Review by AlCurtis
"A horrible total war clone."
Imperial Glory is truly one of the most disappointing strategy games of all time. A severe lack of understanding by the dev team and a glaring lack of talent, as well as some awful design decisions seal the fate of this truly wretched total war clone.
Imperial Glory is a 4x style game, vaguely like Total War, set in the Napoleonic era. The object much like the total war games is to conquer the world or gain the most honor points in the time allotted.
The problem with Imperial Glory is it's not realistic in even the least bit. The dev team simply doesn't understand the basic concepts of the battle field. Take cavalry. Cavalry is used as a shock force. The shock and mass of cavalry and the terrifying appearance of a unit of horsemen charging towards you made them physiological weapon as well as an effective battering ram, especially when equipped with lances as they could skewer ranks of men.
The weakness of cavalry is that it is of limited use in melee. Because a horseman is sitting on a horse he can't dodge and move quickly or fight effectively in a melee, as opposed to infantry, who can move and dodge as normal and have a huge target, the horse to attack. This means that cavalry, if caught up in a melee will be slaughtered by trained infantry.
Musket armed infantry at the time were also equipped with bayonets that fitted either in or under the barrels of their muskets making a makeshift spear. A unit of cavalry charging against a wall of bayonets just like a unit of spears will be cut to pieces and most horses even if trained would not charge home against a wall of sharp points. This made cavalry largely useless against prepared infantry
Imperial glory ignores these facts of the battle filed and cavalry will massacre any unit in melee. Even elite infantry such as the British Black Watch will be crushed. This is not even close to being historically accurate. There is a square formation that counters cavalry but it shouldn't have to be used.
Even lace armed cavalry will win. A lance is about 20 feet long and made of wood tipped with iron or steel. Obviously using this weapon in melee would be impossible. This is ignored however and mounted lancers still beat infantry in melee even though you can see them using the weapon. Brilliant.
Buildings are also completely dumb. The musket is a mass weapon. Single troops firing muskets would be lucky to hit anything and if they did wouldn't make much of an impression which is why musketeers line up and fire as one to send debilitating waves of musket balls at the enemies, firing at an area rather than picking individual men. This means that buildings with few windows etc would be virtually useless because of how troops are bunched up instead and only a few can fire out the windows. Troops outside would have a much easier time shooting even though the defenders are under cover. This isn't the case in imperial glory. Units in buildings do MORE damage with their muskets and will wreck any unit shooting at them from outside as they get massive attack and defense (not just defense) bonuses when in a building. This is compounded by the fact that if you want to attack a building by sending troops in to melee you can only send one unit of 60 men in at once due to a bug that the patch doesn't fix. A single unit in a building can kill three others with no problems in the game.
There is little strategy to battle in IG because of the way historical tactics don't work and you'll almost always take as many casualties as the enemies, which is completely unlike total war where tactics rule. Artillery is also a complete pain to use not giving a crap if it takes your own troops out and often fails to shoot over the heads of your own soldiers therefore killing your army there is also no in range cursor for imperial glory so its hard to tell if your artillery is close enough making it of severely limited use.
Militia is yet another unrealistic unit. Militia in IG are untrained men who have no weapons but large sticks and would have had no amour of any kind. They simply charge straight towards enemies and attack them in melee Historically they would have be devastated by one or two vollies before they even reached melee distance and even before then broke and ran in fear since they are not disciplined trained soldiers. And even if they reached the enemy they would be no match for trained soldiers in melee.
Again IG screws this up. Militia are not only armored and take relatively little casualties from musket fire they also BEAT professional light and medium infantry with muskets and bayonets in combat. A single unit of Militia can almost beat two units of trained infantry such as line infantry. What was Pyro Studios smoking? It's so bad a fan made patch had to be made to resolve the issue.
Morale also doesn't exist. Troops being annihilated by gunfire or artillery stand their ground; the last four men in a unit of 60 continue calmly reloading and firing amongst the countless corpses of the fallen, flanking attacks don't panic units at all. Troops always stay and fight exactly where they are until everyone is dead. This makes battle feel utterly unrealistic and things that shouldn't happen like losing artillery to a suicidal cavalry charge, do.
