Set in the Napoleonic period of war, Cossacks II: Battle for Europe is brought to you by GSC Gameworld and CDV Entertainment. The same people who six years ago created the ground breaking Cossacks RTS game aimed at true strategy gamers. Set the clocks forward to now, having released Cossacks II: The Napoleonic Wars in 2005, GSC have decided to develop a stand alone add on to the highly acclaimed series.
I don’t think I’ve played a harder strategy game in all my life.
If you don’t like strategy games, I wouldn’t bother reading on. If you’re into strategy and you’re already humming ‘over the hills and far away’ – we can crack on.
Of course, before you go marching into Paris you’ll have to run through the tutorial. I hate doing tutorials – I generally find them quite annoying – but you can skip this if you like. I’d only recommend that if you know the nuances of Cossacks II already! The first thing that jumps out about this game is the fact that it looks old, and there are two camera angles – one close-up and one distance. For a game that claims to be 3D, I’m not seeing a lot of dimensions here – it just doesn’t feel 3D. There are elevations, which are very useful for tactical advantages, such as positioning my mighty artillery battery on top and raining death upon my foes!
The second thing? It’s hard.
I spent 8 hours playing the first campaign game. Not the whole thing – but the first level of the whole thing. At about 10pm I had some nice people pry me gently away from the computer and lead me off to somewhere warm and safe. You have to balance all of your resources so you have enough ammo and troops to repel the enemy forces. Ammo is defined by coal (gunpowder), which you never seem to have enough of, especially as cannon and some of the heavy infantry seem to eat it at a rate of knots.
The other resources are food, wood, gold, stone and iron – which I personally think is too many for a sensible strategy game. Resources are gathered by capturing villages, which are usually guarded by a police force, or if you’re too late to get there first, the enemy AND the police force. Villages will gather resources for you and send them by packhorse to your warehouse or town center. However, you have to gather wood and stone in union with your villagers.
The computer controlled AI cheats. I’m fairly sure of it. They seem to know exactly when cannon are going to fire, and move out of the way, which is just annoying. But all’s fair in love and war, eh? The computer does do a good job at managing its tactics, which is what the game is about. All troops are affected by morale and fatigue, they’re also afraid of cannon and cavalry – and they’ll turn and flee if morale gets too low. Fortunately, as a unit gets more experience, it is less likely to run for it. Campaign mode is a continual slog. It goes on and on, and just when you think you’re about to win, they manage to get some troops from somewhere. It’s kind of frustrating, and not in a good way. Skirmish battles are more fun, you can re-enact many of the great battles in this period of time, including Waterloo. They’re not totally historically accurate, but that doesn’t really matter – the CPU seems to trounce me every time unless I come up with some unorthodox tactic which is so silly that it might just work.
The “Battle for Europe” mode is less of a struggle. You can choose one of many factions to attempt to take over Europe with, and you start with your commander and about 4 units. This mode starts with an overview of Europe on an almost Risk-style map. As I had decided to play Wellington, the only move I could make to begin with was invading the French! Then, Cossacks switches to the battle map to display your objectives. These vary as you can win the battle by holding strategic points, or by wiping the enemy out. Sometimes there are bonus missions you can take part in – raiding the enemy’s supply camp to obtain coal and food.
5 out of 10
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CONTENT:
Date of publish: around 25.07.2006
Author: David Gedrych
Language of publish: english