Napoleon: Total war
Napoleon: Total War (abbreviated sometimes as NTW) is a turn-based strategy and real-time tactics video game developed by The Creative Assembly and published by Sega for the PC. Napoleon was released in North America on February 23, 2010, and in Europe on February 26. The game is the sixth stand-alone installment in the Total War series. The game is set in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Players assume the role of Napoleon Bonaparte, or one of his major rivals, on a turn-based campaign map and engage in the subsequent battles in real-time. As with its predecessor, Empire: Total War, which included a special United States storyline, Napoleon features two special campaigns that follow the general's early career.
Napoleon received generally favorable reviews from video game critics. Reviews praised the game's stunning visuals, story driven campaigns, and new gameplay features. Some reviewers were critical of the game's weak AI, high system requirements, and its limited scope - while others considered Napoleon overly similar to Empire, its immediate predecessor in the series.
As with all other games in the Total War series, Napoleon consists of two gameplay types: a turn-based geopolitical campaign - which requires players to build structures in a faction's territories to produce units and create a source of income, research new technologies, deal with other in-game factions through diplomacy, trade and war, sending agents on missions, creating and commanding armies, and eventually become the world's dominant faction - and real-time tactical battles where players command huge armies to direct the course of any battles that take place.
Napoleon contains four campaigns, two of which follow Napoleon's early military career. The first career event is the Italian campaign of 1796, while the second is the French invasion of Egypt in 1798. Both feature smaller, optional missions that help drive the story forward. The major French campaign, however, is the so called "The Mastery of Europe," which resembles the holistic modes of previous Total War games. Conversely, the "Campaigns of the Coalition" allows players to govern Great Britain, Russia, Prussia or the Austrian Empire and attempt to defeat Napoleonic France in Europe. Each major campaign requires players to obtain a certain number of territories, although the latter also demands that the French are defeated. Many of Napoleon's major battles such as Austerlitz, Trafalgar, and Waterloo are available as historical scenarios, separate from the campaign.
A new physics system had been implemented for the real-time battles, so that when cannon balls hit the ground, for instance, they leave impact craters. Gunpowder smoke lingers and reduces visibility in protracted engagements. Mike Simpson, CA's studio director, reported that there are a number of environmental factors that affect battlefield tactics: gunpowder backfires when it rains, and the elevation of landscape affects the range of munitions. Individuals within a unit now vary to a greater degree, and are no longer as generic as in previous titles in the series.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The campaign map is narrower in focus, but more detailed than Empire's campaign map. Turns in Napoleon: Total War represent two weeks, while previous titles sported turns that were the equivalent of at least six months. Additionally the game's artificial intelligence system had been modified.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> There is also a new uniform system that includes at approximately 355 uniforms.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
In addition, Napoleon: Total War contains several new multiplayer features and a voice command utility to speak to other players via Steam. Unlike previous Total War titles, there is now the option for a "drop-in" multiplayer campaign mode: when playing a campaign against the computer, it is possible to allow another user to join via a lobby and take control.
Napoleon: Total War includes approximately thirty factions throughout the game, though only the following are playable in campaigns:
- Template:Flag - Campaigns of the Coalition and multiplayer (Europe and Italy)
- Template:Flagicon First French Empire - Story mode and multiplayer (Europe, Egypt and Italy)
- 23px British Empire - Campaigns of the Coalition and multiplayer (Europe and Egypt)
- Template:Flag - Campaigns of the Coalition and multiplayer (Europe only)
- Template:Flag - Campaigns of the Coalition and multiplayer (Europe only)
- Template:Flag - Multiplayer (Egypt only)
- 24px Spain - Expansion Pack and Multiplayer (The Peninsula Campaign only)
Some non-playable factions in the campaign include:
- Template:Flagicon Denmark–Norway
- Template:Flagicon Norway
- Template:Flagicon image Confederation of the Rhine
The game also included the following features:
- Multiplayer Campaign Mode
- Multiplayer drop-in battles, where you can face human opponents in your single player campaign battles <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
- Steam achievements, game play bonuses and voice communications.
Marketing and release
On March 10, 2010, a demo was released via Steam featuring a playable version of the Battle of Ligny.
