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Posted on Sep 20, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Napoleonic Total War II – Game Review (PC)

By Steve MacGregor

It all sounds like the recipe for a great wargame, but unfortunately even the Borodino scenario is not without its flaws. To work round the weak AI, each phase of the battle is heavily scripted with the player controlling only a few units. This means that the bulk of the forces on the battlefield perform their own, pre-scripted behaviours regardless of what you do. Although several of the actions you are called upon to perform are critical, the fact that the enemy and your allies often ignore your presence makes it hard to feel involved. Replay value is limited, partly because you can only play the game from the French side and partly because the AI-controlled units behave in precisely the same way each time. Unfortunately, the same AI problems apply to the Custom Battles and Battle Editor functions in the game. Several maps are provided, and players can create their own single player games, but these are rarely satisfying.

Russian Dragoons break a French square.

The Lordz are clear about the limitations in single player mode and have said that NTW2 is best experienced as a multiplayer game. There is no prospect of a single-player campaign being developed in the future, though the Lordz tell me that they hope to release additional battles and/or scenarios “in the near future” covering the Russian campaign. The Lordz will also be releasing additions for the mod which will include new factions such as the Anglo Dutch and Prussian forces. There is no firm word yet, but it is to be hoped that they may release a Waterloo scenario and perhaps also Quatre-bras, Ligny, and Plancenoit. There may also be a multiplayer campaign.

Russian Ulhans survey the battlefield at Borodino.


Sound within the game is good, with appropriately meaty musketry and cannon fire and with many other incidental sounds like the scraping of ramrods in muskets as troops reload, the jingle of harnesses on horses and the thunder of hooves as cavalry charge. Even the music is pretty good. Don’t know about you, but usually one of my first visits to the options screen in a new game is to turn the music off. I didn’t do it here though. The music has been composed for the game and comprises several suitably martial tunes that fit the period.


I was intensely frustrated by this game. Not because it’s bad, but because it is so nearly very, very good indeed. The whole thing appeared on schedule, installs and runs without a hitch, and is slickly and professionally presented. How many commercially produced games can that be said about? The graphics are also magnificent, the attention to detail is unsurpassed, and the units move and behave in a believable way. The Napoleonic battlefield as presented here is a living, breathing place. Unfortunately for me, the lack of a viable single-player game is a show-stopper. I wasn’t able to try the game in multiplayer, but I have no doubt that on-line battles would be highly entertaining. However, these will only ever be single, isolated battles. For me, the meat of any strategy game is the campaign, the ability to build an army and see it develop and improve with time. So individual battles only become significant within the wider context of a campaign. On-line battles, no matter how interesting or well presented, just don’t engage me sufficiently to keep me coming back.

Although it is free, this mod is better in many ways than some commercial games. If it included a campaign (or even a workable set of single player battles) and was sold as a full priced game, I would buy it without hesitation. I hope that the Lordz don’t choose to focus on modding the forthcoming Medieval: Total War 2 at the cost of further developments on this mod. If and when the proposed scripted single-player battles and additional factions become available this may yet be a viable single-player game. Even as it stands it is a monument to the dedication and commitment of a talented group of modders and is worth downloading to enjoy the multiplayer game or just to marvel at the look and feel of the battlefield. The good people at the Lordz are hoping to attract commercial backing to allow them to create a Napoleonic era game. Judging by this effort, let’s hope they get it because they might just go on to create something very special indeed. Watch this space!

Guard Polish Lancers pursue fleeing Russian militia.

Armchair General Rating: 52% (single player) 82% (multiplayer)

20/60 — Gameplay (single player)

50/60 — Gameplay (multiplayer)
18/20 — Graphics
08/10 — Sound
06/10 — Documentation and Technical

Pros: A slick, professional, bug free mod that can be easily installed and played. Fantastic graphics and attention to detail. It’s free.

Cons: No campaign. At the moment, very little to challenge the single player.

The bottom line

An essential download for multiplayer Napoleonic era players. Not so much for the single player as yet, but worth it just to experience the loving detail with which the Napoleonic era has been recreated.


The Lordz are looking for additional people to help in creating Napoleonic games. If you think you have what it takes, why not e-mail Lord Zimoa of Flanders? ( )

About the author

Steve MacGregor lives in the Highlands of Scotland. To while away the long Winter evenings he has been playing computer wargames and simulations since 1992. When it’s not dark he rides a stupidly fast motorcycle and flies aerobatic gliders over the Scottish mountains.

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  1. where can i down load this game?

  2. i am waiting for it