Two hundred years of history in real time and strictly in two dimensions. . .
The best way to breathe new life into Cossacks’ battles is to revive them in three dimensions, thanks to one of the oldest hobbies: that of the scale miniature lead collection. “Playing” with painted metal toy soldiers is not, in fact, just a pastime for children. There are many clubs in the world, whose members (of all ages) enjoy painting entire armies belonging to every era, and then having them fight in battles as epic and colorful, as bloodless. To discover such a vast world, here are a couple of Internet addresses to consult:
www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Battlefield/9339 or http://digilander.iol.it/dbaitalia.
The prevailing fashion says otherwise, but at Strategy First they seem convinced that, as far as strategic games are concerned, the classic perspective from above in two dimensions still has a lot to say. The result of this certainty has been put into practice with several games, such as Kohan, Sudden Strike and the little jewel called Cossacks.
Let’s make it clear that this title does not make any kind of proclamation, nor does it start with the intention of revolutionizing the genre, but it certainly has all the elements that a good real-time strategy game should have: many nations to command, many different units, solid economic management of resources, countless upgrades, authenticate of scenarios and clean and detailed graphics. While not deviating from conventional parameters, Cossacks reveals unexpected potential in terms of
“More than eight thousand units on the battlefield”
depth of play and attention to detail. The setting covers a span of about two hundred years, from 1600 to the pre-Napoleonic period, so to the early 1800s. Almost all the main armed struggles of the time were reconstructed, with the possibility of reliving the Thirty Years War , the Spanish Succession War, the Seven Years’ War, the English Revolution and several other conflicts. In total, over 85 historical scenarios are available, both for single player and multiplayer.
There are sixteen opposing factions; it ranges from Great Britain to France, to reach the most exotic armies of Turkey, Ukraine and Portugal. Also, in individual campaigns, you will encounter additional warring nations or pirate factions, mercenaries and so on. Each state naturally has its own particular characteristics, strengths, disadvantages and particular graphic features, as well as specific technologies and units for that type of country.
The economy is based, as usual, on the harvest of resources; in this case we speak of wood, iron, coal, gold and wheat. Once the harvest has been set up, the process is almost automatic, the inhabitants of the cities we will build will take care of it. From that point on, we can devote ourselves to the recruitment of combat units, and this is where the game truly offers the best of itself. The variety of troops and armaments at our disposal is nothing short of impressive, with soldiers of all kinds and types, flanked by mortars, cannons, cavalry, ships and siege or defense structures, such as watch towers or equipped with cannons to fire.
With these characteristics, it is clear that the game focuses much more on battles than diplomacy or economics. More than eight thousand units can be deployed on the field simultaneously, with the possibility of taking on line, column and square formations. The clashes, then, are a true spectacle of epic proportions, with hundreds of knights pouncing on the lines of infantrymen or with mighty fleets cannonizing the fortified shores.
The attention to graphic detail allowed, in the absence of the third dimension, to obtain animations of the units particularly fluid and enjoyable, with the insertion of many scenic elements, such as the waves of the sea, the reflection effects of the ships on the water or the plumes of smoke that rise from the muskets when they fire. The graphics system also allows optimal performance even on not particularly powerful computers, to the advantage of the fluidity of the game.
To tell the truth, it is useful to specify that the proposed scenarios require a certain effort to be completed. The Artificial Intelligence of the troops commanded by the computer is, in fact, very combative and will often put us in difficulty with surprise attacks, or with strenuous defenses of the positions. However, for those who have a minimum of practice with this genre of games it will not be a problem to dive into Cossacks and manage the numerous options, making improvements to the units and structures; the interface is functional, although controlling eight thousand soldiers on the battlefield can be problematic with the aid of the mouse only.
Fortunately, keyboard shortcuts come to our aid, which allow you to group the units and call them by pressing a button, optimizing many of the operations without losing control of the situation.
Ultimately, while not being innovative or revolutionary, Cossacks is an excellent strategy game, and fans of the genre shouldn’t miss it.
– Historically accurate
Cossacks is not:
-Easy to manage
Overall score: 8
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CONTENT:
Originally posted: Giochi per il mio Computer magazine 03/2001 (LINK)
Date of publish: 03.2001
Language of publish: olasz