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Publisher: Feral Interactive    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: 10.4    RAM: 512 MB    Hard Disk: 4096 MB    DVD-ROM    Graphics: 64 MB VRAM

Imperial Glory
January 26, 2007 | Joshua Russell

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Imperial Glory could be a great turn-based strategy game. It could take us cinematically inside the Napoleonic wars, let us command a myriad of troops and strategically outwit the enemy, and challenge us with the management of the resources of an empire. It could even do all that while grabbing your attention, keeping you immersed in the game with all of its stunning visuals and intense battles, and difficult strategic choices. It could, but it really doesn’t. Now don’t get me wrong, Imperial Glory is a fun game. Just not that fun.

Every time I find something great about Imperial Glory, there’s something else about the game that makes me want to scream profanities and stomp around my bedroom. But my bedroom is very small, and I might really disturb the neighbors, so I’ve managed to find alternate methods to manage my pent up rage. I’ll get in to all that in a little bit. Right now I’m faced with the age old question: do you want to hear the good news, or the bad news first? As a quick solution, I’ll write the good first, and label it “The Good.” Then I’ll write the bad, appropriately labeled “The Bad,” and you may read the two in whichever order your moral compass dictates.

The Good
There are four game modes in Imperial Glory. Campaign mode is the most involved of them, and it is very similar to Risk. There is a Quick Battle mode, where you can fight as any nation on any territory on the map, land or sea. You can chose to win by taking battle objectives, or by obliterating the enemy army. There is also a Historical Battle mode and Multiplayer. I’ll get into those later.

Campaign mode in Imperial Glory is probably where you will spend most of your time, and it is where most of depth of the game comes out. It’s like an ogre, there’s layers to it. It gives you the choice to control one of five nations from the Napoleonic era: Great Britain, France, Austria, Prussia, or Russia. Each nation has their advantages and disadvantages, so the level of challenge to some degree is decided by which country you choose to begin with. Great Britain has a great economy, navy, and produces the most research points in the beginning. Gotta love those diligent British. However their military is weak. The rest of the nations have strong militaries, and weaker economies, navies, and research production, Prussia being the absolute weakest. Also take into account how many territories each nation starts out with (France and Russia have the most), which is very important for resource production and military development, and how many wharves they have (Great Britain wins there), important not only for trade, but also to have a strong navy. Some nations also begin the game with alliances, which can be helpful while you are small and weak.

The campaign can be set up to determine victory in one of two ways: score or total victory. If you chose to win by score, you must try to have the best trade network, biggest army, most research advances, most territories, and so on. All of these factors translate into glory points, and whoever has the most after 41 years wins the game. 41 years here is apparently an arbitrary number, since the Napoleonic Wars really only lasted from 1789 to roughly 1815. However 41 years do give you plenty of time to rack up the score. I should mention that one turn equals one month, so there are 12 turns in a year. The other way to win, total victory, simply means you have to take over the entire map any way you can, with no time limit. What would a game called “Imperial Glory” be without good old-fashioned imperialistic world domination?

In campaign mode Imperial Glory gives you what you should expect. You are in charge of resources, namely Gold (used for just about everything), Resource (for building buildings), Food (to support your army), and Population (this one is obvious), you can build different buildings on your territories to increase their production values, you establish trade by land and by sea, you develop your army and navy, and you either try to avoid war, or you cause it. With the difficulty on medium you will rarely be attacked, and the AI is for the most part tame. If you kick it up to hard, though, you’ll have yourself a challenge. Countries will back-stab you at inopportune moments, they’ll form coalitions against you, they’ll weaken you by overpricing trades and treaties, and their armies have pretty good strategy. Each of your countries produce research points, and there is a tree of advances you can research to strengthen your economy or military. There are even special advances you can research depending on what form of government you decide to use, so by all means, be a totalitarian dictator, if only for the neat bonuses. For example, as an absolute monarchy, you will be able to build resistance cells in your opponents’ assimilated countries to try and free them from their tyrannous rulers. I love me some covert unconventional warfare.


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