Date of publish: 04/11/2020 19:10 CET
The improved tactical A.I. almost justifies the price of admission to Cossacks II: Battle for Europe but fails to make up for the larger issues. Yes, it’s now able to spar with a decent player, but the unbalanced and visually unappealing Cossacks II core hasn’t changed beyond that.
Combat still revolves around the stately waltz of 19th century battle lines. Bring long lines of men into the impact zone of maximum firearms efficiency, fire off a volley, and good luck from there. Unlike the core game, the A.I. doesn’t hand out free shots anymore. Excitement actually builds when your lines of men and those of the A.I.s come closer and closer to the red zone of optimal fire. But artillery and cavalry units played as much a role as the ranks of gunners did, so they shouldn’t be as useless as they are here. Infantry groups and their formations work wonderfully, but the attempt at real — or fun, for that matter — historical strategy fails without powerful cavalry and cannon fire.
Another issue is simply that the enormous buildings make any map seem crowded and critically limit the number of placement options for base building. The camera’s two levels of zoom and preset viewing angles make looking around the map more difficult than it ought to be. And when combat falls in a building’s shadow (as it inevitably does) or you try to organize units in your base the camera makes it nearly impossible to get any work done. Multiplayer can’t come to the rescue because, while the offerings are there, they rely on the same lackluster game that cripples single-player. Neither do the new countries add much to this stand-alone expansion, bringing virtually no new options to the player. But if the steps of 19th century rifle lines are what you want, this is where you’ll find them.
Written by Patrick Joynt
Original date of publish: 31.07.2006