TMGR [8]: Napoleon Total War

I wanted to return to one of my favourite features – the 20min game review. I give myself just 20mins with a game and review it based purely on the experience I had. Lets face it, we don’t all have hours to sink in to games, so how does a game feel when you only have a handful of minutes to dedicate to it?

Let’s find out how Napoleon: Total War fares!

I all of the Total War games apart from the most recent outing – Atilla. As much as that might make me look like a big series fan, I wouldn’t say so. I mean, I was definitely pretty into them as a teenager, but they never really fully charmed me even then. I’ve never had more than one loaded on my PC at once, and I’ve never put all that many hours into them. Napoleon is the main exception, which I used to play multiplayer with a friend which was great fun.

I could never work out why I didn’t get on with Total War games as much as I should have done on paper, but I think this 20mins has really helped me work that out a bit more.

So here’s my after action report of how the 20mins went.

I set myself up as a small force of French, under attack from a much larger force of British on a map based on the Spanish peninsular war. We had good artillery and other than a unit of elite Old Guard, just a handful of standard line infantry regiments.

2015-07-12_00003I dug in and waited for the British to come. Their cavalry came first, already shaken by my artillery, they took one volley of musket fire from my lines and ran – they never actually finished their charge. My men were confident and warmed up – and they’d need to be for the horde of British line infantry coming for them. Just then the British artillery started firing as well.

My artillery were crucial, cutting huge lines through their clumped up infantry as they slowly advanced in the high of the Spanish midday sun (they were exhausted before they even reached my lines).

I used my one unit of weak cavalry to sneak around the British lines and take out their artillery – giving my infantry some breathing space to ready for the infantry assault.

When the British finally arrived to face my lines they were broken and didn’t take all that much fighting until they completely routed. A regrouped cavalry charge took out my Old Guard, but the line did a fantastic job of facing them off.

The 20mins finished just as I was charging down their last unit – some plucky riflemen who’d stayed far back from the fight.


As fantastic as the battle was, I felt like 20mins just didn’t give it justice. I’ve managed so much in 20mins of other games, but on Total War I couldn’t even finish one custom battle.

When Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars can give me a similar kick to Total War, I know which one comes off the best every time when I’m sitting choosing which game to play. Not that Napoleon: Total War is a bad game in the slightest, it’s just very greedy on time!

Time for the score.

I had really great fun in the custom battle I (nearly) finished. Although it showed me why I always got on a bit uneasily with the Total War series – how greedy on time they are – I still had a great 20mins. For that reason I’m going to give it 4 out of 5.

Digital Salad –


Salad Saturday Screenshot [28]

The week it’s a screenshot from Napoleon: Total War.


I recently loaded up Napoleon: Total War again for the first time in a long while to do a 20min review (soon to be posted!). I’d missed the game and jumped straight back in with a naval battle.

I love the naval battles of Total War and especially taking on huge enemy fleets in my tough little ironclads.

In this case I’d picked 4 British iron clads against a super strong fleet of a dozen or so top of the line French ships. Massively out gunned – it was always going to be a tough fight and just what I was looking for.

This screenshot gives you a bit of a flavour of how it all ended. One of my ships caught a cannon ball to it’s magazine pretty early on and went up in a giant blast. It was even more of an uphill struggle as my 3 remaining ships took broadside after broadside from the French line – hundreds of cannon balls pounding away at my much smaller ships.

A good few French ships surrendered, and their Admiral fully sank, but it was too much punishment for my plucky little ironclad ships. This screenshot’s what happened to the flagship and Admiral Digital Salad on board. It was definitely an exciting battle, even if I ended up sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic!

Digital Salad –

Salad Steam Statistics

I’m a bit boring, and I kinda like statistics. I mentioned the Steam annual statistics in a recent Saturday Screenshot, and they made for some interesting reading. If gaming statistics aren’t your kind of thing then I apologise!

In 2014/15 the game played most released on steam that year was Football Manager 2015. I wouldn’t of guessed that, but not all that surprising either. Many of the big names of the year didn’t feature all that highly on the hours sunk into them; with Dark Souls 2 doing the best of the lot at the 3rd most hours on average.

Hours played per game is a really interesting way to measure gaming satisfaction. We’re far more likely to buy a game based on a glowing recommendation from a friend than we are if we’re told that it’s a game with the ‘most hours played per player this year’. It doesn’t inspire you quite the same as a friend gushing about the awesomeness of their latest find. All the same, hours played is useful because it tells you how much gamers liked it in a really simple way. We only keep playing if we enjoy it!

Here’s some of my Steam statistics, just for interest to see what it says.

Digital Salad’s top 5 most played games:

Mount & Blade Warband – 734 hours (30.6 days)

Mount & Blade With Fire And Sword – 75 hours (3.1 days)

Empire Total War – 73 hours (3 days)

Rising Storm – 53 hours (2.2 days)

Prison Architect – 44 hours (1.8 days)

And because I’m sucker for punishment I thought I’d add all that up. My top 5 most played games have been played a total of 40.7 full days straight by me. Damn. I wished I’d not worked that out now.

They’re interesting results though. Aside from the Mount & Blade equivalent of a month dominating it, which was probably pretty predictable from me, the other results are not too surprising either. The games I would probably recommend most that I play on Steam right now are probably those 5 (although Empire I haven’t played in ages, so that’s probably the only one I’d hesitate with on that list). For me, at least, the hours played on a game definitely seems to correlate with enjoyment and whether I’d recommend it.

Rising Storm - not a recommended method of using a toilet
Rising Storm – not a recommended method of using a toilet

Least hours played, but installed:

Universe Sandbox at just 0.2 hours. I do really like Universe Sandbox, I just found it so very boring after I did the basics like crash the earth into the sun!

Most achievements:

This one’s actually a tie between Mount & Blade Warband and Democracy 3, both at 53%.

Democracy 3 - glorious election victory!
Democracy 3 – glorious election victory!

Top 6 Rarest Achievements:

Verdun – Manual Labour (0.19% of players) – make 10 melee kills

Verdun – Headhunter (0.25% of players) – make 100 headshots

Rising Storm – Al Capone’s Violin (0.43% of players) – unlock the level 50 Thompson machine gun

Mount & Blade Warband – Harassing Horseman (0.79% of players) – kill 100 players with mounted projectiles in multiplayer

Rising Storm – Last Man Standing (0.87% of players) – kill 10 enemies with the 1911A1 pistol in one round

Mount & Blade Warband – The Huscarl (1% of players) – kill 50 players with throwing axes in multiplayer

There’s some very rare achievements in there, but they all feel like cheats to be honest. The two Verdun achievements, although rare, aren’t difficult at all. I guess a lot of players just haven’t played much to mean that I’m in such a small percentage who have make 10 melee kills. The Mount & Blade ones were kind of a cheat as well if I’m honest, because I mostly play on servers where you co-op against bot hordes – and bots still count and kills towards those achievements. Bots are way easier to kill in exotic ways for the achievements; and for that matter the same is true of Rising Storm. All of my rarest achievements are pretty much cheated – now there’s an admission!

Verdun – preparing the attack

Enough of swamping you with figures and stats though. I just hope those have been a little bit interesting. It definitely seems that playtime is a really useful way of determining the popularity of a game, and it can give you some surprising results (like football manager being the most played steam game in 2014/15). Achievements aren’t a useful way of looking into much at all though as far as I can see, but are interesting to see none the less.

What are your gaming statistics? Have a rarer achievement than I do? Share it with me in the comments.

 Digital Salad –