"One of the best unknown Strategy games"

Imperial Glory puts you in control of Europes 5 most powerful nations of the time(Roughly 1790s-1820s), Great Britain, France, Austria, Prussia and Russia. You'll have to rule your nation both on the battlefield, and in the political realm. Basically a Total War "copy cat", Imperial Glory brings some new additions to a new breed of strategy games.
Graphics-
The graphics in this game are just so-so or "Good" by todays standards. Most of the soldiers are kinda blocky at some points and you dont see the real smooth curves of truly great 3D graphics nowadays. The graphics are neither great enough to hold their own, but they aren't so horrible they make you want to quit. They do just enough to get that Imperialistic feel in the game.

Gameplay(Battles)
I divided this part into 2 different sections, because your going to have to fight your battles on land and sea, and control what happens in politics. Those who have played a Total War game will feel right at home with how the battles play out. Select a unit, move them, attack/defend, victory/defeat. Same formula that we've seen before. The animations are done well as it is very cool to see two armies clash in a battle of arms. While the battle system works for the most part, there are a few trouble spots. First off is the fact that when you use your artillery, the crews seem to forget how to use the "screw" to raise or lower the gun. My first battle with artillery I placed my cannons behind my infantry lines, far enough to get the cannon shot over my infantry. Well for some reason the cannon shot, instead of creating an arch, just went straight, mowing down my infantry lines. While this problem is relatively minor, there is a MAJOR problem with the way units fight. When you engage in close quarters combat, your units can not disengage and fall back. Once engaged in a bayonet attack, they will fight to death or victory. I know that army units used bayonet attacks as a last result but I think i should be able to attack and then maybe rush back to set up a firing line.

The other MAJOR problem in the game is a huge one for me. The biggest problem with the battles is the fact there is NO morale factor. While some people don't care for it, I personally like it because morale adds realism to the game. If an infantry regiment advances and is continuously shot by artillery, to where their numbers are critically down, they shouldn't fight with the same intensity as they would with full numbers. Another area where this shows up is when you use a flank attack, there is no "fear" from the troops. Ok if you are surrounded on all sides, I don't care if you are the Imperial Guard, you're going to panic, even if its a little.

One way Imperial Glory adds to the Total War way of battles is the fact that it has naval battles. The ships of this time were basically just floating fortresses as this era more than likely started the "Race for the Battleship" that was shown early in the 1900s. The ships start out as small, fast maneuvering, light armored ships and then go up into the big Frigates that heavily armed but slow moving. While it's nice to finally have naval battles, they are somewhat complicated. If you are not a micro manager god, you're going to have a little trouble here. The battles at sea are complicated because unlike battles on land, your ships will not automatically engage another ship. You have to maneuver your ships around into firing position manually. It was nice to finally fight on the sea, but a little bit of work on making it less complicated is a must.

Gameplay(Political)
Once you choose the nation you're going to play as your shown the Risk style map of Europe. Depending on where you are in Europe you will see neighboring countries around you. As you get started your given the choices of which building improvements you wish to build. There is one complication with building, and that is that most of the major buildings can only be built in your capital city. For instance, if you choose Great Britain, you can only build army barracks and other major buildings in London. Your other "minor" provinces will be able to build your economic improvements such as farms, mills and mines and things of that nature. This can cause the production of troops and major armies very time consuming as you first have to make a commander, then train your troops, then move your troops out from your capital city to the front.

While other games have a research tree of sorts where you build in different stages( i.e. a basic barracks allows you to build a more advanced barracks), Imperial Glory presents you with a "research department". Here you will spend some coin in an effort to research new technologies, which increase your production of goods and troops, and allow you to build more advanced buildings.

As you advance through technologies you eventually reach a "level up" area where you are presented the choice of which government you wish to have. This will not only affect which countries like you more, but what way your nation is going. Virtually every type of government you can think of is in this game, Democracy, Republic, Monarchy, Dictatorship for example. As I said before what ever government you choose, that will lead your nation in a new way. Generally more democratic or "free" governments tend to be more economic based, while Dictatorships and monarchys tend to lean more towards military.
Also based on your decisions will be how easy or hard it will be to create alliances and negotiate with other countries. The diplomacy area is very well done giving you a nice list of options such as Coalitions, rights of passage and defensive alliances, even lending troops or asking for troops from another country.

Another major factor in diplomacy is your popularity rating. This determines how well other countries like you, so the higher the better. This creates the ultimate way of conquering the world, while looking like a saint at the same time. One example is when you "liberate" a minor nation, you are given the option of either conquering the new territory, or restoring it to its independence. If you choose to stay as a conquerer your popularity rating goes down, and if you choose to grant independence your popularity rating goes down. You can either disregard the popularity rating, and just go full force against the rest of the world(my favorite way) or you can sit back, create world wide alliances and be the "nice guy" in Europe.

AI
The AI in this game is what you'd expect in a strategy games. They'll make attacks, offer alliances and trade, and even assist you in your wars. The one complaint I have with the AI is that making deals with them is incredibly difficult. Most of the time you're going to have to offer up some serious amount of coin,food or wood in attempt to get what you want. So if you're planning on creating a big coalition of major nations, be sure to have a big treasury to back you up.

Controls
The battlefield controls seem a little complicated at first glance, but once you get the basic understanding of them they come to you like a snap. The campaign screen of research and training is a little more complicated than most but the game does a good job of explaining what your doing. You don't get your own adviser but the explanations, are good at telling what the building or unit is good for.

Conclusions
While the game may have a few faults, overall it's a great game and very fun to play. The campaign is never fought the same way and can offer up some very interesting campaigns( France and Great Britain allied for instance). I would say if you have the extra money, and can actually find this game, you should definitely buy it if you've played the Total War games or like strategy games in general


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/06/06


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