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Empire: Total War

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Empire: Total War is the 5th major game in the Total War Series developed by the Creative Assembly.
The game was released in March 2009 and published by Sega. It is set in the 18th century and includes features such as the Industrial Revolution, America's struggle for independence and the colonization of India. For the first time in a Total War game, players had the ability to play real-time 3D naval battles.

Empire was the first game in the series to use Valve Corporation's Steamworks DRM and achievements system, thereby requiring Steam to be played. It was also the first to use Total War Engine 3 which included the Warscape Engine.


Empire: Total War is a game based on the musketry warfare that revolutionized how the battles were fought. The insertion of gun powder and the changes that it brought is one of the hallmarks of this game. The changes in social structures, a period of revolutions, of turmoil. The span of the campaign is the turbulent 18th century, a period that shaped great empires with the colonization of new continents and the stabilization and growth of a global economy.

Empire: Total War introduces many changes, the most valuable being; the addition of a new type of battlefield, water; a new diplomacy system; a complete new technology system; and a great review of the economic system. Those changes compliment the grand scope of the game; major naval battles, the hardships of battle using line infantry, the age of enlightenment, colonies and empires that the sun never goes down on. All those changes only add to the immersion of the game, seeing as how you can go to battle with a aristocratic empire and suddenly fight a renewed republic with troops ready to defend their acquired freedom.

Another feature that had been developed for Empire: Total War was the decentralisation of provinces, adding greater realism in that many features, from production to technological advancement, would now occur outside of the capital of the province for the first time in a Total War game.

General Information

There were several innovative changes in this title compared to earlier games in the Total War series.

Campaign Map

The campaign map is one of the first noted changes in this game. It expands the European centric focus of the first Total War series (the exception is the Shogun: Total War and the Americas Campaign in Medieval 2: Total War Kingdoms Expansion), and this expansion covers simultaneously, the European theatre (which also includes the North African coast and parts of the Middle East), the Indian subcontinent, and the Eastern half of North America, Central America, Northern South America and the Caribbean islands, with trading theatres on the Eastern South American coast, West African Coast, Ivory Coast, and Pacific Islands. This expansion is one of the most uncontroversial ones within this game.

The new campaign map offers new possible strategies to the player, being it with local expansion or the foundation of colonies in diverse theatres of action. Aside from that, the economic complexity is also affected by this major change, with the addition of a new feature called Trade nodes.

The trade nodes add immersion to the game, by allowing the player to acquire and trade resources via merchant ships at specific theatres in the map, those are: South America, West Africa, East Africa and Indonesia. This simulates the enormous growth in trade that is a hallmark of the scope of this period, with bustling sails reaching far corners of the world with the purpose of trading/colonizing. These theatres offer a great economic boost to whoever controls them, with rich resources like ivory, spice and sugar.

This adds to a much-neglected part of the Total War series, the need to maintain the dominion of the seas. The pirates now pose a great threat, leading to what was a bustling economy to a ruined empire in a few turns. Another major component to the now need for a great armada is that the trade routes which appeared in previous games are interactive, leading to options of not only blockading the ports put to hinder the enemy economy through state piracy giving you the goods that were flowing through that route.

The resources inside the provinces have now a closer resemblance to Rome: Total War than it had to Medieval 2: Total War, since the latter needs a merchant for the exploitation of the resources, similarities aside this is an expansion on the concept of the province system for that the building who is responsible for the harvesting is not centralized in a capital, but it is spread in the territory itself. This change is more visible in the new town system.

This new town system involves a capital and several subsidiary towns, thus removing some of the importance of the capital and spreading along the whole province. The new slave towns are born from the growth of the population in several villages that are already defined in number different to which territory. Those towns can be configured in four basic towns: schools (used for research of new technologies), manufacturing plants (factories that have several types: textile, smelters and pottery the choice is not up to the player, churches and entertainment buildings.

This adds to military strategy as well since the control of those towns is responsible not only for the income, but for the general happiness of the province, thus raiding towns is a useful tactic and preferred by the AI.

