Thanks to his radical, republican ideals and his astounding military accomplishments, Napoleon Bonaparte is remembered as a revolutionary figure. Napoleon: Total War, on the other hand, meddles very little with the tried-and-true formula of its predecessors, preferring instead to apply it to this new setting while executing a few tweaks and updates. Notable additions include powerful, historical generals, as well as weather and attrition effects. There are also additional multiplayer options, better graphics, and an improved interface. Meanwhile, the poor artificial intelligence remains a problem area for NTW, and its scale takes a step backward from the global reach of Empire: Total War. However, its immersive, well-executed setting, as well as its historical battles, enemies, and allies let you step into Napoleon’s shoes to re-create his conquests, making it one of the most engrossing Total War games yet.
Like the previous Total War games, Napoleon combines a turn-based strategy mode with tactical, real-time battles. The turn-based portion of the game takes place on the strategic map where you make various strategic decisions, build infrastructure, develop research technologies, and move your armies. When an army engages in combat, you can either use the improved auto-resolve feature or fight it out in real time. As the attacker, your goal is to route the enemy army, but as the defender, you merely have to hold out until the time limit expires (20 minutes, 40 minutes, or 1 hour, depending on your settings). The optional time limit is a mixed blessing. Although it ensures that battles will eventually end, it also means that you can employ incredibly cheap tactics to win a defensive battle against an army of thousands by kiting your general around the map until the time runs out.
Napoleon: Total War takes you on a near-exhaustive journey through 20 years of Napoleon’s major campaigns, from the Franco-Austrian fighting in Italy and the Egyptian expedition to the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and the battle of Waterloo. Another campaign lets you choose one of the other European powers–Austria, Prussia, Russia, or the United Kingdom–with which to destroy Napoleon’s empire. Sadly, omitted is a Napoleonic campaign to drive the British out of India with the help of Muslim Indian leader Tipu Sultan, which was the ultimate goal of the Egyptian adventure. This alternate history scenario could have provided some novelty and widened the game’s scale to a more global level. With the exception of Waterloo, each campaign takes place on a large strategic map comparable in size to one of Empire’s theaters and provides up to 10 or more hours of gameplay. In another single-player mode, you control the French in a series of 10 historical battles, starting at Lodi in 1796 and ending at Waterloo in 1815.