Better Late Than Never Reviews: Cossacks.

If you are one of the few people who seem to have read one of my reviews (Seriously, where's the attention!) then you may be a tad confused. I'm doing the traditional style for this review, this is because my prior reviews don't get too much feedback and I'm starting to think that it may have been my old style and layout (Or the fact that I review games no one is interested in) which caused it. Any who, feel free to comment and tell me if this style is better over my previous ones (See links at the bottom).

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Cossacks -

Platforms Reviewed On - PC
Platforms Available On - PC
Released - 2001
Price - 3.99 GBP

Cossacks is a series created by the developers of STALKER and its subsequent games, GSC Gameworld - a Ukrainian developer. This game seems to be little heard of outside of its dedicated fan base, but then again it is nine years old - released in 2001. I will be reviewing the main game Cossacks: European Wars along with its two expansions, Back to War and the Art of War.

So what is Cossacks? Well it is an RTS game for the PC which for me is one of my favourite genres. So most of you know will know the basics of RTS games - build a base, build units, attack the enemy, it's usually pretty simple. Cossacks, whilst not straying from the formula too much, manages to feel one of a kind in its own right.

Firstly the setting itself, it is set across the 17th and 18th centuries. This means pike men, musketeers and lots of horse riding. I have had much more fun playing in this setting then the typical WW2 or futuristic options of other games. You can play as a variety of European nations, 20 to be exact. "Wow that is a grand number of options!" I hear you say, "But surely they are all just the same?" Well you would be wrong. The 20 nations on offer range from England, France and Prussia to Switzerland, Algeria and Russia - with most things in-between - and let me tell you, they all play differently. Each nation has its own unique architecture, which is beautifully rendered with 2D graphics and sprites and its own unique units or vessels. Part of the fun of Cossacks is playing a different nation and seeing what it has to offer and what units suit it best.

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Now I mentioned briefly the 2D graphics, but if you have dismissed this game already because of that, let me try and persuade you otherwise. Sure the graphics aren't 3D, but this does not detract from the gameplay or overall experience at all. All the units look amazing, and every single one animates and reacts perfectly. The buildings to are unique across all 20 nations as previously said, they are stunningly detailed and the maps in general are a joy to look at and, more importantly, play.

So if the setting and graphics are good, what of the gameplay? After all, that is what makes or breaks a game. Cossacks is big, really big. Imagine Warcraft 3, "Ok quite a few units here - could be a bit more", now think of Age of Empires "Well this is a lot of units at once!" and finally any of the Total War games, "Surely this must be the pinnacle?" Well I can safely say that Cossacks smashes down those ideas and allows you to have upwards of 8000 units. Actually scrap that the unit cap is unlimited with the expansion, not that you would reach 8000 normally anyway. You make think that this would lead to immense problems of micro-management, but it really doesn't. All the units are individual, that is to say they are not automatically grouped together after construction. So thousands of units on the battle field makes for quite a spectacle, and they are easy to control as well. You can group them together into formations (for example, 200 Musketeers grouped together under a drummer and a commander) to act as one entity. This means managing your vast, throbbing army is a breeze as you can easily select each formation from the top left of the screen. The battles themselves also require far more tactics than most games; it is not a matter of simply building masses of troops and rushing all at once. You will need to employ the use of cannons, cavalry and footmen together successfully to break the enemy as well as deciding on formations to maximize firepower potential. Nothing has ever felt better in an RTS then obliterating the outskirts of an enemy town with cannon fire and then charging in with a cavalry brigade - you will also be pleased to hear that all nations, units and buildings are historically accurate.

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I'm not going to lie; there are some issues with the game. For one the path finding can often be a bit touchy with peasants having a tendency to become trapped next to walls or around hills, it is often frustrating to see a perfectly coordinated attack fall apart due to your pike men becoming trapped in an endless loop of trying to navigate a hill.
But the issues are negated by the brilliant gameplay, the maps are varied too and their size is worth a mention, it will take hours on the largest map setting to send a peasant form one side to the other. All the grandness and epic amounts of units add up to create a truly unique and terrifically fun experience. There are plenty of starting options and random maps to play with loads of nations, units and tactics. Another point worth mentioning is the sound. Cannon fire echoes masterfully as you move the camera away from the action, and the gunshots of musketeers and dragoons creates a roar as they mow down the incoming infantry, as does the sound of the massive ships sailing to your foes island.

