Saturday, May 3, 2014

Get Empire: Total War [Download]

Get Empire: Total War [Download]




(For the most recent comments see the updates)

Let me begin by pointing out that I am a HUGE fan of the Total War series. I started with Rome, continued with the Barbarian Invasion, segueyed into Medieval II and the subsequent Kingdoms expansion. Needless to say, I was eagerly anticipating this game. I even bought a top of the line Mach V rig with all the bells and whistles and a 30in monitor to take in the beauty of it all. My machine has no problem handing the graphics settings on Ultra and I can tell you that visually, this game has the potential to be stunning (provided your computer is up to the task).

Now the negative. The game comes with Steam software which introduces its own complications to the process of enjoying ones game. Granted that the auto-patching feature is pretty sweet, but almost everything else about this system is not (See other reviews here for more details). But thats not even the meat of my beef.

Creative Assembly (CA) released this much anticipated game KNOWING that it was a beta version. After reading countless posts on various message boards, it is more than apparent that this game was not ready for release but for some reason they went ahead with it anyway. This in effect made everyone who bought it an unwitting beta tester (with all the frustrations and none of the salary). As I see it, Creative Assembly has spent all of its credibility capital from the prior installments on this piss-poor shell of a game. Thats not fair, it is 90% of a game but that missing 10% makes it unplayable (frequent crashes to desktop, white screens of death, and corrupted save files are the major issues with a few minor issues sprinkled in for good measure).

This will be the last time I purchase a game from Creative Assembly within the first six months of launch and I would advise others to do the same. Not to send a message to CA (though they deserve a swift kick to the junk for this scam), but to save yourself the money and the frustration.

5/21/09 UPDATE: Two and a half months after release, CA is still frantically attempting to patch this game to make it playable. However with every step forward, it seems like they are taking two steps back. The Battlefield AI has gone from acceptably bad to unacceptably bad. Lingering issues related to crashes still persist though the White screen of death and save corruptions seem to have been resolved. The economy system has been tweaked to make the game more difficult, some prefer the change, some do not. Modders are doing their best to put a polish on this game but some fundamentals still remain broken. My original advice to wait for fixes before purchasing still stands, this game is still in post-market Beta testing but should be fun once its completed (probably 3 months from now).

7/01/09 UPDATE: A week after the 1.3 patch, it is time for an update. Personally, the game works much better now than before. This is subjective since some people have had new CTD issues with the latest patch that were not there before. CA released a hotfix tonight to address the CTDs introduced with their latest patch. While the game is generally more fun and playable now, there are still some elements of the game that will likely require an expansion pack-sized update to address (these issues include siege battles being totally broken and unrealistic still, no cross-theater naval invasions, crap diplomacy, and Campaign AI that never retreats EVER even when outnumbered 10 to 1, just to name a few). Adding to my concern is that patch 1.4 will seek to introduce a multi-player campaign (which, if you were paying attention, was supposed to come with the game 4 months ago). That's like building a house on a unfinished foundation, bound for more Failure. Additionally, CA has decided to tweak naval units so that the biggest/tallest ships with the biggest guns and best crews will have a shorter range, lower accuracy, and slower reload times than the smallest/shortest ships with the smallest guns, despite the overwhelmingly negative response from the hardcore community that would like at least some adherence to the laws of physics. CA hears but does not listen to its most dedicated fans.

Despite all of this (which is really just most of the negative points), If you cannot wait any longer, I think its worth the current price.

If I had to rate this game again, I would give it 4 stars for fun, and three stars overall. Too bad it took four months to achieve mediocrity. Oh well, new engine, new problems, I bet future installments will have much smoother releases. Still, I advocate hesitation when it comes to purchasing future CA/SEGA collaborations.

My next update will come a week after the release of patch 1.4.