Top positive review
31 of 31 people found this helpful
Hours of fun for strategy lovers
on 27 October 2003
I got this because I read that (the latest version of) the game engine is what's behind the BBC2 TV series "Time Commanders", and I wanted to play with something similar. What a pleasant surprise! because despite being a few years old now, this looks and plays very well and can absorb me for hours.
There are two main components. Firstly, at a strategic level (played on a map of Japan) you attack and defend territories, build improvements, and train units. This is quite interesting in itself, though I'd have liked some more high-level overview information -- once you have many territories, it can be hard to keep track of your various assets. The turn timing is such that you can learn of a new building being completed, and then be dropped straight into a battle. It's not an insurmountable problem as long as you're a careful and patient player, but it's a small niggle that I hope is fixed in future Total War games.
For me, the strategic level is mainly of interest because it's what's needed to do to obtain the troops to fight the actual battles (though you can set up custom or hisorical battles if you like). Others will probably relish the game for its strategic side, and allow the computer to resolve combat automatically, but I think it's on the battlefield that this game really shines.
Weather and visibility, terrain, cavalry, infantry, ranged weapons, morale, leadership, cover and concealment -- all are modeled, meaning that this game is a flexible, intricate toolkit for staging virtual battles. The AI is reasonably good -- it has some quirks that you can exploit, but generally gives a decent account of itself.
Overall, if you're into strategy/war games, I can't see how you can go wrong with this, particularly at the current price. As for me, this has been good enough to convince me to shell out for Rome: Total War as soon as it comes out :-)