No really, it's needed. While I do understand that CA has some reticence with regards to a future E2TW, the fact is that... the series needs a new Empire. It won't be the next game, because they announced a new era, but it's needed a refresh of the original.
Well, for starters, it's the sheer scope that offers so much fun. I played Empire TW again for some time recently and it turned out to be quite the fun. Granted, I enjoyed my Empire TW time beforehand as well, because I started about a year after it was released so it was patched up considerably and offered a smooth experience. Nevertheless, the sheer scope of the game offered so much fun, so many possibilities and it clearly gave some interesting strategical options to consider, particularly if you play with the larger empires such as British or Spanish.
2 more aspects that are unique to Empire - trade (again, because of the scope), which makes the game a sort of a commercial tycoon type game, and it's fantastic. Second, the specific time frame which bridges between late medieval/gunpowder with modern eras. Case in point - you fighting with ships of the line with sails against steamships. It many ways, playing with one of the bigger empires is a real delight, which is not usually the case in a Total War game as it can easily become a simple steamroller job to finish the game. But the multitude of options, strategic complexities and historical events (United States - 1776) makes it a standout.
Bonus points - the Road to Independence campaign.
Plus, having overseas territories can really help you in the case of European mainland protracted wars, acting as an economic and military support for your empire. Obviously not present in other TW games because of the time frame, but it still is a very neat detail.