Napoleon: Total War GamesCom 2009 First-Look PreviewBy Andrew Pfister - Posted Aug 21, 2009
Every time I think about Napoleon, I immediately think of him from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, running off to the waterpark "Waterloo," dutifully living up to French stereotypes, and committing acts of general buffoonery.
This is not that Napoleon.
Napoleon: Total War is the latest in the highly-regarded Total War series (the last one was the critically-acclaimed Empire: Total War), a hybrid mix of real-time and turn-based strategy that puts you in the shoes of the world's most powerful people, armies, and nations. Napoleon is developer Creative Assembly's first attempt at incorporating a comprehensive campaign story that mirrors the legendary military career (and then rule) of the French emperor.
Unfortunately, Creative Assembly didn't have a playable build of the game. They didn't even have any video or finished screenshots, save for an opening CG trailer that made Napoleon look like complete badass. But they were generous with the details:
Napoleon's story is split into three campaigns: the first is his rise to fame and accolades in Northern Italy fighting against the Austrians. It then moves to North Africa and the Middle East, before culminating in Napoleon becoming Emperor of France.
When you become Emperor, that's where the turn-based strategy really kicks in on the European map. It's also possible to skip the first two campaigns entirely to get to this point, if you lack the patience.
The art direction was conceptualized as "playing through an oil painting," with rich, saturated colors, and more detail on the individual units (you can see everybody's hats!).
Though Napoleon wasn't much into combat via sea, there is naval combat once again. Your ship's crew is able to make repairs during battle, shoring up damaged areas with replacement boards.
There's a full research and technology tree that incorporates aspects of combat, politics, economy and government, which will assuredly come into play during the Emperor phase of the game.
Moving your troops through rough terrain, such as the desert or the Alps, will deplete their ranks, so it would be wise to move them strategically and establish proper supply routes.
This game already speaks to the Civilization geek in me, and it's finally a chance to replace my mental image of Napoleon with something more historically accurate than him holding up the waterslide line in Southern California circa 1988.