Total War Empire: Napoleon

Well, while I’m waiting for the game to finally load I thought I’d start another thread on this and see if anyone is planning on getting the expansion, and for those who already have, what your early impressions are.

I’m at the load screen and have seen Napoleon’s speech as he burns his ships and prepares for his short lived return to power before finally being crushed once and for all…that’s about as far as I’ve gotten.

So…anyone going to get this thing? Anyone played yet? Thoughts?

(ETA: Anyone planning to try out the multiplayer part? Supposedly you can play through a campaign now, though it’s got to be a monster of a long game)


I’m a little disappointed in the reviews so I’ll just keep an eye out here on the thread and get your impressions first :wink:

Well, tried to write this last night but the server was down, so I cut and paste it from there:

Ok…played through the tutorial. Mainly the same controls, but with a few refinements and changes. I was going to skip it but glad I didn’t as I picked up some new stuff, plus you get some good back history about Napoleon’s early life. There are some new buildings and lots of new units, and the game seems to run better on my system, even in high graphics mode…and it LOOKS really good. The graphics are better, with more detail. And, at least according to the tutorial, you can set up your campaign game to automatically search for a human opponent when you are fighting (or to identify yourself as a potential opponent for someone else), which sounds like it might be cool. I’ll have to try that out.

The biggest things I’ve seen so far is that suddenly cannon are effective. Really effective. In my first battle as Napoleon I was fighting a guy with 5 line infantry troops but no artillery of his own and he barely got into volley range. My two little 6 lb. cannon basically wiped him out. Even the round shot, always a chancy thing in Empire were effective at about half distance. Grape at close quarters was just evil, especially when the enemy tried to wheel…I had a shot that ranged down their entire column and, for all intents and purposes, wiped out an entire regiment excepts for a few fleeing survivors with one volley. Granted, it was a gunners dream seeing them turn like that, but still…not something I saw much of in the original game, where the big guns were fairly ineffective.

Anyway, so far I’m impressed. The game seems tighter, it also seems to play better…less lag, less stuttering and slow downs. Of course, it’s early in the campaign, but I remember the American campaign and even there I had some lag at times.

The new general morale system also seems like it will make the generals a bit more useful. They get a variety of special abilities like rally and inspire, and they have a zone of morale boost which is going to mean that you’ll need to risk them a bit more than I did in the original game, since they are going to need to be in close proximity to the troops to do any good.

A couple of little details to add. One cool thing is that when you break a cavalry charge now, sometimes the horses without riders or dragging a rider by one foot stumbles off after the regiment is destroyed. It’s kind of an interesting if gruesome effect. You can now repair your ships in battle to a certain point, so you no longer have to completely retire battle damaged ships from the fight, only to see them sink anyway off in some corner. If you have a stronger general you now get to see the enemies dispositions before you begin the battle, which makes it easier to know exactly where to deploy your own forces. Also, you can select the option to look for a human opponent to run the other side for you…no idea how this works, but could be cool.


I’ve got it 92% downloaded now. Here’s hoping my old computer can actually run it; I had to run Empire on the lowest settings.

That’s good news about cannons. I absolutely loved using artillery to blow things to smithereens in Empire.

I’ve now played through the first campaign in Italy and have gone from being so-so on the game (pre-launch) to quite enthusiastic. The graphics are much more beautiful and the tactical battles really immerse you in the game. There is smoke on the battle field, when the lines are advancing you will see a cannon ball rip through the ranks scattering men and horses, which either lay dead, thrash around or, sometimes, get back on their feet and run to rejoin their comrades. It’s…well, it’s way cool.

I often thought during the original game that the safest place to be on the battle field was where ever I was targeting my artillery, unless it was basically point blank range. That is definitely no longer the case, as even at long range you are attriting and being attrited with every shot. I tried a frontal assault using tactics that won me many a game in the original, and I got my ass handed to me. I still won the battle, but I came out of it with a lot less soldiers than I usually do.

