Empire: Total War Preview - 17/12/2007

What happens when you take the greatest time in our history for conflict and let Creative Assembly play about with it? Answer possible the greatest version of the acclaimed Total War series yet. Yes, here we have Empire: Total War; the fourth title in the series and no-one can doubt the glee in which we all wait for this game to be released.

Looking at the game is like looking at sheer brilliance, the reason I say this is because of one major factor about Creative Assembly they have listened to the many thousands of comments about the previous games and taken all of the constructive remarks onboard. Now I bet you're thinking that they have just corrected a few balancing issues or bugs that have plagued the series (of which none can be noted) but instead this kind of feedback as resulted in something much more special. A completely new era in which the game is set, the 19th century.

So what do we know of the 19th century that could possibly be of interest to the Creative Assembly team? Well, there is one of the biggest conflicts that Europe has ever seen, namely the Napoleonic Wars following in that strain there was also the Russo-Persian Wars. But most interestingly on the back of Medieval II's recent expansion pack adding the Americas into the game world the 19th century heralded the American Civil War. With all of these events just a footnote in history for the 100-year span, there is a definite feeling of pulses rising.

Creative Assembly have again listened to fans with regards to gameplay, which has led to one of the biggest changes to the game. Sea combat has been added, well we all know that sea combat was there in all of the games but it was only a small background setting for the main land conflicts but now instead of the, frankly annoying, "auto-battle" system of yester-game Empires has been given a fully fledged water-based combat system. Now this really is something to wrote home about, the whole idea of having those epic land battles on water has been a Total War fans wet dream since the first blade was drawn.

Finally a leaf has been taken from Civilization 4's book and the regions and their cities will reflect at what stage the development is at. This means that each city will have its individual buildings displayed on the map. This will make things so much easier for seeing what buildings have been built or how the cities would look.

By looks of things this title really could be something to keep an eye on, with a release date of mid to late 2008 there is plenty of time in with to improve your empire building in time for the real thing. This really does look like another clear winner for Creative.

- Alec Hilton


Creative Assembly