Title: Imperial Glory.
Manufacturer: Pyro Studios.
Publisher: Eidos

The 19th Century was an interesting time in the history of Europe, as five great Imperial powers begin to flex their military muscles and look to expand their borders.

This is the setting for the game Imperial Glory for the PC.

It is not easy to produce a strategy game these days, at least not since last year's excellent Rome: Total War.

The expectations of gamers are high, not just for a great cerebral challenge, but also top gameplay and graphics to match. Luckily Imperial Glory manages to deliver on all fronts.

It lets you choose between Britain, France, Austria, Prussia or Russia and gives you the aim of becoming Europe's premier superpower.

War and peace

The game itself is split into two main parts: the turn-based overview map, where you can see all the political, military and commercial goings-on across Europe; and the real-time 3D action, for when battle is joined.

Sail to distant shores in search of conquest
Options in the overview map are extensive, with particular attention paid to diplomacy. It is possible to make and break all kinds of treaties, as well as forming alliances or declaring war.

Plus it is very easy to keep track of what the other nations - of which there are many in addition to the five empires - think of you, meaning that you tend to feel very much in the thick of things right from the start.

As with most games of this type, there is a technology tree which governs how your Empire develops - basically which buildings and units you get to construct, and when. That tree is split into four parts and this forces you to decide between military, political, industrial or commercial advances.

Sometimes one or more combine, but on the whole you need a clear idea of where you are headed in order to maximise your resources.

Historical battles

But the best laid plans in the turn-based section of the game will mean nothing if you cannot win your military battles.

Thankfully the 3D action section is straightforward and intuitive, with the usual set of advantages and drawbacks applying to the usual types of units.

For example musketeers are great at firing from range, but not so good at melee combat.

Overall there are still some tweaks that need to be made, though they are fairly minor. Being spammed with commercial treaties which just do not benefit you is one, but after a while you do get used to it.

And as well as the single player campaigns, there are plenty of historical battles to play through as well as online play too, meaning the game represents pretty good value.

Imperial Glory might not convince the most hardcore of strategy fans, but it does move along at a good pace and should get you coming back for more.

Imperial Glory for the PC is out now.

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