Take on the Peninsular Campaign, based on the intense conflict that raged over the Spanish Peninsula between 1811 and 1814. Choose one of the three nations at war – France, Great Britain or Spain – and lead your campaign across an independent map featuring 32 new controllable regions.
Turn the tide of war with the Coalition Battle Pack, which introduces the Battle of Friedland, the pivotal moment when Napoleon crushed Russia’s attempt to contain him.
Build an unstoppable force with Heroes of the Napoleonic Wars and the Imperial Eagle Pack, which together add over 20 legendary and elite new units.
Total War: NAPOLEON Definitive Edition offers hundreds and hundreds of hours of absorbing gameplay and every bit of content made for the game.
Napoleon’s Total War is a peculiar game. It’s a game where you engage in epic warfare, fighting battles with thousands of soldiers. Musket fire rages in the battlefield, dense smoke covering the atmosphere of the battlefield. Drums being sounded amid cavalry charging across the battlefield, lancers crushing soldiers that are unlucky to have not been placed in a square formation. A square formation was the single most effective tactic used by infantry of all nations present in the Napoleonic Wars to combat cavalry. However, it could be broken with cannon fire. This game encompasses the Napoleonic Era, focusing on the life of Napoleon from his first victory at Toulan against the British, till his most infamous defeat that defined Europe’s history for a generation: Waterloo, or in French, Mont St Jeans.
Napoleon’s Total War arrived as a direct sequel to Empire Total War in 2009. Empire Total War is the precursor to this game, both in terms of mechanics and time periods. Empire Total War was not CA’s most successful launch, receiving multiple bugs and launch issues. This was the franchise’s first time, after Medieval II Total War, that a game like Empire was being released in Steam. While the campaign map’s length was praised, its province structuring and technological advancements that were present were bloated. Empire had many excellent mechanics though: political structure, naval battles and trading regions. However, the AI wasn’t properly developed both in campaign and battle AI. Since then, Napoleon improved many of these aspects. But much felt that the standalone game of Napoleon’s Total War was more like an expansion than a full game. And I agree. Napoleon Total War doesn’t have an enormous map, and it doesn’t encompass the world setting, which I think was a very missed opportunity.
The ending of Empire Total War in 1799 puts you roughly in Napoleon’s tutorial, starting in 1793 when you start the game. You then progress to Italy, with scripted cinematics and orchestral music reflecting the time. You play as Napoleon liberating Northern Italy from Austrian rule. Once that’s done, you then travel to create an alternate history of Napoleon’s failed campaign in Egypt against the Ottomans.
It’s an enjoyable campaign, with some immersive music. However, its map range is limited. I think the Egyptian Campaign if properly expanded upon, would have been set for a great alternate history of Napoleon. What if Napoleon had stayed in the service of the Ottomans, for example, and help rebuild the Ottoman Empire? Or what if Napoleon had established Egypt under French rule and basically become the new Alexander the Great? Remember, Napoleon during this timeframe was a charismatic leader that people of all faiths would have followed him. Napoleon lost Egypt because he did not have a single, apparent goal in his mind. That is really why the Egyptian Campaign, although successful at first, was lost. He won battles, but he did not win a war. Only Napoleon could defeat Napoleon. Only Ceasar could defeat Ceasar. Only Hannibal could defeat Hannibal.
Europe is no surprise. After witnessing two epic periods of history, you now face a third one. The big wrestling arena of a continent that has been at war with each since the fall of the Roman Empire and its conversion to Christianity. The power and alliances of the old blocks of the 18th century are crumbling away for a new Emperor to take the throne. Napoleon, Emperor of Europe. An man birthed by his passion to bring enlightenment to Europe. A man that was surrounded by bitter and hostile enemies that feared the spread of the Revolution’s ideals. Napoleon was quite progressive compared to the regressive monarchs of Austria, Russia and Prussia, and Britain. That doesn’t excuse the fact that Napoleon, like Hannibal and Ceasar, were men of many flaws. Ceasar succeeded where Hannibal and Napoleon didn’t in the fact he knew how to win a war. Napoleon and Hannibal, though they were successful at winning battles, and sometimes almost winning wars, that ended in the destruction of their great nations to an extent. Of course, this is just history. But the European Campaign has well constructed scripted narrative events. Also exceptional artwork that immerses you into the period.
