Not too long ago the brilliant Empire: Total War came out. The game surpassed its predecessor in many ways and has been regarded by fans of the series as one of the best games in the series. When it was announced that just a year after the release of Empire: Total War, a sequel called Napoleon: Total War was coming, many fans were shocked. Not so much because they were afraid that the game would go bad, but because their beloved Empire will no longer have support.
All in one
Creative Assembly promised, however, that things will get better in the form of the necessary downloadable content. All those small downloads are now bundled again in a downloadable content pack, which will also be available in the store as a box. The content includes all downloadable content released to date, namely Elite Units of the East, Elite Units of the West, Elite Units of America, Special Forces Units & Bonus Content, and The Warpath Campaign.
I can be quite brief about the first four packages mentioned. They all consist of a number of new units that you can unlock in single player and play in multiplayer. In principle this may not seem to make such a big difference, but it concerns almost all Elite Units, which you can build a complete tactic around. In addition, there is also a handful of ships for naval battles, which have approximately the same function. The new units are roughly evenly distributed over the different countries you can play with. Chauvinists as we are, the blue guard is especially interesting for the Dutch. These blue-clad men are the protectors of the royal family, so they are the last line of defense when **** hits the ball. The fact that you can now deploy these highly trained men in battles provides the necessary extra manpower that can come in handy in difficult battles.
The Warpath Campaign
The most interesting DLC in the pack, however, is The Warpath Campaign. This new (mini) campaign lets you play with five different Indian tribes at the time of the invasion of America. These five tribes consist of the Iroquois, Huron, Plains, Pueblo and Cherokee Indians. The great thing about this campaign is that it is completely different from the campaigns we know from the Total War series. This is because as a small Indian tribe you have to compete against these European powers, which are superior to you in almost every way.
This change means that you have to do everything completely differently if you want to have even a small chance of winning. Playing with the Indians against the Europeans is like playing with a handicapped team against Barcelona. Really all odds are against you: your weapons are less developed, your men don’t work in formation, your techtree is smaller. This ensures that you will adopt an all-or-nothing style of play, and if you do win at all, the losses will be huge. If you want to win while keeping the losses as small as possible, then you can prepare for a difficult battle.
Unfortunately, these Indians are not only less developed in their battles. The same goes for parts of their gameplay. The main point I have against this is their tech tree, which is significantly smaller than that of the European nations. Now you can understand that the tribes are a bit behind the Europeans, but that should not affect the quantity of possibilities. Also, all Indians seem to have gone to a communal school. This is not because they resemble each other graphically, because that is something where Empire still stands its ground, but in terms of variation among units. Every Indian tribe seems to be getting the same entry-level troops, and while that may be fairly accurate historically, Creative Assembly is quite wrong in terms of gameplay. You can already change the history in the game, what difference does that one unit make? Don’t worry though that playing with the Indian tribes will be boring and monotonous, because it sure gets fun once you reach the elite units of each tribe. This certainly provides the necessary variation and makes each tribe more interesting to play with, also for the campaign.
As for the campaign, it takes place on the American map. This has been considerably expanded compared to the one in the original Empire: Total War and now houses plenty of room for a small campaign. The campaign is set in the time when the Europeans are moving to the Promised Land. This entails the necessary conflicts, both with Europeans and between Europeans and other Indian tribes. These residents also revolt, and how that happens is up to you. For example, you can choose to team up with the other Indian tribes to fight the Europeans, but just as much fun is to wipe those Indians off the face of the earth first and then switch to the Europeans. The latter tactic will probably be more useful for a first playthrough too, as the Native American tribes don’t offer as much direct opposition as your European rivals.
Fun for the fans
All in all, the Empire: Total War DLC pack is a nice addition to a game that already has so much content. The extra troops are nice, but what it mainly revolves around is the Warpath Campaign. While it’s rather short, it’s a welcome change from the standard playstyle in the normal Campaign and will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. Highly recommended for fans of the series, and if you don’t care about those extra units, you can of course still get the Warpath Campaign alone, which is also available as separate DLC.
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Author: Joost Verplak | Genre: RTS | Release: 2010-03-26 | Publisher: SEGA | Developer: The Creative AssemblyGraphics: 7.5 † Sound: 7.5 † Gameplay: 7.5 † Controls: 7.0 † Playback: 6.5 7.1+ Different style of play than usual+ Lots of new units+ Playing with the Indians- Very short- Sometimes very difficult- Little variety in units