Cossacks II: Battle for Europe - PC - Review

Cossacks II: Battle for Europe is a stand-alone expansion with no need of the original to play. Yes, you’ll be able to play Battle for Europe without ever having to buy Cossacks II: Napoleonic Wars. GSC Game World has worked on Cossacks ever since the beginning and with Battle for Europe - they have now released five games based on the Cossacks franchise. Does this expansion dish out enough entertainment for RTS players?

For those who don’t know too much about the Napoleonic Wars, it revolves around Napoleon Bonaparte and his rule over France. When did it all take place? Beginning around 1799 and ending in 1815 with Napoleon’s defeat where he would be exiled to the island of Elba. He would later try to fight his way back during the ‘Hundred Days’ to gain control. This didn’t end well for Napoleon, with defeat occurring once again with being exiled to the island of Saint Helena. With all this rich history around one enlightened despot, there has to be war to be simulated right? Cossacks II: Battle for Europe contains enough that should allow fans to rejoice.

 

Three modes are offered: single-player campaign, skirmish for quick play, and Battle for Europe mode. The single-player campaign is centered on historical battles and happenings. The campaign allows players to control the nations of Germany, Poland, Spain and, as usual, France. Each individual campaign features five to seven different missions. The single-player campaign is all based on real-time strategy while the Battle for Europe mode offers turn-based combat. Think of the Battle for Europe mode as GSC Game World’s own Risk board. Battle for Europe is divided into 24 provinces among the 10 nations. Diplomacy, peace, war, bartering, alliances, trading and everything you can think is a factor in a total victory over the rival nations. You are allowed to ally with up to seven of your neighboring nations with only two others left out on the outside looking in. The great thing is that Battle for Europe is open to multiplayer games which are a much needed addition.

The skirmish mode is the quick battle mode for single-player and multiplayer games. The skirmishes are either based on real-life historical battles or randomly generated battles. Skirmish mode is real-time strategy to the core – you’ll start out with peasants who need to be gathering resources so you can build barracks for your soldiers. Typical, but, every RTS needs a skirmish mode in my own opinion. The historical battles only allow you a set amount of troops to combat the opponents. Realistic to the bone!

 

Like other Cossacks games, you’ll have to keep your troops’ morale and fatigue levels up. You’ll want to try to balance out their spirits with leaders for the troops that are down on themselves. The leaders can take large armies into battle and win them single handedly for you. It is better to get as much experience as you can for your leaders, so, you can command those larger armies quicker. Other tactics include three different formations that all have their weaknesses and strengths. Also each nation has their own abilities, strengths and weaknesses attached their units.

Cossacks II: Battle for Europe isn’t for the lightning fast players that want to quickly attack their opponents. You’ll want to weigh out the good and bad of each planned attack since the game plods along at a slower pace. The terrain, timing, range, formations all factor in each battle. If you are a fan of the original games, there’s a lot of the same gameplay unchanged. Plus old nations remain still present: Austria, Russia, Prussia, Britain and Egypt are also included apart from the ones I mentioned earlier. There’s also Rhine added to the list that as a playable nation.

It isn’t much of an upgrade visually. Comparing the original to the expansion, you’d be hard pressed to show the differences. Cossacks still hasn’t turned to 3D-gaming either, which means those who like to zoom and rotate their cameras, there is none of that found here. The detail on the sprites is good along with the environment, but, it isn’t enough to compare to modern day real-time strategy games like Lord of the Rings and Warhammer. The sound isn’t bad either if that is worth anything. You’ll hear great voice acting and decent sound effects. While the game isn’t the best RTS on the technical side, you are at least receiving a historically rich RTS.

Cossacks fans won’t want to miss out here. RTS hardcore nuts will want to at least give this a look and determine if this is a safer purchase than other various new games on the market. If you love history, like I do, Cossacks II: Battle for Europe is a safe purchase. I’d recommend it to anyone that is looking for something slower paced, more detailed in its missions, and historically correct.

 

Review Scoring Details for Cossacks II: Battle for Europe

Gameplay: 7.6
If you have played the original, you know what’s in this package when you open it up. If you want an RTS with an up-tempo style gameplay, look elsewhere.

Graphics: 6.5
This won’t be found at any art museum for style or presentation, but, it does get the job done.

Sound: 7.0
The two big things that helped the audio was that they found good voice-actors and worked on the sound effects.

Difficulty: Easy
I home in on an RTS like a missile. Playing an RTS is like second nature to me nowadays with playing every new one that has released in the past year.

Concept: 7.8
An RTS based around a period full of warfare isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but I find it refreshing to see that GSC Game World made sure the history was correct.

Multiplayer: 7.9
Two modes of play is more than enough for me due to that they are different in every way. I prefer the Battle for Europe mode since it reminds me of all the good things I like about Risk, global domination, and doesn’t have any of the negative points like my friends sneaking their pieces onto the board.

Overall: 7.8
I recommend it to all RTS fans. Cossacks is a great series that I hope the developers continue on with.

Good

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