- Dead Space 4 Pushed Aside for New Star Wars Title
- Xbox Live Reduced Content for June 2013
- Xbox Live Marketplace Update: June 18th, 2013
- PSPlus Not Required for Auto-Updates with PS4
- Jimmy Fallon Plays With Xbox One
- Sega Says Phantasy Star Online 2 for the West is 'Delayed'
- Torchlight Free on GOG.com for Next 48 Hours
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown iOS Available This Week
- Best Games of E3 2013 - People's Choice
- Mornin '13
- Xbox One Will Still Allow Access to Games to Banned Users
- Oculus Rift Welcomes VR Sex Game to Launch Library
- Watch Dogs, Far Cry & Rabbids Movies in the Making
- Battlefield 4 Alpha Testing, Possibly System Requirements
- Nintendo has No Plans to Cut Price of Wii U
- Sony Explains Why PS+ is Needed for Multiplayer
- The Last of Us Top Dog in UK
Cossacks: European Wars Review
publisher: Strategy First
developer: GSC Game World
P200, 32MB RAM, 200MB HDD, 1MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Jan 02, 01
|» All About Cossacks: European Wars on ActionTrip|
Nikola "Bunny" Zakic
I am quite sure that the sun will rise tomorrow. It hadn't failed me for more than twenty years, and as there are no significant prophecies that would foretell the end of the world in the next 24 hours, I doubt anyone can deny my last statement. Still, as eternity presents quite a lot of time, I doubt not that there will be a moment when sun will fail to appear in the skies. By the same analogy, the rule that nothing can escape the cruel hand of time can be applied to the gaming industry as well. And if you consider the analogy improper, Think of the bright stars of the gaming industry such as Homeworld, Civilization and Counter Strike or maybe even Sims. Back to the subject - I am quite sure that Age Of Kings, Red Alert (2) and Starcraft will remain the symbols of RTS games for years to come.
Fortunately, my vision of reality (which our EIC tend to refer to as pessimism) does not discourage other programmers to give their best shot at making good games and try some other job with less competition (like selling donuts in front of a police station). CDV SOFTWARE ENTERTAINMENT sets a good example to all restless programmers who would gladly depose the aforementioned games from their throne. Their Sudden Strike lacked only a couple of minor details to reach the top, and their new RTS Cossacks: The European War is even one step closer, but unfortunately, in spite of all its qualities, I doubt that this game will achieve the full success it deserves.
Cossacks depicts the turbulent period in Europe from 16th to 18th century through a dozen campaigns: the Northern War, The War Of Spanish Succession, war for independence of Ukraine, Thirty Year War and the expansion of the tsarist Russia. European history has been used a lot in recent games but I doubt that this event-abundant period will be used to full extent in near future. The given scenarios are interesting both for Europeans and other gamers.
The standard control method used in most 2D RTSs, has successfully been implemented here. Gathering resources, researching technologies, building military bases, recruiting soldiers and waging wars still present the key to success, just like we're used to. Still, many of these elements have been implemented in rather a peculiar way. The microeconomic element is far more complex than it is in similar games. Apart from food, stone and wood, you'll have to gather coal iron and gold in order to overpower your opponents. OK, this is a bit more demanding and complex, but it's nothing really new. Now, the way you spend the resources is. When you create a unit, it will spend certain quantity of food, and more advanced units will even spend gold. The more soldiers you have the faster will your wallet and barns become empty. This basically means that, just like in real life, only rich and economically solid forces can support a large standing army for longer periods of time. Then, quite unlike John Rambo and similar characters, the soldiers in Cossacks require ammo. This means that every single gunshot be it from a handgun or a cannon will spend a certain quantity of coal and iron from your stores. This may seem a bit unrealistic, but it does make sense in a long run, and it will sure prevent you from wasting your ammo senselessly. All this makes the game more complex and shifts the focus from piling up units and rushing the enemy to careful planning and micro-economy. However, I must emphasize that maintaining a healthy economy seems far more difficult than it actually is, as you can well rely on the well-done AI routines of your peasants, which will take care of the tedious things like rebuilding farms or organizing resource transport.
The combat model is far improved and a bit more complex than the usual one. There are five basic types of units: infantry, cavalry, artillery, navy and supply. You will have a chance to command about 50 different military units, and each historical period and nation has its own specific units. I would also like to mention the great information system, which will enable you to see the detailed stats for all your units without having to switch to a help menu or anything like that. Troop manipulation has been much simplified by introducing several specialized options.
The one thing that makes Cossacks stick out of the sea of RTS's is the detailed tactical element. Warfare logic used to be much different three or four centuries ago. I am not sure anyone could imagine thousands of soldiers slowly and orderly advancing towards enemy lines nowadays. Was it a matter of honor or plain blatant stupidity (Yeah, the whole concept is a mystery to me as well - Ed)? It still seems incredible that none of them had the urge to run or duck or find a shelter (They'd probably get shot by their own, and that's always a good incentive not to run - Ed). Whatever the case, many books have been written on this type of warfare and CDV SOFTWARE ENTERTAINMENT programmers successfully brought it to life. The encyclopedia (justified name for the help system) which ships with the game contains detailed information on the importance of combining different types of units in action and possible solutions for conquering or defending strongholds, and one of the best tutorials I have ever seen will give you a chance to try out everything you have learned from the encyclopedia. Officers who are essential for organizing soldiers into troops play the key role in battle. Not all officers are equally capable, the higher-ranking ones will be able to command larger number of soldiers and be more efficient at it. Forcing you to use your brain in a war sim. apart from just rapidly clicking around, Cossacks somehow merged classical with tactical RTS games. If I remember well, Fields Of Glory was one of the first games that focused strongly on the tactical element as it only gave you a predetermined number of soldiers at the beginning of each mission with no possibility to summon reinforcements. The goal was to present the atmosphere of spectacular battles where there can be no draws. The general could only rely on terrain analysis, and its proper use. Cossacks has all these elements combined with the micro-economy and development from classical RTS games.
8.1 Very Good
The two sub-genres in a single game give the best in RTS games, successfully presented historical period from the XVI to XVIII century, complex combat model;
Unbalanced units, enemy AI relies on speed, rather than tactics, the game was meant to avoid rush tactics, but failed in that respect, several irrational elements that spoil the atmosphere, too difficult for most players.