The European Campaign offers you as the player, playing Napoleon’s France, the ability to conquer Austria, Prussia and Russia. You can succeed where he didn’t. You can also liberate factions, and if you play as France, my first aim is to defeat the Austrians first. Then defeat Prussia. Liberate Warsaw from the Russians, and you will have the first contention of what truly happened of a powerful alliance that Napoleon and Alexander I had, which led it to its ultimate decline. You can also recruit Polish troops are by far some of the best units in Napoleon’s roster. You can play divide and rule, you can threaten and attack. The diplomatic options are extensive. The armies of Napoleon are on scale by twenty units.
Moving onwards, the campaign AI isn’t exactly a paragon of excellent AI. It is serviceable, but not that great. You can play modifications such as Darthmod, which changes the AI and adds a ton of new units. I’ll leave that for now. The battles in Napoleon Total War resemble the stylistic oil paintings that you will regularly see in Napoleonic paintings. But you say, when I play battles, it doesn’t feel like it. During the deployment stage, set up your infantry and cavalry on your flanks. You need a good range for your cannon to fire. Press start, and THEN witness the magic of the battles of Napoleon Total War. Within minutes, cannon fire will rip your infantry apart as they walk through open grass. Your cavalry will charge at the enemy cavalry, great battles will occur, rain will pour down, musket fire will blaze on the battlefield. That’s when the superb stuff happens. You’ll fight battles where you face off against multiple armies, and you will have to fight with your very last.
That said, Napoleon is very easy to grasp, including the mechanics of battle and gameplay. If you like the Napoleonic period, this is one I would recommend. However, the battle AI isn’t the best, and it never forms a straight and coherent line battle as depicted in screenshots so much. However, with modifications you can change this. Looking at the DLC of this game, it is mostly just one brilliant campaign expansion which was the Peninsular DLC. You get to play as the French, trying to crush Spanish Resistance, while you can also play as Wellington, and defeat the weakened French whose forces are too stretched out. That had an excellent immersive style. You could really feel this period, and realise that what held Napoleon was not Russia, but Spain.
Russia decimated his grand army that Napoleon had built over many years, but Spain was the center where most of his best and experienced troops were off fighting against the British. After the Russian disaster, Napoleon could not call on his troops from Spain. I really feel like that if Napoleon hadn’t invaded Russia, and had instead marched across to Spain with his Grand Armee, Wellington would not have stood a chance against him. It just feels like that many of Napoleon’s decisions were simple errors which cost him enormously.
That’s what I love about this game. You change history. You need not follow Napoleon’s direct path. You can do anything you want. The Napoleonic Wars set the path for Europe’s history to WW1. It led to a unified Prussia which would then culminate in the event of the Prussians defeating the French in the 1870 war. A Bonapartist Europe would have meant something completely different. Napoleon winning Waterloo wouldn’t have made much of an overall difference, but he deserved to win that battle in some respects. The fact is, the unit variety in this game is amazing. You play with so many factions, you can even play as the Coalition nations against Napoleon, or you can change that history. The multiplayer aspect of this game is perhaps one of the game’s most under-rated features. There’s so many factions to play with, and Napoleon’s battle emphasis terrain. Your troops shooting at the enemy can waste their fire if they’re on a low ground and the enemy’s on the high ground. They fill the battle maps with tactics enabling you to do much. You can play from 1 to 1 to 4 vs 4. How you succeed of course, and win, is up to your and team mates. I really wish Napoleon had a bigger map, and that we could have had more factions.
Ultimately, this game is a love letter to the legend of Napoleon Bonaparte. One man that changed Europe’s history forever, outliving his enemies through his most infamous defeat known as Waterloo. There is much to do, raiding, besieging, and blockading ports. The naval battles are some of the best in this game. But this game offers you more than just following Napoleon’s path. You can become something better than that. You can change history. It is a fun and challenging game. There are no shortage of good mods that you can get from ModDB. Overall, this game is one of the most under-rated games of all time. It is an excellent recreation of the Napoleonic Era, which is quite forgotten these days. I hope you enjoy this game as much as I have played it since launch in 2010. A fantastic game!
There are three mods that really transform Napoleon into something else. First up, you have the WW1 mod which really does a good and valiant effort in transforming the mechanics of Napoleon Total War into WW1 tactics. Have a look!
- The Great War Mod: https://www.moddb.com/mods/the-great-war-mod
2) Next up is the American Civil War Mod, known as North and South, which transforms the mod into this setting. It is battle playable only.
Here is the mod: https://www.moddb.com/mods/north-south-acw-the-american-civil-war
3) The Anglo-Zulu War Mod. You guessed it right. The Anglo-Zulu War mod delivers on exactly this period. I’ll leave this video here so you get an idea 🙂