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Here is a strategy game for history fans. Empire: Total War is almost like SIMS but it’s a nation you build. You need a strong economy if you wish to keep the wheels of power well-greased and rolling. It’s set in the early modern period of the 18th century, automatically making it epic in scale. There are 12 competing nations, and a whole host of minor nations to compete against and conquer. An all-new feature for Empire is the naval combat. Unlike land-based battles where unit speed and effectiveness are based on the army’s physical strength and morale, wars at sea are heavily reliant on the status of your ship. Naval battles aren’t quite as thrilling as land wars, but it certainly has its moments.

The basic structure of the game remains as before, with only small but significant changes made in the game. While Total War veterans may initially get a feeling of deja vu, the alterations do make themselves more obvious in the long term. The graphics engine is revamped, the animated campaign map is given an impressive amount of detail, and the interface, even more refined. All these improvements, however, come at a cost: slothful loading times and a fairly colossal install weight at around the 15GB mark.

Still, we can’t deny the obvious: Empire is the best Total War installment yet. Empire is unashamedly deep, complex, and hugely time-consuming. - Marc Celis

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