Date of publish: 25/10/2020 17:31 CET
GSC Game World has finished work on Cossacks II, a Napoleonic RTS. The stage is Europe, and the players are all your favorite European powers. GSC Game World did a fine job in putting this piece together, from the introductory movie, which is reminiscent of a historical war reenactment troupe, to the in-game cinematics, drawn from similar footage, which pops up in a small corner window when you select certain units. The graphics were shocking for an RTS of this scale. From the buildings to the infantry and cavalry units, each piece was designed and carefully constructed, pixel by pixel, to give a great overall effect, and a fantastic feeling of immersion. This is by far one of the best animated RTSs I’ve seen.
The game play is no less impressive. They have turned micromanagement, which was once such a chore in many strategy games, into something more fun and meaningful than ever before. Like the original Cossacks, the unit control is based on squads, rather than individuals. 120 musketeers marching in a line present a formidable roadblock for any troops that dare march against them. The unit commands alone, different formations, bracing for attacks, mass marches across the map, provide some breathtaking images. When you watch 720 troops marching in 6 squads of 120, travelling from your base down into the enemy camp, it almost brings a tear to your eye. The destruction they will cause, and how organized!
The variety of troops does leave a little to be desired. Although they have different troops for each civilization that you can choose, there is still a fairly limited number of options within each. This is all in keeping with the historical nature of the game though, and shouldn’t be considered a fault by any means. The cavalry, on the other hand, makes my brain sad. Maybe I just need more practice, but having 45 cavalry take 3 shots each at a unit of 120 troops, and these 135 bullets killing all of 8 people. That hurts me deep down. When I see cavalry, I imagine some crazy bastard riding down on some poor foot soldiers. A crazed look in his eye, his gun raised, he shoots down the first. He tramples another, and clubs a third with the butt of his now empty gun. He whirls around rearing his horse back and stamping through the head of another before riding off, not giving them a chance to get a shot off. That is the cavalry I’m looking for. Maybe it’s not realistic, but by god it’s fun. Moving on.
There are several different modes of play to choose from. The first suggested mode is the campaign, where you can learn the basics of the game through the tutorial, and once you’ve figured that out, you can move on to bigger and better things, like building your base from scratch and taking down the enemy on the field. This is pretty straightforward, and is much like the skirmish play option, excepting, of course, that the skirmish setting allows you to choose your map, as well as your opponents. This was definitely my choice, it was more traditional RTS than the other play style: Battle for Europe.
This was very Risk-esque. You had territories, which provided you with human and material supplies each turn, which you use to build your army. Then you move your army around the map, conquering as you go, and each time you launch an attack, you shrink down to the RTS style play. The main problem I found with this play was that it seemed wildly unbalanced at times. I went with equal forces several battles against this opposing army and damned if I didn’t get wiped clean every time. Well, despite this little doozy I encountered, I had a fabulous experience with the game as a whole. I would go so far as to say that this game has the best micromanagement system in any RTS. The options were sufficient to attract gamers from a fairly wide spectrum, and the graphics, considering the scale of the game, were incredible.
Pro: Micromanagement is more fun than ever before.
Con: Although realistic enough, the inaccuracy of the cannons and some other units is impossibly frustrating.
Pro: Absolutely beautiful graphics for the scale of the game.
Con: Some peculiar memory errors caused me to crash a couple of times.
Pro: There is endless fun in amassing troops and marching legions of soldiers into enemy territory.
Con: Specifically cavalry, but some other units as well, could use a little extra bang for their buck.
This is definitely a good game all around, although the majority of the fun stems from watching in awe as you march hundreds of troops around. The epic scale of the battles is grand, and strategy is definitely neccesary if you hope to succeed.
Written by Kichigai Saru
Original date of publish: 25.04.2005