The history of early 19th century Europe is a fascinatingly turbulent and bloody one. The rivalries and relationships of the various defined states of Europe had been crystallised by the preceding Medieval and Renaissance eras. As a new age of industrialisation dawned, the technologies of the day ushered in a new period of competitive expansion as the established European countries began to vie for nothing less than domination of the entire world.
Eidos’ Imperial Glory drops the player right into the middle of this colourful and reckless period. The chief preoccupation of early 19th century was the rampaging of the brilliant upstart Napoleon, leader of a nation buoyed by recent constitutional change, the first in the continent to undergo a true and successful popular revolution. Naturally, the conflict with France becomes the central theme in the game, though the imperial destinies of all of the playable nations: Britain, Russia, France, Prussia and Austria inform its direction.
Like in many games that offer both empire macro-management and battlefield tactical modes, the gameplay in Imperial Glory is split into two distinct styles: turn based control over the broader strokes by which your Empire is created, tempered with real time control over the land and naval battles in the game, all of which are sympathetically rendered in full 3D. On land, fully interactive battle maps allow you to make best use of the terrain – you’ll gain defensive advantages if you use features like boulder fields, buildings and forests to entrench your troops. The game also features a weather system that will affect your army’s ability to fight: the sweltering plains of the Spanish Peninsular are a very different environment to the icy expanses of deepest Russia.
Historically accurate weaponry, manoeuvres and tactics, which differ from nation to nation, bring you closer to the mindset and experience of your chosen people. There are sea battles too, and you can use your navy to block or facilitate trade routes and protect your interests. Engage enemy armadas with your own selection of vessels, and capture ships to reuse for your own purposes if you wish.
The management model is subtly nuanced giving you sway over war, diplomacy, politics, commerce and technology. As you expand your influence over 51 provinces and 31 maritime regions you can develop as well, with over 70 advancements to develop towards.
As you’d expect there’s a multiplayer mode available too, and you can test you and your friend’s generalship skills over internet or LAN. Consider your next move carefully: do you have what it takes to change the course of history?