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GOL Cast: Aggressively Expanding Sweden In Empire: Total War

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Feel like going back to the old times of gun powder and armies standing in straight lines on open fields? Well, here's a good candidate. Let's make our dreams of glorious empires true and see how this game works.

Empire: Total War by Creative Assembly is a strategy game that combines turn-based “grand” strategy and real-time battles. You take control of an 18th century nation and dominance over your neighbors is your sole objective. You need to create and manage your armies, keep any uprisings under control and fight over the control of seas and provinces on your quest for glory. The Linux port was handled by Feral Interactive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBLjEhfpTHM

Empire: Total War is a hybrid of two distinct forms of strategy. Games are divided into turns and on each turn you can recruit soldiers, move your armies around, conduct diplomacy, research technologies and manage your empire's taxation. This “world view” is not awfully complex and it certainly won't be any Europa Universalis and it's not really the focus of the game but it's still an integral part of the experience.

Once you enter a battle you get into what the game truly is about. When two armies collide with each other the game turns into a real-time strategy game. You have various kinds of units at your disposal, depending of course on the units you have recruited and deployed into battle, such as traditional line-infantry, cavalry and artillery. It's not just about running a lot of soldiers into your enemies lines, however. Instead you need to be careful about the placement of your units. Line-infantry, which is the most common unit type found in battles, needs to be deployed in wide lines to provide the best possible firing angle and they need to be properly facing the enemy, otherwise you lose some of your firepower. This means that flanking your enemies becomes a main priority.

The key to victory in these battles is to combine different kinds of units and tactics. For example, you might want to keep the enemy busy by deploying a couple of regiments of line-infantry and once the enemies engage those soldiers you send your cavalry to flank them from behind and break their lines, causing them to flee in terror. For some added mayhem, you could also deploy some cannons on a nearby hill and let them tear the enemies apart.

Troop morale is also an important factor in these battles. If a regiment comes under heavy artillery fire and takes enough casualties, its morale will start to break and eventually the soldiers in that regiment will simply run away. There are a lot of factors that affect the morale of your troops. Nearby units and fortifications will improve the morale, as well as having your general next to the troops. A lone regiment with unprotected flanks with a cavalry regiment running directly at it will on the other hand suffer morale loss. The general's death also negatively affects your troops' morale, so you have to balance the risk and reward of having your general next to your advancing soldiers. A battle ends when all of your or your opponent's soldiers have been killed or are running for their lives.

At first Empire: Total War seemed like a complex game and threw a lot of hints and tips at me. But in the end it's not really all that complex. While you can spend a lot of times tweaking the tax rates of your provinces to prevent rebellions while getting optimal amounts of money to support the war effort, you can simply set the game to handle those things for you and you can completely focus on recruiting troops and sending them to the desired locations. It's not necessarily an easy game, mind you. While the AI isn't the best and you can quite easily fool it with flanking maneuvers, and often it mindlessly sends troops into obvious traps, it does exploit weaknesses in your defenses and will mercilessly intercept your weakened armies. In my Swedish campaign I'm currently facing furious counter-attacks, heavily fortified positions and strong alliances.

The biggest problem I've had with the game has been the performance. Most of the time the game stays at around 30 FPS or above but sometimes the game tanks massively, even in the world view for unknown reasons. It's a strategy game, so the framerate isn't that big of a deal. But the experience would still be better in 60 FPS. Now I'm not sure how well the Windows version runs but I do hope that it's something that can be fixed at some point. Until then I'm just going to enjoy it with some occasional cinematic moments.

All in all Empire: Total War is a neat strategy game that you can easily get hours and hours of fun out of. There is a lot to see, a lot to do and a lot to conquer. It's very detailed and the battles can get really epic. I totally recommend it but do mind the performance. You might not be able to crank every single option in the settings up to eleven if a smooth experience is a must for you.

You can buy the game directly from Feral here (it still uses Steam): https://store.feralinteractive.com/en/us/games/empirecollection/

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
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I'm a Linux gamer from Finland. I like reading, long walks on the beach, dying repeatedly in roguelikes and ripping and tearing in FPS games. I also sometimes write code and sometimes that includes hobbyist game development.
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6 comments

oldrocker99 22 Jan, 2015
E:TW was one of the games I had missed from my dual-boot days, and I was quite happy to see it appear in my Linux library.

Still waiting for Bioshock:Infinite, which appeared, then disappeared from my library :><: . Patience...
minj 22 Jan, 2015
GTX 760@720p only gives 30FPS?

Well then, clearly I can forget about trying it on my 1080p laptop :)
stan 22 Jan, 2015
  • Supporter Plus
Samsaisome occasional cinematic moments
:D

I’m glad to read that it’s not a very hard game and that the core of the game in not turn-based. I might get it some day…
FredO 22 Jan, 2015
Thank you Samsai for another fine GOL Cast. E:TW is a worthy addition to the growing Linux games collection, and still a game I just keep going back to...
FredO 23 Jan, 2015
Sojiro84Maybe you had the same issue as me. I just converted to Linux and had a few problems with some games just having 30 fps or stuttering like a mad-man.

Seems that enabling vsync in games destroys your framerate or causes stuttering.

I also had this game and had at max 30 fps. When I disabled vsync i got 100+ fps.

I also had this with the Talos principle I bought yesterday. Also 30 fps there and I am sure my rig is plenty powerful enough for more fps. So I decided to check if vsync was on. It was, so I turned it off and bam, 60+ fps and then went back to other games and turning off vsync improved my fps there as well.

I might not have said is enough so,

tl;dr, vsync off = iwin.

I always have vsync turned off because of issues like you mention. It also causes some Unity engine games to hang at start-up.
So yeah, it's also problematic from my experience.
Samsai 23 Jan, 2015
Sojiro84Maybe you had the same issue as me. I just converted to Linux and had a few problems with some games just having 30 fps or stuttering like a mad-man.

Seems that enabling vsync in games destroys your framerate or causes stuttering.

I also had this game and had at max 30 fps. When I disabled vsync i got 100+ fps.

I also had this with the Talos principle I bought yesterday. Also 30 fps there and I am sure my rig is plenty powerful enough for more fps. So I decided to check if vsync was on. It was, so I turned it off and bam, 60+ fps and then went back to other games and turning off vsync improved my fps there as well.

I might not have said is enough so,

tl;dr, vsync off = iwin.
Sadly, this is not the case. When I encountered these issues I immediately went to the settings menu to check if vsync was enabled. With Talos I also had to disable vsync but here it didn't help.
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