An attempt to fill in a gaping "Napoleonic Era" hole in the RTS genre that succeeded in every department.

User Rating: 8.9 | Cossacks: European Wars PC
Gameplay: The core design of the gameplay plays true to previous games in the genre, in that your fundamental goal involves building a base from which to gather resources and attack your oponent [don't mess with proven formulas]. However, the innovation in this department involves the sheer scale of the armies you can command. Where previous installments of RTS games (namely Age of Empires) allowed the player to command maybe 50-100 men maximum (which I'm not complaining about!) Cossacks allows for virtually unlimited numbers, leading to vast pitched battles. What's more, you're given the option to organise these troops into regiments of different sizes with a commanding officer and drummer (or, in the case of 18th Century England, a bag-piper), which in turn can be arranged into different formations. All of this adds a tremendous sense of realism which has never really been present in previous games of the genre. While this might sound off-putting to some gamers (i.e. larger scale = more to control) the game displays everything subtly so even the most squeamish player will get used to it fairly quickly ( which can't be so easily said of later games in the series). One of the highlights of the gameplay occurs during online multiplayer, where you're rapidly trying to build a huge army, and eagerly anticipating researching the hot air balloon technology to see what your opponent has conjured up to counter it.

Graphics: Does what it says on the tin: nothing innovative but nothing too complicated as to confuse you and hinder your pace (such as the overly large buildings in the later games which would take up the whole screen when hovered over).

Sound: The music in Cossacks: European Wars is fantastic: totally befitting of the period in which it's set and instantly memorable. Sound effects are also impressive: there's nothing better than marching into battle to the sound of the snare-drum and your commanding officer barking orders, while cannon-fire echoes in the distance.

Value: Considering the game can be bought for next to nothing from any source nowadays, and the fact that literally hundreds of hours can be spent on a multiplayer mode which never really gets dull, as well as a competent campaign mode, there's no reason to award this attribute anything less than a perfect 10.

Reviewer's Tilt: For anybody interested in a Napoleonic Era RTS that ticks all the boxes and still stands up well today, why look any further? The developers took a brave step in delivering a game based on an era where melee combat wasn't standard (which, in a genre rife with melee-based combat, is some feat) and they succeeded in every way. My recommendation can't be stressed enough!