Crate Expectations: East India Company

boom, etc

This lavish historical combat’n’commerce title has been attracting a fair bit of attention from devout strategy types (Tom Chick’s mammoth diary series, for instance), but we’ve barely mentioned it here. Why? Because we were too busy thinking up unusual celebrities to name future pets after, or something. (I’m totally going to own a dog called Edward Woodward one day.) So, rather than relying on our trusted words to guide your decision on this matter, you should try the demo instead. 800Mb to you, squire, including a taste of the trading and the naval combat. If that sounds like too much bandwidth to gamble on, there’s a launch trailer below.

Regardless of their quality, some games just don’t come off well in trailers, do they? LOOK AT A STRANGER LOOK AT SOME MENUS.

Anyone had a crack at EIC yet? Is this where Total Warites should be heading post-Empire?


  1. cliffski says:

    Looks very very nice, but they overdo the zoomy effect. Maybe if I wasn’t already hooked on anno 1404…

  2. a says:

    I’m downloading Death to Spies as we speak, and now this? I’ll not be your guinea pig, “CHAPS”.

  3. goodgimp says:

    Was very interested in this title (had it pre-ordered, actually) until I learned the Multiplayer game was just gimicky deathmatch naval battles and completely lacked the Strategic part of the game. Seems an odd decision to leave out the strategy in niche strategy market.

  4. Vinraith says:

    This looks very interesting, I’ve been watching it closely since it was announced. Despite the graphics, it seems to me that Patrician and Port Royale are more sensible points of comparison than the Total War series. At the end of the day this is a trading game, not a grand strategy title.

    Anyway, downloading the demo, fingers crossed.

  5. DSX says:


    Will give this a try.

  6. unclelou says:

    The battle tutorial is buggy – the ship doesn’t move. Not a great start.

    I’ve tried the scenario battles, and found them a little anemic. Controls are better than in Empire, but lack the oomph. I’ve yet to try the strategy part.

  7. Railick says:

    How does this compare to the venerable Pimps at Sea?

  8. LewieP says:

    Fine, I’ll install it now.

  9. Chris Evans says:

    My impressions were ‘ugh this looks bad, plays bad. Ignore’ So I left it to Greg to review. Also note that Resolution have reviewed it here.

    I wanted this to be good, but it just seemed so lacking considering what we got with Empire. If Empire hadn’t been released then I would have been more appreciative of EIC, but I still feel that it is under-par compared to some other Paradox gems like Hearts of Iron.

    I agree with Cliffski that there isn’t much room for this in my schedule with Anno 1404 :)

  10. 4AM_Pie says:

    I think I’ll check this out, as a 800MB demo is a lot easier to pick up and play than relocating my entire Steam folder to a drive with space to download Empire’s 14 gigs again.
    (Damn you Gabe)

    And a man can only go so long without Ships of ye olde Line.

  11. Stromko says:

    Hmm, the combat trailer is very intriguing. Massive multi-gun-decked ship duking it out is pretty awesome. I trust Tom Chick though, he’s generally been spot on about things, and his diary has put me off for good reason.

    I simply don’t want to have to duck through loading screens to examine what I can buy at a port or do trading. The lack of time acceleration during the naval combat portion is also majorly off-putting. Those sorts of time-wasting “features” are things I do not need in my life.

  12. Wolfox says:

    A patch just came out, and, among the patch notes, there’s this little text:

    “- the 3D Port view can now be disabled in the port loading screen
    – the 2D Port view loading screens (with game tips) can now be disabled”

    Maybe that fixes the whole port loading screens?

  13. D says:

    There is a special place in my heart for trailers showing menus and HUDs etc. At the very least it tells you that this interface heavy trading game is not ashamed of their design or their genre.

  14. Railick says:

    Crate Expectations LOL, I just got it. Would have been better if it were called Create Exportations

  15. Railick says:

    ER, stupid missing edit I hate you! Crate Exportations not CREATE , geeze

  16. Lemming says:

    Anno 1404 is keeping me too busy for this at the moment…

  17. shiggz says:

    Bored with it already.. i had been hoping for more of a mount and blade with ships. Maybe i missed something but i thought sid-mier pirates was better then this.

  18. Hulk Hogan says:

    Do I get a blackamoor slave as a pre-order bonus?

  19. Hulk Hogan says:

    Oh NM looks like it’s too late. Can I still get my blackamoor in a super special edition?

  20. PaulMorel says:

    @shiggz: Sid Meier’s Pirates is a completely different game, and imho, it’s one of the greatest games ever, so it might not be a fair comparison…

    For my part, I find it very difficult to resist any game with well-rendered sea-faring vessels.

  21. cliffski says:

    “There is a special place in my heart for trailers showing menus and HUDs etc. At the very least it tells you that this interface heavy trading game is not ashamed of their design or their genre.”


  22. Greg Wild says:

    Interesting, didn’t see about updates to the loading screens. That gives it more good points. But I don’t think enough to take away from the fact it’s exceedingly drab and lacking in a love for its historical context.

  23. Tweakd says:

    I’m itching for some grand strategy right now but I’ll give this a miss. The reason? Hearts Of Iron 3 is only six days away! Oh yes I’m excited!

  24. DMJ says:

    Hmm. Naval battles should be amazing, but Empire came closest and failed miserably because each ship requires so much attention that you simply can’t give each ship the attention it requires to fight to its maximum effectiveness. With land battles, you can place a unit in a good position and it’ll do some good. Sea battles move so quickly that there is no such thing as an advantageous position, only an advantageous course which is constantly shifting.

