Become an Angry Midget
Napolean Bonaparte was a bad, bad dude who wanted to prove it doesn’t pay to hassle short people and he sure proved that when he took over most of Europe...Twice! Now, with Imperial Glory, you have the chance to do that, just as Napolean did, or if you don’t want to be French, you can always play as the English, Austrians, Prussians or Russians. Now I realise that taking over the world in a computer game is nothing new, and for strategy games it is the bread and butter, but Imperial Glory has certainly made it a richer and more visually impressive experience.
There are effectively three parts to the game. Once you have picked which nation you are going to be, you get introduced to the strategy part of the game. This is where you will probably spend most for your time, and in fact you could spend the whole game here if you wanted to, but I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t later. You effectively get a map divided up in to territories as in Risk. (I was going to try and not make a Risk comparison, but when you have a map divided into territories and your armies are made up of men with tall hats, men on horses and cannons it is kind of unavoidable.) There are a number of things you can do while in this part of the game. These include constructing buildings, which can help you create better armies, improve your resource protection (which is essential if you want to survive), move your armies around, set up trade routes and most importantly, enter into diplomatic relations with your neighbours. Here is also where you can make friends, create enemies or just generally interact with your neighbours.
Of course when they do come to stomp you, this is actually one of the highlights of the game, which brings me to part two, Land Combat. In your capital (and anyone else’s capital that you take over) you can produce troops, and captains to lead them. You can move these captains around from territory to territory, or when someone tries to invade one of your territories it’s time for an epic battle. All the armies that you have in that territory fight against the invaders armies, in real time. That’s right - you get to control them over the battlefield. Unfortunately if you aren’t a master tactician on the battlefield you may get a hiding - so brush up on those tactical skills. All of the action is in full 3D so you can get right in amongst your troops, however this is also a good way of losing the battle as you have no idea what is going on, so I would recommend saving your game first. Having said that, I found that moving the camera a bit of a nightmare. You can quite easily end up a long way from where you were with your troops a minute ago.
And if watching little men run around chopping each other up and shooting at one another isn’t your cup of tea, then there is always the third part of the game.
Just like land battles, ships can go at it too. Anyone who has played Pirates! will be familiar with the general principles of moving a ship around and firing cannons at the enemy. Sea battles are fun when they are one on one, but once you introduce a few ships - it becomes a LOT harder. The control of the ships is good, but you can only interact with one at a time and unfortunately, the ships you aren’t controlling can’t go on autopilot, so rather than going on the offensive you may end up spending all of your time keeping your own ships alive. Also, these naval battles can go on for some time, so make sure you have been to the bathroom beforehand. These are only minor gripes though, and they do make the game far better than your average strategy title.
For those of you who just want the combat then there are a few historical battles that you can take over to re-write history through your own actions!