Naval Battles

-See main article: Naval Battles (ETW)

Empire: Total War was the first Total War game to have fully 3D real-time naval battles. In the previous games they were just automatically resolved on the campaign map. This feature was a major focus of ETW's marketing campaign, as naval battles are the symbol of 18th century warfare.


A game based in the century of lights can't cast aside the revolution that happened in several fields of human knowledge and perception. Empire: Total War brings to the table a new form of supremacy; technology. The 18th century was marked by several changes to humanity as a whole, bringing to light several concepts that marked and constructed the postmodern world. The tech tree is divided into three major branches, being those: Military, Economics, Governance.

This is one of the most relevant aspects of the game, leading to one empire being considerably weaker than another just because one has the technological edge over the other. Research also leads to changes in the way the population behaves and perceives the government, an absolute monarchy is going to have much trouble sustaining itself in the late stages of the campaign, due to the public unrest several technologies generate.


-See main article: Empire: Total War Factions

More than fifty factions are included in the game, 36 of which are playable. The other factions cannot be unlocked and have to be modded into the game. The eleven playable factions from the beginning are:

Playable Factions


There are hundreds of unique units in ETW including Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery and Ships. For wiki pages about each unit see the Empire: Total War Units Category

Battlefield Gameplay

The introduction of the naval warfare was a major addition to the series. This new and unexplored battlefield was plagued with problems at the game launch. Pathfinding errors made navigation difficult and real-world strategies used by admirals from the past didn't work correctly. Land battles suffered from AI problems as well, which resulted in a commander to inevitably win a battle unless faced with overwhelming opposition. Patch 1.6 has helped to alleviate these launch issues.


ETW multiplayer was supposed to be revolutionary with the addition of a brand new feature, the multiplayer online campaign. Aside that we can also highlight that with the integration with steam the game could get a ladder system, giving players the motivation to pursue constant online battles.

The Multiplayer online campaign only reached beta phase, and thus is not integrated into the game. Although it was fully implemented in the later Napoleon: Total War with the Hot Seat feature being discarded in this title.

Downloadable Content

The Warpath Campaign was released as downloadable content in October 2009. The campaign focuses on the battles of the Europeans and Native Americans throughout most of North and Central America. It expanded the North American territories and featured 5 new playable factions: Iroquois, Cherokee, Huron, Pueblo and Plains Nations. New researchable technologies were also added, along with the new scout and shaman agents and new faction-specific objectives. Other DLC's were; Elite Units of the East | Elite Units of America | Elite Units of the West| Special Units & Bonus Content

In November 2018 Empire: Total War was upgraded to the Definitive Edition meaning that all existing and new purchasers can access all of the DLC free of charge.

System Requirements

Minimum System Requirements:

Supported OS: Windows® XP Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista™ or Windows 7™
Processor: 2.4 GHz Intel® Pentium® or greater or AMD® Athlon® equivalent CPU, with SSE2 instruction
Memory: 1 GB RAM (XP,) 2 GB RAM (Vista™)
Graphics: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible hardware accelerated video card with shader version 2.0 support, 256 MB video memory
Display: Minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels
Sound: Directx9.0c compatible sound card
Hard Drive: 15 GB free hard disk space formatted as NTFS
Peripherals: Windows compatible mouse and keyboard

Recommended Requirements:

Supported OS: Windows® XP Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista™ or Windows 7™
Processor: 2.4 GHz Intel® Core 2 Duo® or greater or AMD® Athlon64® equivalent CPU, with SSE2 instruction
Memory: 3 GB RAM (XP,) 4 GB RAM (Vista™)
Graphics: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible hardware accelerated video card with shader version 3.0 support, 512 MB video memory
Display: Minimum screen resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels
Sound: Directx9.0c compatible sound card
Hard Drive: 15 GB free hard disk space formatted as NTFS
Peripherals: Windows compatible mouse and keyboard
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