So what have we got? A, by all accounts, unique RTS which plays as good as it looks and sounds. The battles are big and there are plenty of single player missions as well as a more than adequate multiplayer community. The game can be punishing on high difficulties, but still fun, and the missions and campaigns are challenging but enjoyable. If you want an RTS which offers something different, something... more, then Cossacks is the answer. I can't even count how many hours I have lost to this game, it is addicting and a real blast to play.

I haven't played multiplayer much, I'm not much of an online play kind of guy - but if you have this game, or get it based on my review - feel free to PM for a friendly game.

Also, 9 reviews! Hitting the big double figures soon

Thank you Liberaliter, I was looking into getting this game as I am such an avid fan of the STALKER games. Thanks a lot for the review you may have convinced me into getting it. It must be cheap right?

PayJ567:
Thank you Liberaliter, I was looking into getting this game as I am such an avid fan of the STALKER games. Thanks a lot for the review you may have convinced me into getting it. It must be cheap right?

Hell yes it is, be sure to get the two expansions. You can get them all together as the anthology real cheap, if you do feel free to hook me up for some multiplayer.

Liberaliter:

PayJ567:
Thank you Liberaliter, I was looking into getting this game as I am such an avid fan of the STALKER games. Thanks a lot for the review you may have convinced me into getting it. It must be cheap right?

Hell yes it is, be sure to get the two expansions. You can get them all together as the anthology real cheap, if you do feel free to hook me up for some multiplayer.

Yeah, it'll be around July time when I next get expendable money but I'll definitely message you when I get it. Multiplayer sounds cool.

Loved the concept of Empire: Total War, but it was a broken embarrasment (It's awesome with Darthmod Ultimate Commander, though)

Napoleon Total War was good, but not much replay value and kinda stale

THIS LOOKS EPIC

I SHALL LOOK INTO THIS FORTHWITH

I would give you "Rep" if we had such a system

Good day, kind reviewer!

GrinningManiac:
Loved the concept of Empire: Total War, but it was a broken embarrasment (It's awesome with Darthmod Ultimate Commander, though)

Napoleon Total War was good, but not much replay value and kinda stale

THIS LOOKS EPIC

I SHALL LOOK INTO THIS FORTHWITH

I would give you "Rep" if we had such a system

Good day, kind reviewer!

Why thanks :D, good to see you're not turned away by its age.

A very good review and I agree with everything.

I used to borrow this and the expansions a lot from a friend and it was my most played game at those times. It just reeks of fun. Now I may have to go and look this up in town at the weekend.
You brought back all the good memories of building armies then smashing my opponent under my boot, Liberaliter.

Sassafrass:
A very good review and I agree with everything.

I used to borrow this and the expansions a lot from a friend and it was my most played game at those times. It just reeks of fun. Now I may have to go and look this up in town at the weekend.
You brought back all the good memories of building armies then smashing my opponent under my boot, Liberaliter.

Thanks for the comment :D

This game is just plain fun due to the massive battles, defeating an enemy is far more satisfying when you outnumber them 4 to 1 xD

To be quite honest I was expecting a racist review of a Russian ethnicity; what I got instead was a well thought out and written review of a game. Dammit.

Double figures soon? That's all very well bu... I'm not gonna go there. Just a warning, be careful about writing too many reviews or you may end up like me. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but an arbitrary warning nonetheless.

Again, good review.

Stranger of Sorts:
To be quite honest I was expecting a racist review of a Russian ethnicity; what I got instead was a well thought out and written review of a game. Dammit.

Double figures soon? That's all very well bu... I'm not gonna go there. Just a warning, be careful about writing too many reviews or you may end up like me. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but an arbitrary warning nonetheless.

