You’ll enjoy going into battle with Napoleon: Total War

The Total War series has always been one of my favorites, starting with Rome: Total War way back in 2004 (where have the past 12 years gone??). Like many Apple loyalists, my patience deserted me and I played the series first through Boot Camp, and then Parallels. 

There always seemed to be something hindering the gameplay, however -- either through lagging gameplay, poor graphics or any number of other issues inherent with going through one operating system to get to another. I was excited when Feral Interactive brought Rome: Total War to the Mac, and even more so with Napoleon.

The game takes place (as you might have guessed) during the Napoleonic era. This covered the years 1799-1815, ending with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. If there was a better period for the Total War series to cover, I can’t think of one. It was a time of massive armies mixed with technological changes in the way wars were fought. While I was afraid that Napoleon: Total War might not be able to do this era justice, my fears turned out to be happily unfounded. 

The graphics are fantastic, as you can see individual expressions on the soldier’s faces. There’s nothing quite like being able to zoom in on your soldiers as they charge an enemy position with bayonets leveled, or watching as massed cavalry smash into fleeing infantry.  

The battlefields are incredibly detailed, providing cover for both the defending forces as well as attackers looking to get as close to the enemy as possible without being seen. The campaign map is beautifully done and easy to maneuver (something I felt was missing from the expansive Empire Total War). As for managing your economy and cities, not much has changed from Empire. One of the bigger challenges is maintaining the very necessary multiple large armies, which can get expensive in a hurry.
The Good

The graphics leave little to be desired, and much to be admired

Smooth gameplay. I didn’t encounter any errors or glitches, especially when compared to playing on parallels.

Hours upon hours of replay value -- you won’t be getting bored with this game anytime soon 

The Bad

As with previous Total War games, the AI can be a bit dense. For example, I was once able to mow down and rout most of an enemy army (commanded by the little Corsican himself, no less!) by simply massing my artillery and letting them charge straight into a hail of grapeshot. The AI needing a strategy refresher course was really my only complaint for this game, as battles usually weren’t much of a challenge if the numbers were anywhere close to equal.

The Ugly

None. I just love a good Clint Eastwood reference.

This game is a must have for real time as well as turned based strategy fans, and is well worth the $29.99 price tag. The Total War series is definitely one of the best to come to the Mac in years.

Napoleon: Total War requires Mac OS X 10.7.5 or higher and costs 29.95.