Some say immitation is the best form of flattery, that rule certainly doesn’t apply in the gaming industry. Even an inexperienced, non enthusiastic strategy gamer can see the obvious and ‘old hat’ comparisons from other titles.
I’ll admit it, when it comes to strategy games I’m not the first in line to sing their praises. My problem is I suffer from an Ipateus Disorder, this word I just made up means I’m very impatient and since strategies, being of the strategical genre that they are, often require alot of learning, building and plain old fashioned boring waiting that often lead to making the game in subject un-appealing to anyone who isn’t a die hard strategy fan. There are, of course, a few exceptions to this rule, some may be the the Age of Empires series, the Command and Conquer series, not to mention the Warcraft series.
As in previous Cossack titles, your job is to re-enact famous battles and wars from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. In most cases the mission revolves around building a force strong enough to defeat the on coming enemey before they plunder your forftress. To build up the nessescary force you must, first, gather enough peasents, ie: slaves, workers, serfs, and use them to create various buildings to help defend your fortress and to help attack the enemy’s base.
As stated above you must use your workers to build an empire of your own. You have such buildings as: A town hall which is used for creating workers, A shipyard which is, naturally, used for creating ships, Various types of barracks which are used to create land forces, A Diplomatic Centre for creating mercenary forces, An artillerary depot for creating cannons, mortars, howitzers etc and you also have numerous other buildings, walls and towers that all must be constructed, repaired and managed in a typical *cough* age of empires *cough* fashion.
Throughout the game you have no set mission or time frame. Your character varies throughout, one minute you maye be a Polish mercenary looking to liberate a group of peasents from the treacherous Ukranians, the next you might be a Prussian spearman on a mission to find and destroy enemy land mines. I feel the addition of a character in this game is a backdraw, as if your one character dies you fail the mission you’re in…I feel this game could have achieved alot more had your character been the collective unit of everything you’ve created. There are numerous nations, all of which have different types of buildings, cannons, musketeers, dragoons etc, however in the end apart from a change of colour and a few different hat styles no specific nation has superior attributes to another. If this game had been released 5 years ago, I would’ve loved it, but having been released some time after the Age of Empires, and numerous other similar strategy games this game is as creative as a dog with a paintbrush. Cossack: The Art of War won’t win any prizes for originality.
The A.I. in this game is abysmal. The level of Artificial Intelligence seems to have been replaced with quantity, as 500 soldiers marching towards you are going to cause a problem..but If you had 10 and they had 50, you would prevail with minimal effort. A few of the obvious errors are, when you approach a unit of say maybe 10 soldiers they will follow you, all you need is a horse and you can pick them off one by one, as they can’t walk as fast as you can ride. Another major problem is the invisible line effect, alot of the enemy soldiers are designated to a specific area and won’t attack you if you’re outside of it, A multi barrelled cannon annihilate them in seconds. In total, they have tried to substitute the lack of intelligence with an overdose of manpower, which often concludes in you buying a few cannons and wiping the enemy out before he comes within striking distance of your units. Disappointing.
Having been disappointed with other aspects of this game, I have to say I was impressed with the graphics. Everything is clear, and nothing appears pixelated or rough like some other strategies I can think of. Like many other Real Time Strategy games there aren’t any FMVs or cut scenes however things such as the ships, and buildings are created to perfection. If only as much effort was put into the concept of the game as was put into the graphical side.
The music, to say the least, is un-inspiring. When an enemy is approaching and the neverending alarm siren rings I’m not more afraid or more wary than I was before, I am just left with the $30 bill for a pair of new Phillips CX speakers, the others, having accidently, ended up on my driveway..squashed tight on the ground beneath my civic’s axel. Alot of things can be said about the various sounds and chirps…and I can’t forget those nail scraping beeps that show up every so often, and none of them are positive.
Like alot of other RTS games this game comes equipped with an editor, which is very efficient and surprisingly simple and easy to use. The question is, do you want to waste your time messing about with writing your name on the water, or giving yourself 10 million soldiers..or would you rather go and check if the local game shop near you does refunds after 4 am. Seriously though, you can create your own missions, islands empires whilst also creating and maybe sabotaging your enemy. There are also numerous sites on the Interet that offer custom made missions, weapons and maps so if you’re bor…when you’re bored with your normal Cossack, you can try and find a better replacement in the form of a custom made modification.
In the End
Having said all that, this game could have been alot better had the concept been improved, and had more effort been put into the soundtrack. Cossacks: The Art of War is perfect example of how good graphics don’t nessecarily make for a good game. I wouldn’t recommend that you buy this title unless you really eat strategy games with your breakfast..for all you people that are indifferent to strategy games perhaps you should inquire if a friend has mistakingly bought this and perhaps he or she could give you a lend of his favourite bookmark.
Overall score: 3/5
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CONTENT:
Date of publish: 19.02.2003
Author: Conall O’Reilly
Language of publish: english