On the game play, now being outdoors during bad weather (or during winter) will cause attritional damage every turn. You get an icon sort of similar to the one you get when your ship is raiding a sea trade lane, and you lose troops until you get them out of the bad weather zone. I was trying to cross part of the Alps and didn’t realize it was December and started losing guys until I managed to get them into the low lands. Also, you don’t replace your losses like in the original game by simply clicking on the troops and paying some money. They are replaced gradually over time if you are in a province controlled by you. I think some of the new building types will allow for quicker resupply of damaged units but not sure yet.

I haven’t fought any sea battles except in the tutorial, but the ships look even better than in the first game, and it’s cool when you repair the ship during the battle that it shows the battle damage and the planks and such the carpenters are using to patch it together. The boarding action was pretty cool close up too, with marines firing down into the ship, and the boarding planks going across.

So, if you liked the first game this is, IMHO, a must have. Oh, I suppose it could get lame from here, but just the upgraded battle graphics would be worth the price.


I’m glad to hear it! My download will finish any second now.

Well, probably won’t be hearing from you any time soon then. :wink: Let us know what you think once you get it running and you’ve played through some of the campaign.


I purchased it a lunch time and left it downloading. Can’t wait! Of course there’s also a big daddy with my name on it. Damn it! why can’t they stagger game releases a little bit more?

At least they didn’t release Fallout Vegas or the new Dragon Age expansion this week. :stuck_out_tongue:


Okay, I’ve played the tutorials and a tiny bit of the italian campaign. In the first battle I fought, I didn’t notice too much of a change in the round shot my cannons were using, but the canister shot is at least as nasty as ever. Unfortunately, the Austrian artillery got a lucky shot and hit Napoleon! In his case at least, he was only wounded; he’ll be recovering for a few weeks and then reappear in my capital. My troops still had the “concerned general dead” note on their tooltip.

I moved the general in Nice east to take command of my eastern strike force while Napoleon recovers. The computer player north of Nice moved his troops out of his town, west into the forest (presumably to circle around toward Nice); not smart. My other strike force swooped in and made the undefended town surrender. I’m glad to see that they brought back the option to occupy a captial without pillaging or burning anything in the process.

I keep finding a lot of little refinements over Empire, and so far I think I like all of them. I have a feeling that being able to switch to other building types more easily will be a godsend. I can’t tell you how many fishing ports I demolished in Empire so I could build more trading ports.

Oh, and the game runs fine on my old machine, albeit at the low graphics settings (the two highest settings are greyed out!). It is indeed prettier than Empire, and without taxing my system any more.

Maybe the Napoleon wounded against the Austrians is scripted, because that same thing happened to me.

I really like the loot/pillage/occupy peacefully options as well, since you can decide which way to go. Sometimes, tactically, it’s better to just loot a town and move on without occupying it, while other times it’s better to go the other way. It sucked in Empire that every occupation you had to basically rebuild everything and you had the population all pissed off regardless.

There are definitely a lot of refinements over Empire…lots of little things that really make the game better. I’m surprised you haven’t found the battlefield different…to me it’s got a much more organic feel, much more ‘real’…and the cannon especially seem more realistic. I really love the muzzle flashes through smoke after a regiment has been firing for a long time, or the little animations for casualties in the game now. Also, they have brought back the little animated windows all the way from Shogun…cut scenes that say a regiment is running, or a general is under fire. And you can click on the window to take you to where the event is happening.


The new tactical battles mini-map is way cool too. It now shows you terrain features and it does a much better job of showing your own and the enemies dispositions on the battlefield. Hell, it’s going to be hard to go back to playing the regular game of Empire with all this new candy. :stuck_out_tongue:


How’s the AI? The game balance? Are there any game-breaking bugs remaining?

How are siege battles?

Against my better judgment I purchased Empire:TW at launch and quit within a week in disgust. I haven’t touched it since. Unfortunately I really love the Total War game concept, in general, and like an abusive lover with great sex I’m ready to give them another chance.

