Learn more… • www.feralinteractive.com
Available from… • Mac App Store
When it comes to strategy games, the Total War series has been around for longer than most. This latest Empire version adds a number of new features, including Naval Combat, and its Gold status means the extra downloadable content is automatically included, free of charge.
The game puts you in command of a nation and sets objectives. Whether you’re taking over a nearby stronghold or negotiating peace with neighbouring factions, the action is non-stop. In the world map you’ll need to organise your armies, manage your cities and ensure your borders are safe. Engaging with an enemy, on land or sea, will take you in to battle.
This is where the game really starts to show off. While you have the ability to quickly let the computer decide battles for you, taking control of your various troops and directing them on the battlefield is an intense experience. After strategically placing your troops you’ll have to control them wisely, using artillery, calvary and infantry to ensure victory. Battles can be incredibly close, although the AI often acts less than intelligently, meaning higher difficulty levels are required for a real challenge. It looks gorgeous, too – you can zoom right into a fight between two units, before panning all the way out and overlooking the entire battlefield in one smooth motion.
The graphical high point, however, is the naval battles, in which you control a fleet of ships fighting for the best positions. With
a choice of ammunition and the option to board, the tactics used in these battles are markedly different from those on land. And, with some of the best water effects we’ve seen, and beautifully animated crews that react to your orders, it’s a visual treat.
Empire: Total War will last you for months. The game has that ‘just one more turn’ feeling to it that will have you sitting in front of it long into the night. There are several campaigns to play through, and each one will last you anything between several days and several weeks.
You can also re-create famous battles, and play with friends over a LAN connection. Feral has said it hopes to update the game with full online multiplayer capabilities through your Mac’s Game Center.
There’s plenty to keep you busy until then, however, and despite the sometimes poor AI, this is one title that will keep you coming back for more time and again.