reviews\ Jun 19, 2005 at 8:00 pm

Imperial Glory - PC - Review

At the end of the industrial revolution the western world was wracked by a series of wars. It was a time when politicians and generals became heroes. The best and the brightest lights of a generation built their own empires and wielded enormous power. This is the setting for Imperial Glory, the new turn-based strategy game by Eidos and Pyro Studios. Players take command of the great European powers. Trade, military might, and diplomacy are all tools in your arsenal to reach your goals. Blessed with an engaging combat system, wonderful graphics, and an easy-to-learn interface Imperial Glory is a welcome addition to the strategy genre.

The game begins with players assuming command of an empire. Basic military units are available, but players will be forced to build up their empire if they want to recruit better ones. The real-world map of Europe, northern Africa, and the Near East are available. The map is divided into smaller regions that players can gain power over. Each region generates resources that players require to advance their cause. Money, raw materials, population, and research are all garnered from areas an empire controls. It is obvious that the developers have put a great deal of effort into making the world of Imperial Glory an accurate reflection of the real world. Each region produces different levels of resources, which in turn provides for a certain amount of balance in the game.

Like all strategy games there are a host of upgrades available for players to pursue. There is a diverse research tree, separated into several “ages” that players advance through. New military units, diplomatic options, and facilities to build are all unlocked through research. In addition to the standard unlock-the-upgrade system there is a unique feature in the Imperial Glory research tree. Players can unlock “quests” that they can complete. When the quest is completed an empire can claim the rewards. Free construction of facilities, increased research for a year, and diplomatic advantages can all be earned by completing quests. The quests can only be completed once per game.   While the quests don’t provide a crushing advantage, wise players will complete as many as they can.

Resource management is an important feature of any strategy game. Imperial Glory takes this one step further through a system of trade agreements and diplomatic favor. Every country has a favorability rating among its neighbors. This is useful in negotiations, but it is very important if players want to peacefully annex other countries. An empire can send an offer to another to sell resources for a set price. This allows players to sell extra resources and purchase what they need. Diplomacy is a two-edged sword, and turning down a trade agreement will have a negative impact on relations. Players should keep an eye on their relations with other nations. Push them too far and friends will become neutral. Neutral nations can be bribed by your enemies into joining their war against you. 

When war does break out players have the option to personally command their troops. The turn-based screen rolls away. In its place a three-dimensional world is created. Each unit appears and can be commanded at will. Players can signal the charge, align their troops, and send in the cavalry. The combat areas are all extremely well rendered. They also have realistic challenges that a tactician must master. In sea combat, for example, players must effectively use their broadsides, choose how they are going to engage the enemy, and maneuver their ships around the wind. Combat is fast paced and exciting. If you find that the real-time-strategy element is not for you there is an option to automatically resolve the combat.

Players will have to raise armies and build navies to fight their battles. Almost as important as size of the armies are their composition. Players must recruit leaders for their ground units. Commanders have a limited number of units that they can command at any one time. This makes it vital that armies are balanced for several roles. An army of nothing but cavalry is lightning fast and very maneuverable. It will lose to an army that uses infantry to form a defensive posture and lets the cavalry break upon their bayonets. Solid infantry formations, in turn, are vulnerable to assault by artillery cannons. The most powerful ground army in the world is useless when attacking across oceans. Numerous ships are required to carry the troops, which leads to a need for a powerful navy to protect the convoy.

In addition to the single-player campaigns there are several other options available. Players can engage in re-enactments of famous battles from the period. Multi-player games are available so friends can go head-to-head and decide once and for all who deserves to be ruler of the West. Like all strategy games the most innovative and entertaining enemies are always other humans. Imperial Glory has done a wonderful job of creating AI opponents to challenge players in single-player campaigns and their multiplayer options to allow friends to enjoy the game together.

If you have ever wondered if you had what it takes to rule the world, Imperial Glory is worth taking a look at. Fans of the strategy genre, both turn-based and real-time will have hours of fun exploring the world Pyro Studios and Eidos have brought to us. Other gamers will be drawn to the impressive graphics and innovative gameplay. Solid gameplay for trade, military conquest, and research combine with innovative twists to enthrall fans. Courage and vision separate the survivors and the fallen. Imperial Glory awaits the victors. Do you have what it takes?


Make friends wherever you can. If you are engaging in merchant traffic, wars cut off your trade routes. Consider having a gold reserve to bribe hostile nations to seek peace if you need it.

England looks like a wonderful starting location. They are an island power, isolated from ground assault, and they have a lot of trade route options. Before jumping into the game as the English remember that they produce population very slowly. This makes building up your military a time consuming process.

Be wary of the edge of the map during naval combat. The wind will tend to drive ships in one direction. When you get to the edge of the combat area your units risk leaving the battle and abandoning you. The AI units have a tendency to sail around the boundary if you let them. Take the fights out into the open water to avoid accidents.

Review Scoring Details for Imperial Glory

Gameplay: 8.0
There are a lot of features available in Imperial Glory and each of them works well. Trade, research, and combat are all run through an intuitive design.  Players will have hours of fun enjoying this game.

Graphics: 8.5
The graphics in Imperial Glory are well done. I was especially impressed with the 3D-combat scenarios. Even with a complex battle running, hundreds of troops fighting for victory, the graphics rendered smooth and crystal clear. 

Sound: 7.5
Like many games, the sounds are well done. The voice-recordings in the interface help bring you into the world. The background music and combat noises help keep you there.

Difficulty: Medium/High
There is a bit of a learning curve in Imperial Glory. Players have to keep track of diplomatic and economic alliances. They also have to juggle resources to keep their armies in the field. Imperial Glory is fun, but to play at the highest levels a fine degree of finesse is required. 

Concept: 8.0
There are many games in the historical-strategy genre. Imperial Glory builds on those that have gone before and brings its own innovations. There are so many options for players to explore that there will always be something new and exciting for gamers to enjoy.

Multiplayer: 8.0
Facing an AI is fun, but the real thrill comes from facing a human blessed with cunning and creativity. It also adds a new layer of fun to the game. Instead of dealing with the generic diplomatic factors you also have to consider when another player will choose to move against you..

Overall: 8.0
Imperial Glory is an entertaining game. The graphics, gameplay, and concept are all well done. There is a bit of a learning curve, but players ease into the complex areas of the game. The mix of turn-based and real-time strategy form a winning strategy. Historical leaders had to deal with “time delay” as their messages raced across the surface of the globe. That feeling is captured well in the turn-based segments. When the time comes for battle, though, the real-time combat engine brings combat to players in stunning detail.


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