It’s very hard to create a sequel for a successful game. Cossacks sold over 1 million copies worldwide. At the time, it was one of the best strategy games around, offering some very unique and exciting features. Thatís why we canít blame GCS Game World for creating a sequel, which potentially could be very good. We stress the word potentially because in all honesty, this game isnít as good as it could be.
Cossacks II is set during the Napoleon war (Should have guessed by the title!) when muskets and bayonets were the weapon to have. There are no tanks, missiles or atomic bombs, this is all about strategy. Strategy is key in Cossacks II. Using trees as cover from artillery, setting the right formation for your troops and making sure they use the flanks are vital for success. You even have to think about how to get your muskets into a 3 row formation, with the front line firing, then kneeling down and letting the second row file as they reload.
Sadly, thatís where the excitement ends in Cossacks II. The game seems pretty sluggish. Unless your men are on horseback, they will slowly march their way up the field ñ and with no game speed button, this can become tedious. The game also seems to take a very long time to actually load up. Youíll find yourself starting to fall asleep as you watch the red loading bar slowly creep to 100%, only to find it was simply loading the intro movie. Whilst weíre on the subject, the intro movie is terrible! GCS has obviously decided it would be a good idea to get actors and make them recreate a battle seen from the Napoleonic War. A great idea on paper, but the acting is a bit dodgy, and the sound is dubbed over foreign speaking troops, which makes you feel like youíre watching an imported 1960ís movie.
Another major let down with this game is the graphics engine. The actual scenery, the buildings, the trees, the land etc are really nicely textured and look like a 21st century computer game. The troops however are a disappointment ñ instead of being 3D models, they are simply ëspritesí. If your not too sure what Iím on about, go load up the original Shogun: Total War by the Total War team and youíll understand! With games such as Stronghold 2 and Rome: Total War showing off a completely 3D game engine, with a 360 camera ñ it is crucial that Cossacks II offers the sameÖand it doesnít. The game is sadly still stuck in the dark ages with a 2D camera angle, which can sometimes become frustrating when your troops decide to pop around the back of a very large building.
Letís not look at every negative point in this game, as it does have some great features. They have tried to steer away from the building/resource aspect of the game and focused more on battling ñ which is a welcome addition in our books. There is actually a really nice balance between collecting resources, building troops etc and battling. If your patient, you will instantly overlook the slow moving troops, and really get addicted to the fantastic strategic element that this game has to offer.
This game is good, but not brilliant. It has certain aspects that are well done, but there are some points of the game that really could do with a bit of work. With fantastic RTS titles out like Rome: TW and Stronghold 2, its going to be very hard for Cossacks II to keep up and it wonít surprise us if this game doesnít do quite as well as its predecessor.
Club Skill’s Rating: 6/10
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CONTENT:
Date of publish: 26.04.2005
Author: Russ Clow
Language of publish: english