193 of 204 people found the following review helpful
Great potential, but...,
This review is from: Empire: Total War - Special Forces Edition (PC) (Video Game)As I am growing up, there is only a handful of games that are worth dedicating precious free time. There are some golden oldies (like Max Payne 2, Call of Duty, Hitman(s)), and one or two new ones; but only one franchise that from start to finish remains on my computer. This last installment of the Total Was series seems to have it all. Seems to... So, as for it to not be misleading, and to remain relatively balanced, I will state the more obvious good things first, and the more obvious bad things (most of them) in capitals.
(1) Good graphics. The tradition continues, the first step within the series having been made with Rome TW. Yes, the graphics are better, although you have to have enough video memory to truly savor them. On medium options you'll get something similar to Medieval 2. On high, however, you will be very pleased.
(2) A (little) more advanced AI. At least it will flank now in land battles, and will not stand idly when you shoot at it. Well, there are a few more good things here, but let there be some suspense. In essence the AI will not be "bloody marvelous", but will operate with a fair amount of logic, will maneuver, and WILL catch you off guard. The days of winning a major battle with very few casualties are in the past.
(3) Tactical warfare. Sure, you can create a huge mob of the toughest units and send it charging, but few real TW players ever try it - kills the point of playing the franchise. So, the tactical bit is present. And relatively accurate too - you will have to make some traditional tactical decisions, and ones that were historically present as well.
(4) Naval battles. The major good thing - they now exist, and are graphically quite nice. The major bad thing - the AI is not as good as in land battles. However, this is definitely a step towards the right direction.
(5) New features are exciting. Government, ministers, a more advanced trade mechanism; a more advanced research mechanism; India and the American continent; different languages (voiced) for different factions. Little things that add flavor.
THE BAD THINGS.
(1) The requirements are to some extent misleading. I have the full requirements, a 1GB video card and 4 GB of RAM, and I still get standard gameplay delays, lags, less than ultra graphics, etc. (TIP TO SEGA/CA - few of the wide public operate on a system similar to Langley's. However, if a game is `heavy', state the requirements correctly.)
(2) IF A GAME IS OUT AND IN ORDER TO PLAY THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF IT (the tactical battles) WITHOUT A CRASH YOU HAVE TO (according to - unbelievable! - the advice of the developers) "SWITCH OFF SOUND EFFECTS"... THAN THIS IS NOT A FULLY TESTED, FULLY DEVELOPED GAME. In truth very few games get out on the market fully finalized, but Empire TW has SUCH AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF BUGS, major and minor, and is SO HEAVILY IN NEED OF NUMEROUS PATCHES, that to many gamers it looks more like an untested BETA version. And I cannot say I disagree with them.
(3) THE CDTs ARE PRESENT. There are a few gamers that experience a smaller amount of those, but a great many people have major crash issues, that MOREOVER HAVEN'T BEEN SOLVED BY THE PATCHES THAT HAVE COME OUT TO DATE.
(4) Very few historical battles. 3, to be exact. (Two of them naval.) I could hope that CA will increase the list with free, online add-on "gifts", but no such practice existed for the previous installments of the series, so any additions to this are doubtful.
(4) Steam. I personally did not encounter the problem of time-consuming loading and installation, but many others did. However, there are some additional technical issues relative to Steam's involvement, like, for instance, lack of optional downloading for patches. Normally this is actually helpful, however not in this case: the last patch, for instance, made the game virtually unplayable for many, causing a huge amount of additional problems.
Another, perhaps less important topic for some, is the issue of legal rights over a Steam-powered game, relative to ownership/use.
(5) Sound issues. The constancy and universality of this problem for all users is indicative of the game being out in stores prematurely. Sound is affected in two ways: it is, for many, a problem for the smooth running of the game and the avoidance of CTDs, but MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT APPEARS AND DISAPPEARS AT WILL (in tactical battles), AND ITS VOLUME OFTEN IS 'NON-REGULATABLE'. Meaning that a unit marching will sound good the one minute, and will blow your speakers like the stomping of a herd of elephants the next.
(6) Some have reported AI issues. In comparison to gameplay and technical problems these are, to me at least, a lesser evil. They are still important, however, and their existence should be mentioned in a review such as this.
Conclusion: this is a very small list of both the virtues and the various problems. Empire TW had the potential to be a good game. It does not, however worth your money as it is, with major problems, unresolved issues, and, as of yet, non-existent solutions. It is, of course, a pity, but we all are at the mercy not only of developers who lack the balls to stand up to management, but also of game publishers that want immediate gain, even at the cost of the franchise's good name and future sales.
The basic tip: Wait for about two months. It two months (a) the major problems will be largely resolved; and (b) the price will fall. Then you will be able to save yourself a lot of grief, some money, some self-respect, and in the end play a very good, interesting and engaging game.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 May 2009 20:12:15 BDT
Chris Marlow says:
Couldn't agree more.
Posted on 31 May 2009 20:12:33 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 31 May 2009 20:12:42 BDT]
Posted on 6 Oct 2009 23:25:28 BDT
Ms. C. Woodhead says:
the info about turning off the sound effects works for me!! thank you very much!
Posted on 20 Jan 2010 09:06:53 GMT
Its sad because TW series has been so good up to now. I am holding off buying until I upgrade to a new laptop computer.which will do it justice.
But I may not still buy even so as the issues with STEAM will put off many especially to those who want ot play it offline. I work away so, I have sometimes alot of freetime waiting. But I cannot play this if I have not a internet connection and if I did? the 3rd party Firewall in China and certain countries does not allow it anyway!! If the makers CA read this PLEASE TAKE NOTE! Don't release a product that has been only half beta tested and stating minimum requirements for computers that are so unplayable to the average gamer. I hope this does not finally kill off this series as it is something special.
Posted on 9 Mar 2010 12:36:44 GMT
Good comments. I still refer to a comment I came out with many months ago, and had personally contacte dthe product managers of the game company to 'watch out'. Many people play these games when travelling or in hotels. Even Medieval 2 starts to get heavy for powerful working laptop pcs. I strongly suggested then that they produce a 'lite' version with less graphics and keep all the strategy, AI and historical aspects. Needless to say as with most marketeers, they did not listen to their customer groups and came out with this version which is completely uplayable unless you go an buy a new desktop. YOu comments bove ar every useful!! I will for the first time not buy this game ont he principle they think 'weight'and special effects are more important than quality and getting the product right 'first time. I think a lot of this boils down to the fact that Creative Assembly was bought by Sega who does not fully understant that Creative Assembly had an intelligient, patient and mobile user group. Well with this Segafied version they have clearly damaged the Creative Assembly brand.
Posted on 7 Apr 2010 15:34:44 BDT
Mrs. Sandra P. Evans says:
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2010 18:42:11 BDT
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2010 11:20:56 BDT
Nikolai G. says:
Referring to my review, or to the above comment about my being "boaring"? :)
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2010 12:49:06 BDT
The 'boaring' comment. If you're gonna criticise someone, then for God's sake: spell-check!
Posted on 15 Jun 2011 16:03:20 BDT
Oliver H. Bell says:
Still some bugs and glitches, mainly in the campaign which is incredibly annoying. Looks like the devs decided to ditch this game and create napoleon, which seems like a cheap take off empire, and shogun two. All of which experience similar glitches