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.
I 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.
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