Date of publish: 08/08/2020 10:05 CET
Re-enact some of the biggest and bloodiest battles Europe witnessed in the 16th to 18th centuries and emerge as the victorious nation.
The long-touted piece de resistance of Cossacks has been the 8,000 units raging war at any one time without slowdown. Fair call. What was promised is most certainly delivered. Another selling point was the historical accuracy of the campaign missions, covering periods such as the English Civil War and Thirty Years War played out across authentic terrain and maps. On this we’ll take their word for it.
So it’s epic and realistic and lots of other buzzwords real-time strategies aspire to, right? Er, not exactly. Battles are swiftly over and far too chaotic to be engaging. For starters, units have a nasty habit of disobeying tactics to pursue an almost kamikaze strategy of charging opponents – a crippling flaw when resources for creating new forces are scarce. A paltry number of campaigns might be compensated by length, but each is carefully scripted and stultifyingly linear to offer any reply value.
Then there’s the resource management aspect which can’t decide if it wants to be a major factor in your eventual success or a user-friendly feature, which rewards vigilance and patience. It’s neither, and so becomes an annoyance to the cut and thrust of battles.
On the rare occasions time is allocated to develop a plan, the game leaps from average to rather good. The tutorial and accompanying encyclopaedia are definitely worth a gander, revealing how to create virtually impenetrable defences, where to place specific units in a formation, and extracting the best performance from artillery and naval units. And, yes, the information does actually translate to the battlefield, but getting your fools to follow orders efficiently is another matter. The peasants are probably wiser.
Like that history teacher you had at school with the rancid breath and elbow patches, Cossacks makes war seem rather dull. Reworking famous conflicts with units swarming across the landscape should be awe-inspiring or, at least, exciting, but the greatest emotion it evoked was indifference.
Original date of publish: 04.04.2001