Again, good review.

I haven't noticed any visible defects with you xD, should I be worried now D:?

Thanks for the praise though :D

i use to play this all the time when i was younger! brings back memories!

HTID Raver:
i use to play this all the time when i was younger! brings back memories!

Good to see this game is not as obscure as I thought! I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. :D

Liberaliter:

Sassafrass:
A very good review and I agree with everything.

I used to borrow this and the expansions a lot from a friend and it was my most played game at those times. It just reeks of fun. Now I may have to go and look this up in town at the weekend.
You brought back all the good memories of building armies then smashing my opponent under my boot, Liberaliter.

Thanks for the comment :D

This game is just plain fun due to the massive battles, defeating an enemy is far more satisfying when you outnumber them 4 to 1 xD

Yeah, me and my friend decided to try and get a 10,000 strong army just for the hell of it.
We sorta feel short. By a lot. Plus we sorta ran out of time and resources.

Stranger of Sorts:
KER-SNIP

And I've just gotta ask, have you ever suffered writers block or anything similar while writing your reviews?

I've always wanted to play this game. My cousin's had a poster for it on his wall for a decade!

Sassafrass:
Yeah, me and my friend decided to try and get a 10,000 strong army just for the hell of it.
We sorta feel short. By a lot. Plus we sorta ran out of time and resources.

Yeah there is always the resource problem, it is embarrassing when you have a built a massive fleet only to have them mutiny when you run out of gold D:

firedfns13:
I've always wanted to play this game. My cousin's had a poster for it on his wall for a decade!

A poster? THAT IS AWESOME.

OMG! I play this game religiously ever since is came out and there was only ONE time that I reached over 8000 units. Personally I prefer to play as either Poland or (if I feel like a challenge) Ukraine. you might want to look into the "Imperia" mod which adds Napoleonic Era and improves slightly on AI.

DEgaurdian:
OMG! I play this game religiously ever since is came out and there was only ONE time that I reached over 8000 units. Personally I prefer to play as either Poland or (if I feel like a challenge) Ukraine. you might want to look into the "Imperia" mod which adds Napoleonic Era and improves slightly on AI.

Yeah I heard about that mod, not sure why I never got round to it. Ukraine is defnitely a harder nation to play - funny considering the developers are based there. I love playing as Poland for the cavalry and Austria for the building style :P

Liberaliter:

DEgaurdian:
OMG! I play this game religiously ever since is came out and there was only ONE time that I reached over 8000 units. Personally I prefer to play as either Poland or (if I feel like a challenge) Ukraine. you might want to look into the "Imperia" mod which adds Napoleonic Era and improves slightly on AI.

Yeah I heard about that mod, not sure why I never got round to it. Ukraine is defnitely a harder nation to play - funny considering the developers are based there. I love playing as Poland for the cavalry and Austria for the building style :P

Yeah, I love how it look when you have like few hundred of Winged Hussars charging across open plain at the enemy....epic stuff. And Ukraine has like no units. They have what? One infantry unit armed with muskets, 3 cavalry units, the light cavalry, the medium cavalry and the OMG-WTF!!-Heavy cavalry and next to no navy... Fun times playing them, at least you don't have to decide which unit upgrade first. :p

DEgaurdian:

Liberaliter:

DEgaurdian:
OMG! I play this game religiously ever since is came out and there was only ONE time that I reached over 8000 units. Personally I prefer to play as either Poland or (if I feel like a challenge) Ukraine. you might want to look into the "Imperia" mod which adds Napoleonic Era and improves slightly on AI.

Yeah I heard about that mod, not sure why I never got round to it. Ukraine is defnitely a harder nation to play - funny considering the developers are based there. I love playing as Poland for the cavalry and Austria for the building style :P

Yeah, I love how it look when you have like few hundred of Winged Hussars charging across open plain at the enemy....epic stuff. And Ukraine has like no units. They have what? One infantry unit armed with muskets, 3 cavalry units, the light cavalry, the medium cavalry and the OMG-WTF!!-Heavy cavalry and next to no navy... Fun times playing them, at least you don't have to decide which unit upgrade first. :p

I don't think they can get to the 18th century either, poor Ukrainians. Also, welcome to the Escapist! I just noticed you have recently joined.