    Having said that, E:TW’s 2-ships-per-side battles were fun.

    So unless the ships in this are significantly smarter (without making the player obsolete) I can’t see how it could be better than the glory of E:TW.

    I’d very much like for it to be, though.

  25. reaper47 says:


    Oh no, you didn’t…

    The recent trend of making trailers that are essentially elaborate machina/cut-scenes is maybe nice-looking but gives you little to no information on what kind of game you’re getting. In fact, file this under “what’s wrong with gaming nowadays” for me.

    Now this trailer made me consider getting the game. Why? Because it looks like an amazing commerce/RTS hybrid.

  26. Junior says:

    4AM_Pie, rename your steam folder and copy it to the drive you want it on, uninstall steam or remove it’s registry entries and then install steam to your prefered new location. Let it update and then delete the install folder and replace it with your original steam folder.

    Sounds more complicated than it is.

  27. Greg Wild says:

    Myself, I went back to an ETW naval battle earlier, and for me it really was refreshing playing them after EICs. I wasn’t so keen on ETWs upon release, but they’ve warmed too me significantly; ultimately, EICs are a frustrating exercise in comparison. Perhaps slightly more realistic in some aspects, but ultimately pale next to ETWs, frankly.

    As for the grand strategy, I’d rather play EUIII. For the economics there’s X3. Or any number of alternatives.

  28. Nuckfut says:

    “we’ve barely mentioned it here. Why?”

    I know i know!
    Because you guys turned into casual faggots

  29. Piispa says:

    If people are really preferring the arcade quake-with-ships naval battles of ETW’s over what they have here, this should be the sail ship game for me.

    The naval battles of ETW were really dissappointing with three-deckers doing 180-degree turns over a penny and absolute hit points over manoeuvrability shootouts.

  30. Hulk Hogan says:

    Did we play the same ETW? I’ll trade you my version for the quake-with-ships one.

  31. unclelou says:

    The naval battles of ETW were really dissappointing with three-deckers doing 180-degree turns over a penny and absolute hit points over manoeuvrability shootouts.

    Naval battles in E:TW have been massively rebalanced in the last few patches, including turn speeds, hull strengths, the controls, and whatnot. I’ve played the EIC demo and a sea battle in E:TW again just now. If you think E:TW is Quake, EIC is Serious Sam.

  32. Heliocentric says:

    Only one thing was wrong with empire. They blocked modders.

  33. Gap Gen says:

    Diplomacy needs work in Empire. Maybe everyone resents me because I’m so powerful, but no-one will open new trade routes with me even though I have enough capacity, and nations vastly inferior to me seem intent on fighting wars that they are bound to lose.

    Also, having fought a battle with second-rates, they are very, very hard to maneuver properly. The awesome firepower and hull strength more than makes up for it, though.

  34. Andrew Dunn says:

    Three or four ships are my limit for proper control in Empire. I do love naval battles at that level though.

    Also as a workaround for diplomacy, Gap, until the next patch when they say they’ll make it easier to obtain peace and such, try offering indefinite military access with every trade/offer you make. It seems to work!

  35. Gap Gen says:

    Huh, hadn’t tried that. Seems like an alternative to my usual tactics of kerb-stomping everyone who declares war on me.

  36. UK_John says:

    It hardcore and not from a major publisher (what hardcore games are from major publishers any more?), so expect reviews no better than low 80’s and many words spent on the bugs. But also expect, as it’s a small publisher, patches and fixes and even improvements all for free.

    For example it’s interesting that the massive SEGA wasn’t interested in fixing the Shogun and MTW problems with the Nvidia 8000 series, hinting they were ‘too old’, and the much smaller CDV released a directx hack to allow a similar game in a similar genre and of a similar age, Cossacks, that had a similar problem!

  37. Greg Wild says:

    I wouldn’t call it “hardcore”. It’s in fact exceedingly history lite. It’s got a long way to go before it captures the spirit of what the East India Companies were.

  38. Vinraith says:

    OK, having played a bit, everyone comparing this to Empire Total War needs to have their head examined. This is a totally different genre than E:TW, the two aren’t remotely trying to accomplish the same things. Funnily enough, Patrician/Port Royale isn’t the proper comparison either, I’d say the closest match would be Railroad Tycoon at sea with a battle engine.

    This, mind you, is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s about the right balance of deep but not too deep IMO. Hopefully the minor kinks will be worked out with time, but in general my initial impression is “encouraged.”

  39. Lack_26 says:

    People are always complaining about good naval combat being lacking in games. It could be nostalgia but I remember Age of Sail II hitting the spot Empires aimed at perfectly.

  40. Twix says:

    For those expecting any AI at all you will be disapointed.
    Most attacks from other countries appear very random and is not very well thought out. Happens a lot that your 3 galleys get attacked for example by a sloop or schooter(sp?).
    Also when you do play out the battle,when you get a intresting one. often the computer will ram in to his own ships making it a short affair.

  41. richmcc says:

    [hateful self-pimpery] Hey dudes! My review of this will be in PC Gamer 205! Check it out, y’all! [/hateful self-pimpery]

    Sorry, blacked out for a second there.

  42. Bluepixie says:

    Regardless of menus, the navel combat looks beautiful. Oh dear, I can see the wasted days already………..

  43. Kanakotka says:

    Don’t worry about it. It’s absolutely boring, i couldn’t stand for more than a few minutes, really.