of the best real-time strategy games to be released in a long while
is Cossacks - European Wars, an Age of Empires-style,
empire-building title that covers the rarely visited 16th, 17th
and 18th centuries.
were times of great political and social upheaval across Europe
with great Western nations like France, Spain, Holland, Sweden and
Britain establishing themselves as powers and finding themselves
in conflict with not only each other, but eastern empires such as
the Russians, Turks and the marauding Cossacks.
are 16 nations in all with Algeria, Austria, Piedmont, Poland, Portugal,
Prussia, Saxony, Ukraine and Venice.
change was also leaping ahead with armies moving from using pikes
and swords to augmenting their forces with muskets and cannons.
drops gamers right into the period with the best graphics and strategic-game
sprites that this fellow has seen and maintains the seduction with
nice in-game animation and fine gameplay. As you would expect from
a huge game like this, there is a fairly steep learning curve.
that I mean overall strategies, rather than the nuts and bolts of
creating an empire.
in the basic look, operation and feel of AoE, Cossacks
gives you a wide choice for the type of game you want to play and
which country you want to control.
a provided campaign, custom one, or try some of the single mission
first thing you notice about Cossacks is the eye-popping
graphics. Truly, they are sensational. Whether it be the highly
detailed terrain, pin-sharp buildings or cleverly designed sprites,
they are gobsmacking.
this: little figures that go through separate movements to load
muskets, horses whose legs move in coordination, cannonballs that
arc nicely towards destroying something, explosions that look like
voluminous clouds, drummers whose little arms beat the drumskins
and individual shadows for the sprites' weapons.
melees or firefights the developers have made it look as if each
unit is fighting as individuals and you can watch as pikemen lean
forward to jab opponents, or shoulder arms to manouevre.
great detail of what's going on in the screen makes this a fascinating
game to just watch.
is a wealth of units to produce and use, with different nations
having their own specialist advantages.
are pikemen, swordsmen, musketeers, dragoons, mamelukes, winged
horsemen, spearmen, cannons, howitzers, officers, drummers, archers,
highlanders, streets, panders, janissaries, grenadiers, hussars,
cossacks … the list just keeps going.
is an incredibly powerful technology in Cossacks, as are
the stone defence towers. Both pack quite a punch and, properly
postioned, can smash most attacks against your settlements.
units are included and these move nicely on some pretty cool waters
and their broadsides are pretty devastating.
on both land and sea, is well portrayed with pieces of wood, brick
and masonry flying all over the show.
military campaigns include The 30 Years War (1618-1648), the English
Civil War, the English and Dutch wars, the War for Spanish Succession,
the Northern war, the War of Austrian Succession, the Seven Years
War, the Ukrainian independence war (1648-1657) and various sea
wars against pirates.
is a very in-depth game and you will need to read the rules to get
the full advantage of it. The almost-200-page manual is one of the
best produced in a very long time.
is so nice to be able to sit down and just flick through the pages
at leisure and not find out about everything you need to know to
get through the game, but also extra detail on the periods Cossacks
covers. They are not huge tracts of indecipherable detail, but nicely
weighted and easy to digest snippets.
run your country's in a similar way to other empire strategy games
with your production based upon the collection of six resources:
food, wood, stone, gold, iron, and coal.
economy is important but, once you've got it up and running with
lots of little peasants doing your bidding, it is fairly easy to
manage. You just need to keep an eye on things every now and then.
of the key strategies has to be keeping your technologies up. For
no matter how many troops you've got, if they come up against better
trained units then you get your bottom kicked - horribly.
from the military worth of technological advancement, keeping your
production cogs running quickly and smoothly - again via advancements
- means units can be produced more quickly and cheaply.
Cossacks is a terribly appealing and addictive strategy game
that will keep you occupied for months.
Game World, you have an absolute winner here.