February is, it seems, the official month of killing tiny soldiers, and today in particular is St. Man-Squisher's Day. This fine Friday has already seen the launch of Dawn of War II - which I'm alt-tabbed from right now, excitingly - and now we also get to behold the majesty of the new Total War game. The 2 gigabyte (lawks, lummee, won't somebody please think of the children etc) Empire demo's just gone live on Steam, ahead of the launch of the whole epic shebang on March 4th. We shall, of course, be sharing some sort of opinion on ETW cometh the hour, but let's be honest, the odds of it being anything less than spectacular are tinier than a vole's pinkie finger.
Beneath the magical clicky words, details on exactly what's in this here demo.
A tutorial on the basic land and naval battle systems, then two historical skirmishes that go a little something like this:
Battle of Brandywine Creek
After landing from his transport ships on the American coast, Major-General Sir William Howe led the British troops eastwards, with the intention of capturing Philadelphia.
In preparation, American General George Washington readied most of his units to defend from this frontal assault around the narrow crossing of Chad's Ford on the Brandywine. The Creek flows through the countryside of Pennsylvania, enveloped by sheer cliffs and heavily wooded hills on both sides. Knowing that much of the fast-flowing creek could not be crossed, Washington was confident of holding his position.
However, more detailed surveillance of the terrain would suggest that alternative routes could turn the battle in the favor of the British.
Battle of Lagos
As so often in 18th Century warfare, French plans to invade England during the Seven Years War were reliant on ships from the naval base at Toulon joining ships from Brest. The British had both ports blockaded, and the French had to wait for one of the blockading fleets to withdraw for re-supply before attempting any rendezvous.
The opportunity came when the British fleet under Admiral Boscawen at Toulon withdrew to Gibraltar. The French under Jean-François de la Clue-Sabran left Toulon, and began to make their way towards Brest. Passing the Straits of Gibraltar, the French were spotted by Boscawen's lookout ships.
Giving chase, Boscawen's fleet was only slightly larger than the French force, and caught up with them off the coast of Portugal where battle was joined.
Take control of the British and defeat the French to end the invasion threat to Britain.
But I hate the British!
Oh, and have some system specs too. We know that stuff's the only thing you really read RPS for.
Processor: 2.4 GHz Intel® Pentium® or greater or AMD® Athlon® equivalent CPU
Memory: 1GB RAM (XP,) 2GB 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
Hard Drive: 15 GB free hard disk space