IF they can fix the game. By cockblocking the modder community they might’ve really screwed themselves on this one.

ETA: I guess what I’m trying to say is: beyond the cannon balance that you’ve mentioned (long overdue, artillery was nearly worthless in vanilla except as giant shotguns), are there any substantial GAMEPLAY changes?

Strategically the AI seems a bit more aggressive, at least in it’s raiding algorithm. I’ve had a hell of a time trying to swat all the various flies in the Egyptian campaign, with little units tearing around the back country burning buildings and generally causing havoc. No game breaking bugs here (or any bugs that I’ve seen so far) but then I didn’t have any major issues with Empire, aside from occasionally dumping me to desktop if I’ve been playing for a long time. I haven’t even had that happen with this expansion (yet), and the game play seems to run smoother on my machine than the original did. Of course, I’m playing through a campaign, instead of a free form game, so that might change late.

As for the tactical AI, it seems marginally more intelligent. They seem to use their cannons pretty well, and while their line troops come at you in the same old way (they usually try and come in on an oblique to your main battle line in my experience), they do some interesting things with the cavalry sometimes, slashing in from the flanks or even the rear, which can seriously suck if you aren’t paying attention. And, of course, there is the option for a drop in human to take command of the enemy, which should, in theory, that the AI right out of it. Of course, no promise that you’ll get a GOOD human player, and I haven’t tried this option yet, so no idea how it works.

About the same as in Empire. I generally try and starve out any city I’m trying to take and wait for them to be forced to come out and attack, that way I can build my lines of defense and just let the enemy break their teeth on my formations, but it’s pretty much the same as in the original. I haven’t been in a siege from the other side yet, but I imagine it will be the same…maybe with a human attacker it will change, but taking a walled city with sufficient defenders is a meat grinder, and I doubt a human could do much better than the AI in breaking a well staffed fortification.

If you disliked the first one then I’d say stay away from this one as well. The campaign is similar to the American Revolution campaign, though the graphics are better and the game play is smoother, it’s essentially the same thing. You might try out the multiplayer options if your disgust was from lack of challenge from the AI. Personally, I found the game enjoyable even with the limitations of the AI, but if you didn’t then I’d definitely not buy this expansion. Either go back to Medieval II (get the SS expansion, or one of the other big mods) or wait for the next installment (maybe they will redo Rome or Shogun at some point).

I’ve been disappointed in the modding community since Rome. That last really good mod that I go was the Total Realism mod for Rome. Stainless Steel is cool enough, but it just doesn’t have the knock down drag out ‘wow!’ effect of TR. I haven’t even check to see what mods are out for Empire, to be honest.

Not really. It’s mostly refinements, new graphics, and changes to building type and tech tree, but essentially it’s Empire at it’s core. I haven’t unlocked the full campaign game yet, and haven’t tried out the multiplayer options at all, so it’s still early, but I think that if you didn’t like Empire you probably aren’t going to like this either.

For my part, I’m pleasantly surprised, as reading the previews in the lead up to the launch wasn’t exactly filling me with a lot of anticipation. There was never any question I would buy it, but I figured I’d play through the campaign as Napoleon and then go back to something else, or play the straight Empire game as I did when Alexander came out for Rome. I’m pleased though with the game so far.


One thing that I don’t think I mentioned that I really like as a change is the morale bar at the top of the units flag on the tactical battle. It gives you a quick visual on how the unit is doing over all, and how likely it is that they are getting ready to tuck tail and bolt. It’s especially helpful looking at the enemy that way, to see if they are ready to go down.

Also, when a unit totally routes now they drop their flag, which is a good indication that they won’t be attempting to rally again. Another thing I like is that when a unit runs out of ammo you get one of those scripted boxes saying ‘A unit has run out of ammo, Sir!’ which you can click on to see which unit it is. In the original game it wasn’t so much an issue, as I rarely ran out of ammo except in sieges, but I’ve had it happen several times, and being told about it I’ve been able to retire those units in good order, instead of having them just stand there getting the crap pounded out of them when they can’t fight back. Also, the game informs you when your general is under attack as well, which can be helpful too, though annoying if it’s just a stray cannon shot that hits close.


