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There"s something Vitrinsically ridiculous about the style of armed combat that characterised the times during which Cossacks II is phối. Wearing uniforms that practically screamed, Here I am, shoot me!,
enlisted men would conveniently arrange themselves in rows và stroll toward enemy lines. Those that survived the unpleasant walk through clouds of billowing earth dredged up by cannon fire would, when in range, ready their rifles and pull the trigger in the hope it wouldn"t misfire & rip their own faces off. And ifthey were still somehow alive after all this, they then had to stand their ground and reload, a process that required more than a steady hvà and could take a minute or more of your already borrowed time.
Cossacks II, much lượt thích its predecessor, captures this antiquated style of combat remarkably well, và while the game probably isn"t much fun for the thousands upon thousands of digital soldiers that fill your screen, it"s a damn site more enjoyable for you, the general. The Napoleonic era is a rich và under-utilised period for strategy gaming, one that hasn"t (yet) been flogged lớn death through repetition and regurgitation. It requires a different tactical approach from either ancient or contemporary strategy games, yet has many of the advantages of both: high toàn thân counts, rigid formations, plenty of explosive sầu carnage and, of course, the fact that you can rely on your gaily-clad troops not khổng lồ get lost in the undergrowth.
Despite the freshness of the setting, however, Cossacks II holds steadfast khổng lồ its RTS roots. You"re given some lvà & a few peasants & the aim is lớn gather resources và use them to build a vast war machine with which to conquer the enemy. Of course, the formula is a little more complicated than that.
Age Of Total War
Whereas the original game was very much a direct Age Of Empires rip-off - a kind of preemptive attempt to lớn outvì chưng Age Of Empires III - this time developer GSC Game World has taken equal inspiration from Total War, sidelining the linear series of chiến dịch missions and supplanting it with a dynamic battle for Europe in which you leapfrog your army across a Risk-style bản đồ of Europe in between real-time battles for lvà & glory. However, unlượt thích Total War, Cossacks is big on resource management, though things have sầu certainly been scaled down since the original game. Wood, coal, food, iron và gold are all required to fuel your war machine, but rather than having khổng lồ go through the process of erecting farms and milking cows, here most of the resource gathering is automatic, with pre-built villages that specialise in one raw material and which, if you capture them intact, will add lớn your constantly dwindling supplies.
The formula has been streamlined in other areas too. Retìm kiếm & technological advancement are no longer important, which is unsurprising given the 20-year timeframe the game covers. Armies too are far simpler lớn control. In the first game, the battles would often become unmanageable once your armies reached a certain form size, as the view simply wasn"t big enough for you lớn take stock of the situation without whizzing all over the place. Rather than feature 3 chiều units và a zoomable camera perspective sầu, what the developer has done is create a handy two-tier camera system, so you can zoom out và better appreciate your tactical situation without losing control of your units in the process.
There"s an impressive sầu degree of automation too. Select a line formation và rather than having to lớn drag out the direction you want your units lớn face, they often find the correct facing on their own. When advancing too, they"re cohesive và avoid getting tangled up with each other.
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Battles are far more tactical than you might expect given the 2D perspective. Even roads have sầu strategic importance, as units rush along them far quicker than yomping over hill và dale. Then there"s the supply factor - for when you realise that food is running low, the only course of action is to lớn strike out to take a local village and secure its food reserves. If not, your whole war effort is going to lớn grind to lớn a halternative text.
In The Balance
Some players are sure khổng lồ be disappointed that the resource management has been scaled down, but I felt the original Cossacks was too complicated for its own good. With Cossacks II, GSC has learnt that less can mean a whole lot more. By focusing on battles & properly modelling factors like morale, unit fatigue, experience and leadership, the game is a far more accomplished & ultimately more satisfying tactical challenge.
The experience is further helped by competent Al, some wonderfully detailed animations & maps that are rich and diverse enough to justify the 2.5 chiều visuals. Despite the almost retro look however, Cossacks II demands an impressive sầu rig, one just as expensively equipped as might be needed for Rome: Total War or Half-Life 2.
If you possess such a beast và are looking for a strategy game with the same kind of depth as the best the genre has to lớn offer, then Cossacks II comes highly recommended. Like the Total War games, Cossacks II balances its paper-scissors-stone gameplay supremely well. That said, with games such as Imperial Glory and - at long, long last -Age of Empires III making the leap into lớn the same era of combat, it might just be wise to lớn hold the line.
3 chiều Or Not 3D
That Isn"t The Question...
Cossacks II is not without its faults, but you might be surprised lớn hear that the laông chồng of a fully spinning whizz-bang 3D engine isn"t one of them. At no point while playing the game did I think the game would benefit from being 3 chiều - the thought simply never entered my head. (Although saying that, I am intrigued lớn see how Imperial Glory turns out).
What I was disappointed by was the Total War-inspired turn-based/real-time chiến dịch, which khổng lồ me seems too restrictive and a touch less epic that it should be. As a general you can comm& only one army, which I suppose has a certain historical resonance, but seriously limits your strategies & often sees you fighting over the same territories again và again with the exact same mission objectives. I spent an entire afternoon - six hours - taking and retaking Brussels to lớn the point that I lost interest in the game completely, gave sầu up and started the whole campaign again.