Napoleon: Total War
|Developer(s)||The Creative Assembly,
Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)
|Publisher(s)||Sega, Typhoon Games,
Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)
|Genre(s)||Turn-based strategy, real-time tactics|
Napoleon: Total War is a turn-based strategy and real-time tactics video game developed by The Creative Assembly and published by Sega for the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Napoleon was released in North America on 23 February 2010, and in Europe on 26 February. 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 three special campaigns that follow the general's career.
Napoleon received generally favourable reviews from video game critics. Reviews praised the game's 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.
An entirely new campaign, the Peninsular Campaign, was released 25 June 2010 as downloadable content. It was later released in retail as part of the Empire and Napoleon Total War - Game of the Year Edition compilation pack on 2 October 2010.
The Mac OS X version of the game, containing the Peninsular Campaign and additional unit packs, was announced by Feral Interactive on 28 January 2013. It was released for the Mac on 3 July 2013.
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, send agents on missions, create and command 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 "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 unlike Empire: Total War, one does not need to wait till the end of the campaign to be declared winner. Like in Empire, revolutions and revolts can affect the course of a player's campaign; France however in the Mastery of Europe campaign is all but immune to revolution. For the first time in the Total War franchise, attrition now plays a part on the campaign map. Depending on the location, armies will lose men due to heat or snow. Unlike Empire, the losses an army has on campaign are automatically replenished when in friendly territory. Some of Napoleon's most famous battles such as Austerlitz, Battle of the Pyramids, and Waterloo are available as historical scenarios, separate from the campaign.
As with previous Total War games, battles can be fought manually or auto resolved when two hostile armies or navies meet on the campaign map. Armies and navies consist of Napoleonic era land units and ships respectively. On the battle map, the attacker will win if he manages to rout the entire enemy army while the defender wins if he manages to rout the attacker or have at least one unit remaining when the time limit runs out. Similar somewhat to Empire, land units are armed with gunpowder weapons such as muskets and cannons and melee weapons like swords, sabers and bayonets. Units have morale that will fall if massive casualties are incurred, if they are flanked, the general is killed and several other factors. Once a unit's morale is broken, it will rout and attempt to escape the battlefield. Broken units may regain morale if the balance of power changes, so to ensure these units will not remain a threat, players ought to chase them down with light cavalry. Infantry units may engage in both firefights and melees, cavalry can generally only fight in a melee with the exception of mounted infantry and missile cavalry while artillery units are best used to hit targets from afar. The Creative Assembly also implemented a feature wherein while playing a campaign, several notable commanders, including Napoleon himself, instead of being killed on the battlefield, are wounded and sent back to the faction's main capital.
A new physics system had been implemented for the real-time battles, so that when cannonballs hit the ground, for instance, they leave impact craters. Gunpowder smoke lingers and reduces visibility in protracted engagements. Mike Simpson, The Creative Assembly'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. 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. There was also a new uniform system that includes approximately 355 non-editable uniforms that has so far never been released, casting a doubt of its creation.
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 several are playable in either singleplayer and/or multiplayer campaigns as well as in custom battles.
The following factions are playable in the campaign mode:
- Austrian Empire - Campaigns of the Coalition and multiplayer (Europe and Italy)
- British Empire - Campaigns of the Coalition, multiplayer, and expansion (Egypt, Europe, and the Peninsular Campaign)
- French Republic/Empire - Story mode, multiplayer, and expansion (Italy, Egypt, Europe, and the Peninsular Campaign)
- Prussia - Campaigns of the Coalition and multiplayer (Europe only)
- Russian Empire - Campaigns of the Coalition and multiplayer (Europe only)
- Ottoman Empire - (Playable in multiplayer)
During Napoleon's initial release, the following factions were playable only in custom battles, but were later made available for use in campaign mode with the release of the Peninsular Campaign:
- Portugal - multiplayer (The Peninsular Campaign only)
- Spain - expansion and multiplayer (The Peninsular Campaign only).
The following factions are playable only in custom battles:
- United Kingdom of the Netherlands (in land battles only)
- Batavian Republic (in naval battles only)
The following factions are unplayable:
- Kingdom of Italy
- Kingdom of Naples
- Kingdom of Sardinia
- Kingdom of Siciliy
- Papal States
- Duchy of Oldenburg
- Swiss Confederation
The multiplayer mode has a campaign mode. Multiplayer drop-in battles allows to fight human opponents in the single player campaign battles. Steam achievements, game play bonuses and voice communications are also available.
Marketing and release
Napoleon: Total War was first revealed on 19 August 2009. The game was meant to be the first in an all-new story driven branch of the Total War series. On 10 March 2010, a demo was released via Steam featuring a playable version of the Battle of Ligny.
Napoleon was initially 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.
- 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.
- Empire and Napoleon Total War - Game of the Year Edition - this version contains the full versions of both Empire and Napoleon, including most of their available downloadable content (excluding "Heroes of the Napoleonic Wars" and the "Imperial Eagle Pack" for the latter).
Pre-orders made via the Steam content delivery system included another special unit: the Royal Scots Greys. Orders made via certain retailers likewise included various special units: HMS Elephant, Towarczys, and the Grand Battery of the Convention
The first downloadable content for Napoleon, the Imperial Guard Pack, was released on 26 March 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. The Creative Assembly released the Coalition Battle Pack on 6 May 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 announced on 25 May 2010. It was eventually released on 25 June 2010 via Steam. 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, technologies, 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 The Creative Assembly 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 The Creative Assembly was making a unit editor capable of both editing and creating new units. This new unit editor was scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2011. To date no further reference to the uniform editor has been made and it is now seen by fans as unlikely to be released in the future.
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." Gameplanet came to the same conclusion, stating that "graphically, the battles leave Empire in the dust, featuring five times more particles per effect." GameSpot praised the interface, saying that "[it] never feels cluttered, and the bulk of the screen is always devoted to the action."
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." Other criticisms focused upon the somewhat linear story-mode campaigns, the duration of naval engagements and the stability of the game's Netcode. 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. 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."
The game was awarded Best PC Game at Milthon European Game Awards in Paris on 22 September 2010.
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