I love Paradox games, which is why it pains me to pan this one. Clocking in 200 hours with the likes of a Crusader Kings
or a Europa
game is easy for me to do, but at the 18th hour mark I decided this is simply a flawed game concept. The problem is that the game engine that Paradox uses so well covering their other grand strategy games does not scale very well when applied to the limited time frame of a Napoleon era game
. Nowhere is this better seen than in the process of battles. The somewhat generalized battle system may be fine for a game that covers hundreds of years, but a game that only covers decades demands a more involved/detailed battle system. They make an attempt by allowing you to choose battle tactics for example, but you never get the feel for the difference as the battle zips by, typical in Paradox games. Napoleon's never ending pursuit for the definitive battle never feels fully realized. The player is left wanting more once the battle engages. The game desperately needed a sub system - or mini game if you will - that allows the player to engage in some tactical choices in the battles. In this way the building of the army and the choices you made in unit structures feels more important. And honestly, some of the other things so important and necessary in a long time frame game just seems like a distraction here. The diplomacy and coalition building system holds promise, but in practice seemed more tedious to me than fun or interesting. Once again, the engine that makes history dabbling sandbox play fun just does not scale as well in a game covering less historical time.
I really hope they take another shot at the era but next time take the time to design or better modify the game engine to better reflect the uniqueness of the simulation.