Napoleon was released in four different retail versions: Standard edition, Limited edition, Imperial edition, and the Emperor's edition. All boxed versions include the "Elite Regiment" pack, a collection of five extra units; any edition bought on Steam does not include this unit pack.
- Standard - comes with only the game disc and manual in a standard plastic case like most other retail game editions.
- Limited - offers the full game and manual, as well as ten exclusive units in the "Heroes of the Napoleonic Wars" pack.
- Imperial - includes all the contents of the Limited Edition, but has special premium packaging and an illustrated wallchart timeline of the important events in Napoleon's life.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>
- Emperor's - includes all contents of the Imperial Edition, and is the only edition to include a 200mm statuette of Napoleon and a field journal. This edition was released only in Australia and New Zealand.
Pre-orders made via the Steam content delivery system included another special unit: the Royal Scots Greys.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Orders made via certain retailers likewise included various special units: HMS Elephant, Towarczys, and the Grand Battery of the Convention<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>
The first downloadable content for Napoleon, the Imperial Guard Pack, was released on March 26, 2010 for free. It added to the game several new units such as Napoleon's Polish Guard Lancers and an alternate version of the Battle of Waterloo scenario, with the British as the playable faction. CA released the Coalition Battle Pack on May 6, 2010. It contains six new units: Lifeguard Hussars, Coldstream Guards, Archduke Charles' Legion, Luetzow's Freikorps, Life Hussars, and the Semenovski Lifeguard. Additionally, it also includes a scenario featuring the Battle of Friedland.
A downloadable campaign, The Peninsular Campaign was released on June 25, 2010. Featuring an enlarged map of the Iberian peninsula, new units (such as Guerrilla units that can be placed outside a player's deployment zone before a battle), agents, and gameplay mechanics, this new campaign, as its name implies, focuses on the Peninsular War.
One of the features advertised for Napoleon was a uniform editor. Upon release CA announced that the uniform editor would be delayed; while it was not advertised "on the box", it was advertised as a feature by all online retailers (including Steam) and the official game website. Five months after Napoleon: Total War's release, mention of the uniform editor was removed from the game's list of features on its official website; it is, however, still being advertised on most online retailers selling the game. Almost eight months after the game's release, Mike Simpson stated that the original uniform editor was never meant for public use, and that CA is making a unit editor capable of both editing and creating new units. This new unit editor is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2011.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
Upon release, Napoleon: Total War received positive reviews. The game and its developers alike were praised for a number of graphical and AI improvements, along with the new campaign features and multiplayer modes.
IGN remarked that the "tactical battles are still some of the most amazing we've ever seen in any game."<ref name=IGNREVIEW/> Gameplanet came to the same conclusion, stating that "graphically, the battles leave Empire in the dust, featuring five times more particles per effect ."<ref name=GPlanet/> GameSpot praised the interface, saying that "[it] never feels cluttered, and the bulk of the screen is always devoted to the action."<ref name=GAMESPOT/>
Other aspects of the game received a mixed reaction. According to Eurogamer, despite occasionally poor decision-making "the AI will still hold its own," and provides players "with a challenge that suits the difficulty."<ref name=EUROREVIEW/> Other criticisms focused upon the somewhat linear story-mode campaigns, the duration of naval engagements and the stability of the game's netcode. <ref name=EUROREVIEW/>Actiontrip commented that "while still a good strategy game, Napoleon: Total War seems to offer less freedom to players in terms of how they can resolve various battle situations." Tom Chick, in his Gamespy review, gave the game a 2.0 out of 5, citing "Bad AI" and the game "feel[ing] like a re-skinned Empire" for the score.<ref name=GSpy/> Game Revolution felt the same, noting that "the problem Napoleon has is that it’s not just like Empire, it is and only is Empire...It feels like an expansion at best, yet it’s being sold like it’s a brand new game."
Despite the complaints, most of the reviews were ultimately favorable to Napoleon, with the game earning an aggregated score of of 81% at Metacritic<ref name=MC /> and 81.61% at GameRankings<ref name=GR />. NZGamer.com in particular proudly proclaimed that "Napoleon: Total War could very well be Creative Assembly’s crowning jewel."<ref name=NZGamer/>
The game was awarded Best PC Game at Milthon European Game Awards in Paris on September 22, 2010.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>