I played through the tutorials and will start on the main campaign later tonight I hope. I liked the snippets about Napoleon’s life, nice intro into the man. The actual game play elements I saw were nothing new though, so it was a bit boring.

Is there any interest in a multi-player SDMB match?

I’d be up for trying it out. The tutorials were definitely boring, but there are some new refinements in the game. After you play through the campaign come back and let everyone know what you think.


I played a few turns of the Egypt campaign this evening. The short time frame means that I feel like I have to hurry through each scenario. I’m not sure how I feel about this, because it’s contrary to my usualy playstyle. The Mameluks aren’t putting up much of a fight, and it feels mostly like I have to sweep across the countryside as fast as possible, even if it means leaving undefended towns with disorder issues in my wake. Hopefully I won’t feel as pressed for time in the Europe campaign.

I think the biggest difference in the battles that everything feels more deadly. Part of that might be the muzzle flash of muskets and the camera shake when cannon balls impact, but I think everything does kill faster. Could infantry in Empire shoot while in square formation? Because they can now. I’ve also noticed my light cavalry firing their carbines as they close to melee range. I’ve only had the one howitzer unit I got in the Italy campaign, but it was outstanding; it took out a pair of enemy cannon units in short order, and its explosive shells leave these lovely craters on the battlefield.

I found it amusing when The Creative Assembly, a British company, made a separate American revolution campaign in Empire, and aside from one snarky comment, the overall tone was “England. Boooo!”. Now in the Egypt campaign I have the Royal Navy lying in wait for my ships, and the tone is “Horatio Nelson? Fuck that guy.”.

Once you get past Egypt I think it’s more free form. I’m in the 1805 part of the campaign and, at least so far there haven’t been any time limits. Like you, I also usually play a more controlled game and don’t like to be rushed with turn limits. In general I ignore the supposed objectives in Empire and just play however the mood takes me.

The game certainly does seem more deadly. You can hear the cannon balls wizzing by, feel the ground shake with a close hit, even hear the musket balls fly. The smoke and muzzle flashes also add to the feel.

Yes, you can fire from a square formation in Empire, same as here. There does seem to be a bug with the square formation though. If you have erected field fortifications and you go into a square formation you can’t change formation…you are basically stuck in square for the rest of the game.

The howitzer is definitely better in this version than it was in Empire. Not only is it more accurate, but the bursting shells are actually very useful. I haven’t developed the tech in the latest scenario, so I don’t have one yet, but I’ll definitely be getting one asap.

I also like the added touch of environmental attrition. One of the tasks in the Egypt campaign is to take out the Bedouin cities, and to do so you have to cross a part of the desert. You take attritional damage doing so, which is fairly realistic. I also got an army trapped in the Alps during winter that nearly wiped it out…again, fairly realistic.

The hardest thing to get used to is the time scale so far. Every thing takes longer, and if you lose a major battle (or even win a Pyrrhic victory) you are in dire straights, as it takes many turns to either build new units or to heal up. What’ I’ve found is that it’s best to have a main field force and a sort of second string replacement force that follows behind. Get into a fight and take casualties and send in reinforcements from the secondary force, which can be left behind in any captured territories to heal up.

One things I REALLY like is the new feature to liberate captured territories. Love that feature. A lot of times I just want to roll through territories, not really take them just ensure that the enemy can’t use it. Now you can do that, depending on the territory…just liberate it and it becomes a vassal state and you don’t have to worry about garrisoning it’s defenses! What’s not to like? :wink:


As interested as I am in this, is it really significantly different from Empire? Because for what appears to be an “add-on”, it’s bloody expensive and I’m reluctant to get a copy at $70 or so if it’s just a few new units and a guy with a funny hat.