Sassafrass:

And I've just gotta ask, have you ever suffered writers block or anything similar while writing your reviews?

Not as far as I can remember. I rarely plan them either, just sit down and type.

Liberaliter:

I haven't noticed any visible defects with you xD, should I be worried now D:?

Thanks for the praise though :D

Oh it's the stuff you don't see that's the problem. The voices tell me not to worry too much though and I can't disagree with them on this one. Not after last time...

I remember i really wanted this back in the day, but my 32mb gpu couldn't tank it.

Liberaliter:

DEgaurdian:

Liberaliter:

DEgaurdian:
OMG! I play this game religiously ever since is came out and there was only ONE time that I reached over 8000 units. Personally I prefer to play as either Poland or (if I feel like a challenge) Ukraine. you might want to look into the "Imperia" mod which adds Napoleonic Era and improves slightly on AI.

Yeah I heard about that mod, not sure why I never got round to it. Ukraine is definitely a harder nation to play - funny considering the developers are based there. I love playing as Poland for the cavalry and Austria for the building style :P

Yeah, I love how it look when you have like few hundred of Winged Hussars charging across open plain at the enemy....epic stuff. And Ukraine has like no units. They have what? One infantry unit armed with muskets, 3 cavalry units, the light cavalry, the medium cavalry and the OMG-WTF!!-Heavy cavalry and next to no navy... Fun times playing them, at least you don't have to decide which unit upgrade first. :p

I don't think they can get to the 18th century either, poor Ukrainians. Also, welcome to the Escapist! I just noticed you have recently joined.

Thx, I was around earlier watching videos and stalking through forums and only now decided to join. Another Nation that's pretty hard to play as is Algeria and Ottoman Empire. The only thing they really have going for them are archers (yay, fire arrows! ^_^).

DEgaurdian:

Liberaliter:

DEgaurdian:

Liberaliter:

DEgaurdian:
OMG! I play this game religiously ever since is came out and there was only ONE time that I reached over 8000 units. Personally I prefer to play as either Poland or (if I feel like a challenge) Ukraine. you might want to look into the "Imperia" mod which adds Napoleonic Era and improves slightly on AI.

Yeah I heard about that mod, not sure why I never got round to it. Ukraine is definitely a harder nation to play - funny considering the developers are based there. I love playing as Poland for the cavalry and Austria for the building style :P

Yeah, I love how it look when you have like few hundred of Winged Hussars charging across open plain at the enemy....epic stuff. And Ukraine has like no units. They have what? One infantry unit armed with muskets, 3 cavalry units, the light cavalry, the medium cavalry and the OMG-WTF!!-Heavy cavalry and next to no navy... Fun times playing them, at least you don't have to decide which unit upgrade first. :p

I don't think they can get to the 18th century either, poor Ukrainians. Also, welcome to the Escapist! I just noticed you have recently joined.

Thx, I was around earlier watching videos and stalking through forums and only now decided to join. Another Nation that's pretty hard to play as is Algeria and Ottoman Empire. The only thing they really have going for them are archers (yay, fire arrows! ^_^).

Who needs archers when you can run them down with sich cossacks! :D Yeah Algeria and Turkey are hard due to being technologically inferior and not being able to advance to the 18 century, they are fun to play due to all the cavalry though and building a maze of walls in the desert maps.

himemiya1650:
I remember i really wanted this back in the day, but my 32mb gpu couldn't tank it.

I'm sure you could handle it now, you should pick it up - it's pretty cheap.

Really good review, you've managed to change my view compleatly on this game, good job :)

Galaxy17:
Really good review, you've managed to change my view compleatly on this game, good job :)

Thank you kind sir, welcome to the Escapist as well!

 

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