IG has controllable naval battles unlike Total War but they are horrible micromanaging nightmares fought on tiny sections of the sea where it's all too easy for a ship to sail right out of the battlefield. And if you retreat, all ships that escaped will ALWAYS be sunk. WHY?
Like total war IG besides the tactical (huh?) battles, also has the familiar strategic overview mode where you have a map of the world and you build buildings, train units and orchestrate your overall strategy for world domination.
History in IG is spilt into three eras each more advanced than the last with more advanced troops, technology and buildings available.
This also sucks for a variety of reasons. The first is the worthless attempt at diplomacy.
This at first looked good because it has more advanced options compared to total war games such as loaning troops but it isn't. For any of these to have a chance of accepting you have to pay the target ridiculous amounts of money, way, way more than you can spare and things like alliances are pointless because besides the ridiculous cost they also are forged for a very limited amount of turns usually right afterwards you'll be attacked by your former ally. Nations show how they feel towards you by their sympathy a number out of 100 which is acutely pointless. The idea is that this is how much the nation cares about yours and if you can sweet-talk it to 100 the nation and all its territories join your empire willingly and come under your control. I've been attacked with nations with 80+ sympathy and nations with 20 or less are peaceful. It is not cool at all when you pay a nation a lot of money to accept diplomatic deals then get attacked by that nation. Like how I had a defensive alliance with France and another nation for ages when it ran out I renewed it and the nation had 75 sympathy and after a few more turns the time to renew it rolled around and id dint have enough gold so then the nation simply attacked me regardless of the fact it was my ally up till now. This makes diplomacy completely pointless, even worse than the notoriously bad Rome Total War diplomacy.
The game moves at a snails pace, armies are very expensive and time consuming to raise and buildings are expensive. Every army also needs a commanding office r which means you need top wait more while ones trained and the basic captains can only command three units so you need to make more or research buildings to get Cornels or Generals which allow 4 or 5 each. There are also Field Marshals that you can only get though battle field experience. Unlike Total War traits and command ability don't exist here and everyone is the same, even the units as every faction in the game has exactly the same units with exactly the same status making battles even more boring. When you conquer a territory it slows down even more because you have to wait and wait for their territory to be annexed and for your troops to suppress all rebellion forcing you to leave your troops there for ages. This is the same as the TW games but armies take so long to move and build it's a real hassle in IG. Conquering a major factions territory by military means also makes it so you can't build there anymore which makes the territory virtually useless. Why this is I don't know.
Since conquering by military might makes territories useless permanently and peacefully annexing a country is impossible because of the horrid diplomacy the effectively makes the entire campaign game extremely forced and annoying.
Graphics wise IG is decent. Troops are painfully small and woefully underdetailed sprites but the environments don't look that bad are nice and big. Some effects like watching melee combat with bodies and blood mounting up and the huge clouds of smoke from musketry and cannons are nice. The game lacks scale though with just 60 men in an infantry unit and 40 in a cavalry unit even the biggest battles that should be world changing and titanicly huge feel like small skirmishes. This is laughable compared to the thousands of troops total war has in battles. Charging cavalry look ridiculous, as the cavalry stopp a short distance from the infantrymen, a bunch of them magically fall over while both units stand still and then they suddenly change to melee. Horrible.
The sound is IG's saving grace. Guns and artillery make nice beefy sounds and you hear commanders yelling orders with some good voice acting in their native language and troops yell and scream like they should. Sounds like marching and flowing water are well done too. IG really brings the battles to life sound wise.
The voiceovers for preludes to battles etc aren't so good. They try to give a kind of deep feeling to the battles but it ends up sounding tryhard and corny.
The music is also very good with moody orchestrated pieces for battles and nice meditative music for the campaign. In fact the music is too good for a game like IG the battles just aren't big enough for such a grand score.
Over all Imperial glory is a deeply flawed and horribly unrealistic total war rip off. If you love the time frame like I do you might get some extra mileage out of it but don't expect too much.
Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 09/15/08, Updated 10/02/08
Game Release: Imperial Glory (EU, 05/20/05)
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