” There is very little that can prepare you for the experience of Cossacks. ” – Rewind
There is very little that can prepare you for the experience of Cossacks. The sheer size of the battles is mind boggling! In most RTS games (with the C&C series being the only exception that comes to mind) you only need around 20 workers. Not the case with Cossacks. In one of this behemoth’s typical matches you will need around 200 resource gathering units. That’s right, around 200 little peasants running around chopping timber, gathering stone, and mining gold, iron, and coal. This would put you near or over the unit limit of AOE, but in Cossacks you have a unit limit of 8000 so it shouldn’t be a problem. Almost every aspect of EW is of massive size. Their are 16 different playable nations, 6 different resources, 300 upgrades spanning two time periods, and of course the before mentioned 8000 unit battles. All of the 16 different nations have not only special units on their side, but they also have completely different buildings!
You would think that the mammoth size of this game would make it a micromanagement nightmare, not so. The game is very well structured so as to minimize micromanagement. The peasants, once assigned a task, rarely if ever need additional orders. When grouped with some of the games variety of drummers and officers your men will remain in formation and won’t be captured (EWs equivalent to AOE’s conversion). Farms automatically renew themselves without player intervention and the games mines and forest provide an almost limitless supply of resources at or near the players base. All these things help fuel the 8000 man battles.
In the single player portion of Cossacks your play through campaigns (one for each of the major states included in the game) and although these missions can be quite difficult they are extremely rewarding and addictive. Cossacks is the first time since Red Alert 2 that I have looked up at the clock and seen it was three or four in the morning and not known where the time went. You are drawn into the game from the moment you start playing it and you won’t want to come back out for some time.
The multiplayer aspect proves to be a great deal of fun. Whether you use the 8 person LAN option or you play over the net via GameSpy Cossacks is as fun online as it is off – and that’s saying a lot. I noticed no lag when playing over my home LAN even with 8 people. Speed was more of a problem when playing over the net, but it wasn’t worse than any other big name RTS.
Though Cossacks has arrived with little fanfare and has been for the most part ignored by the gaming press I think those who stick with it past its initial awkwardness will be truly rewarded with a great game. It is really nice to see a title that actually EXCEEDS the hype surrounding it. I can wholeheartedly recommend this title to any hardcore gamers and most all casual gamers.
Graphics (9) – Some of the best I have seen in a non-3d RTS game.
Interface (8.5) – Exellent, blends AOE with WarCraft style.
Gameplay (9.5) – Unique, fun, and addictive. What more could you want?
Singleplayer (10) – Very difficult, often frustrating campaigns that are SOOO addictive and fun! 😉
Multiplayer (9) – 8 person network and TCP/IP and GameSpy support!
Sound (7.5) – The music was just ok, and the units have next to no command responses.