpg
Sailing ships and fightin round the world!


Naval combat is hard for me to get my head around. The tactics and game play are so different from land combat that I...just...fail at it. The enemy admirals are able to dice me up and set my ships burning.

So, I've been playing mostly as land locked Prussia. HA!

But I do know that naval combat is GORGRIOUS. Sails snap and flap in the wind (and when cannon balls blast through them). Ships rock, cannons blast, smoke fills the air...crew members are all fully animated and their shouts and cries fill the air when you zoom in.


So, with a combination of naval and land combat, you conquer your way through the campagin...and what exactly IS the campagin?

Well, it starts with you choosing a faction. You can play a staggering number of nations in this game. Poland, Purssia, Britian, India, the Ottomon Empire, Russia, France, Spain and more! And that's not even counting the "minor" nations that dot Europe, India and America, turning a single war into a sudden free for all as countless treaties spring to life and turn the entire place into a blood bath.


Suddenly, World War One makes a LOT more sense...

Each campagin takes place over three large maps and five smaller maps. Europe, India and America are the "large" maps. The five smaller maps are various trading points in Africa, Brazil, Australia.

Fight for trade routs. Battle pirates. Exploit native populations. All fun!


So! Now you have a fairly comprehensive idea of what Empire: Total War is.

If you even sort of like RTS games, get it.
If you even sort of like turn based games, get it.
If you ever wanted to conquer the world as the Dutch, get it.
If you ever wanted to learn something about the 18th century, get it!



Your empire awaits!


http://www.gameguru.in/images/empire-total-war-ss2.jpg

Ruv Draba
03-18-2009, 01:36 PM
Zoombie, what a fun post.

Please forgive me, but I must insist. Repeat after me:


medieval, deity, dais....
medieval, deity, dais....
medieval, deity, dais....

The three words that gamers use more than anyone else, and more commonly misspell than anyone else. Presumably it's the dipthongs. In my experience if you screw up one, you'll screw up on at least two of three.

Now going back to sorting his sock-drawer,

Ruv.

Sophia
03-18-2009, 01:54 PM
I regularly go through phases where I play nothing but Medieval, Medieval 2 or Rome for weeks on end. I haven't got tired of them after all these years - and I've never in all that time played the battle mode except for in the compulsory tutorial at the start. The campaign mode by itself has kept me hooked. :) I think these games are huge value for money.

Priene
03-18-2009, 03:08 PM
I seriously doubt if my antiquated machine will run Empire: Total War, but given I'm trying to kick a serious addiction to Europa Barbarorum (a mod for Rome: Total War designed by history fanatics), that's probably for the best.

maxmordon
03-18-2009, 06:23 PM
Is it possible to play as South American Independence on the latest game?

dclary
03-18-2009, 07:39 PM
I love you, Zoombie.

maxmordon
03-18-2009, 08:01 PM
I love you, Zoombie.


I saw him first!

Zoombie
03-18-2009, 10:56 PM
Actually, I think it IS possible to play as New Spain, but I am not sure...

I know that I have conquered Mexico and Canada to create my own American Empire, under President Theddish Rosewood (they have weird randomized names...)

You can turn the graphics down a LOT, but I am unsure of how much that will effect things. I do know that the game is super addictive.

Now, can I defeat the vile Spanish as the Dutch?

Lets find out!

MattW
03-19-2009, 12:32 AM
My machine wouldn't handle Rome:TW when it came out, so I doubt Empire is going to work any better.

maxmordon
03-19-2009, 04:57 AM
Actually, I think it IS possible to play as New Spain, but I am not sure...

I know that I have conquered Mexico and Canada to create my own American Empire, under President Theddish Rosewood (they have weird randomized names...)

You can turn the graphics down a LOT, but I am unsure of how much that will effect things. I do know that the game is super addictive.

Now, can I defeat the vile Spanish as the Dutch?

Lets find out!

Cool! I hope I can get it soon, haven't played much of such game since Age of Empires III

Zoombie
03-25-2009, 01:03 AM
This game is still awesome.

I have conquered most of Europe and Russia as the Prussians.

I <3 the Puckle Gun!

Higgins
03-25-2009, 04:47 PM
I regularly go through phases where I play nothing but Medieval, Medieval 2 or Rome for weeks on end. I haven't got tired of them after all these years - and I've never in all that time played the battle mode except for in the compulsory tutorial at the start. The campaign mode by itself has kept me hooked. :) I think these games are huge value for money.

They are great games. When Empire Total War came out I decided to play all the mods for Medieval II before moving on to Empire. I started back with relatively vanilla scenarios and am currrently On a Jihad trying to take Tunis as a Turk with an army of Ghazis and men with clubs who claim to be fanatical. Everybody else deserted and only the Venetians are helping me against the whole evil world of unbelievers.

You should try battle mode. There's nothing quite like the moment the Byzantine Emperor Loumoutikophorus gets hit by a mercenary Mongol Rocket barrage out of the fog. And the battle narrator is pretty funny when he isn't quite sure what is going on and says something like "We are winning the battle. I hope soon the enemy realizes this."

OH! But up til Empire Total war there were no naval battles that you could intervene in in battle mode. So another 2-3 months of mods of Medieval 2 and then on to Empire.

Zoombie
03-26-2009, 12:24 AM
Fortunately, the annoying as piss battle narrator is GONE!

Gone and dead.

I hated that guy.

Also, I just built my first First Class ship of the line. 118 guns, 300 men, 4 decks, and capable of devestating entire navies single handed.

I just demasted a pirate fleet, then picked them off one by one with my First Rate. Hee, it was like using a sledge hammer to smash a grape...but...it was also AWESOME!

shawkins
03-26-2009, 04:06 AM
Am I to understand that there are no zombies in this game?

Zoombie
03-26-2009, 07:32 AM
Sometimes, the enemies march right into your machine guns...

leontay
03-26-2009, 02:31 PM
Hah. I started playing the other day due to general WoW-arena-boredom and having completed all the previous games on v.hard I cranked the sliders up for my first time and started playing as the Brittish.

Have to say, I'm impressed. They seemed to have fixed the biggest problems in the series:
-constant siege combat zZZzZ
-random ai diplomacy
-battles being too easy

I've already managed to lose all my american colonies, declare war on every neighbour and see my three full stacked fleets sinking in epic glory. Good thing i'm an island nation and untouchable muahah.

Sarpedon
03-26-2009, 04:59 PM
yay! I just won my first major naval engagement.

God that rocks! Go British!

Unfortunately, the French had a second fleet waiting in the wings...

Mr Flibble
03-26-2009, 05:44 PM
I shall let my mate know how much you like it - he was working 18 hour days for the last six months to get it out when they did.

He'll be pleased to know it was worth it!

Zoombie
03-26-2009, 08:42 PM
I have finally figured out how to change your government!

Deliberately make your people in your home province so unhappy they revolt. Throw in your lot with the revolutionaries and fight for freedom.


That is SO MUCH BETTER than most game's systems!

I have been loving the Prussians so hard that I have only done like...2 naval battles, and both were won by me having enough cash to buy 4 1st rate ships of the line and just devestate anything through sheer brawn and not through sailing abilities...

Higgins
03-26-2009, 10:13 PM
Fortunately, the annoying as piss battle narrator is GONE!

Gone and dead.

I hated that guy.

I like the Turkish narrator. "Our men are under attack!"
He gets a lot out of that line.

Zoombie
03-26-2009, 10:54 PM
Prussia bestrides the world like a colossus. Cause I'm awesome like that.

Now, to do it again...but on a harder difficulty mode...

Sarpedon
03-27-2009, 12:08 AM
I shall let my mate know how much you like it - he was working 18 hour days for the last six months to get it out when they did.

He'll be pleased to know it was worth it!


Could you ask him if they plan on an expansion that adds China? I might pay another 50 dollars for that.

Zoombie
03-27-2009, 12:12 AM
A Civil War expansion would make me...um...

Pay a lot of money!

Mr Flibble
03-27-2009, 12:18 AM
Could you ask him if they plan on an expansion that adds China? I might pay another 50 dollars for that.

Yes I'll ask lol.

He's working on something else at the mo though. But I should see him later. I'll let you know.

Fulk
03-27-2009, 07:07 AM
I suddenly want to play Medieval 2: Total War now. I have yet to play Empire, but I'm sure I will eventually.

Zoombie
03-27-2009, 11:36 AM
Going back to Medevil 2 is...reeeeeeeally hard after Empire.

There are so many very very nice gameplay tweaks and changes in style that I really like in Empire. Also I miss the clouds of smoke that drift from a heavy battle, or the thundering charge of cavalry, or ratt-a-tat-tat of Puckle Guns...

Higgins
03-27-2009, 10:15 PM
Going back to Medevil 2 is...reeeeeeeally hard after Empire.

There are so many very very nice gameplay tweaks and changes in style that I really like in Empire. Also I miss the clouds of smoke that drift from a heavy battle, or the thundering charge of cavalry, or ratt-a-tat-tat of Puckle Guns...

I can never go back to earlier games. I'm getting in all the MEd 2 mods now before I play any Empire.

Zoombie
03-28-2009, 02:33 AM
My queen has a mistress.

Sarpedon
03-30-2009, 05:24 PM
Hot.

Higgins
03-30-2009, 06:39 PM
My queen has a mistress.

Most of the Mongol commanders (in a slightly modded Teutonic Kingdoms campaign) have fine armor and expensive tastes. I haven't checked on the Queen of the Mongols, but in Med2 it seems the retinues never quite exactly included mistresses, just "Exotic Actresses" or something like that. Speaking of Prussia -- it reminds me of Frederick's burying his favorite "Exotic contortionist" in the coffin meant for Schwerin after (Hochkirk?)...

Mr Flibble
03-31-2009, 09:38 PM
Sorry, no China expansion planned

He said thanks though:D

Zoombie
03-31-2009, 09:47 PM
Well, they need to fix a few things.

First, the enemy A.I and friendly A.I are a bit schizo sometimes...

Secondly, lots of other people are complaining about crashes and instability stuff.

And thirdly...

Actually, those are the two main complaints i've seen.

I haven't seen the second so much, but, yeah, the A.I needs some work.

Sometimes, they play really well, other times...not so much.

Mr Flibble
03-31-2009, 09:57 PM
Yeah - that's why he's still working like mad and it's taken this long to see him :D

They're working on it. Promise.

Zoombie
03-31-2009, 10:10 PM
Huzzah!

I personally am too much of a fanboy to really be hurt by the bugs and crashes and stuff...




but I am a fanboy and I'd love to see Empire get even better!

Sarpedon
03-31-2009, 11:02 PM
One of my friends commented that the computer diplomacy thing doesn't seem to be able to sense impending doom very well. For example, when if you have a bunch of troops parked outside your enemy's capital and make demands of them, they will answer defiantly. But after you take the enemy capital, they'll suddenly give you everything without getting the capital back.

It would be more realistic if the computer would recognize when its screwed and negotiate BEFORE it happened.