Codex Gamicus

Napoleon: Total War is a turn-based strategy and real-time tactics video game released for the PC, developed by The Creative Assembly and published by Sega. Napoleon was released in North America on 23 February 2010, and in Europe on the 26th of February. The game is the sixth stand-alone installment in the Total War series, and focuses on the politics and major military campaigns at the beginning of the 19th century. Players assume the role of Napoleon Bonaparte, or one of his major rivals, on a turn-based campaign map and engage in the subsequent battles in real-time. As with its predecessor, Empire: Total War, which included a special United States storyline, Napoleon features a separate campaign that follows the general's early career.

Napoleon was released with several editions: the Standard Edition, a Limited Edition, Imperial Edition, and the Emperor's Edition. All boxed versions include the "Elite Regiment," a collection of five extra units, while the Limited, Imperial (which also includes a poster), and Emperor's editions also feature the "Heroes of the Napoleonic Wars" pack, which consists of an additional ten.[1] The Emperor's Edition was released only in Australia and New Zealand, and is the only variant to include a 200mm statuette of the general and his field journal. Pre-orders made via the Steam content delivery system included another special unit: the Royal Scots Greys.[2]

French actor Stephane Cornicard provides voice-acting for Napoleon Bonaparte in the original English, and German, French, and Spanish editions.


Napoleon: Total War contains four campaigns, two of which follow Napoleon's early military career. The first career event is the Italian campaign of 1796, while the second is the French invasion of Egypt in 1798. Both feature smaller, optional missions that help drive the story forward. The major French campaign, however, is "The Mastery of Europe," which resembles the holistic modes of previous Total War games. Conversely, the "Campaigns of the Coalition" allows players to govern Great Britain, Russia, Prussia or the Austrian Empire and attempt to defeat Napoleonic France on the same map. Each major campaign requires players to obtain a certain number of territories, although the latter also demands that the French are defeated. Many of Napoleon's major battles such as Austerlitz, Trafalgar, and Waterloo are available as historical scenarios, separate from the campaign.

A new physics system has been implemented for the real-time battles, so that when cannon balls hit the ground, for instance, they leave impact craters. Gunpowder smoke lingers and reduces visibility in protracted engagements. Mike Simpson from The Creative Assembly has reported that there are a number of environmental factors that affect battlefield tactics: gunpowder backfires when it rains, and the elevation of landscape affects the range of munitions. Individuals within a unit now vary to a greater degree, and are no longer as generic as in previous titles in the series.[3] The campaign map is narrower in focus, but also more detailed than in Empire: Total War. Turns in Napoleon: Total War are only 2 weeks, while previous titles sported 6 month turns. Additionally the game's artificial intelligence system has been modified.[4]

In addition, Napoleon: Total War contains several new multiplayer feature and a voice command utility to speak to other players via Steam. Unlike previous Total War titles, there is now the option for a "drop-in" multiplayer campaign mode: when playing a campaign against the computer, it is possible to allow another user to join via a lobby and take control. The uniform editor advertised on CA's website has been delayed and has led some fans to believe that the uniform editor might have been delayed or cancelled.


Napoleon: Total War includes approximately thirty factions throughout the game, though only the following are playable in campaigns:

  • Austria - Campaigns of the Coalition and multiplayer (Europe and Italy)
  • France - Story mode and multiplayer (Europe, Egypt and Italy)
  • United Kingdom - Campaigns of the Coalition and multiplayer (Europe and Egypt)
  • Prussia - Campaigns of the Coalition and multiplayer (Europe only)
  • Russia - Campaigns of the Coalition and multiplayer (Europe only)
  • Ottoman Empire - Multiplayer (Egypt only)
  • Portugal - Expansion Pack and Multiplayer (The Peninsula Campaign only)
  • Spain - Expansion Pack and Multiplayer (The Peninsula Campaign only)

There are also other factions that are available in land and sea battles:

  • Denmark-Norway
  • Sweden
  • United Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Batavian Republic


The following multiplayer features are included:

  • Multiplayer Campaign Mode
  • Multiplayer drop-in battles, where you can face human opponents in your single player campaign battles [5]
  • Steam achievements, game play bonuses, uniform editor and voice communications.
  • A new uniform system including at least 355 uniforms.[6]


On March 10, 2010, a demo was released via Steam featuring a playable version of the Battle of Ligny.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 82.05[7]
Metacritic 81[8]
Review scores
Publication Score B[9]
Computer and Video Games 9.1/10[10]
GameSpot 8.5[11]
IGN 8.9/10[12]
NZGamer 9.3/10[13]
GamePlanet 9/10[14]
The Guardian 4/5[15]

Upon release, Napoleon: Total War received positive reviews. It currently holds a metacritic metascore of 81.[8] The game and The Creative Assembly were praised alike for a number of graphical and AI improvements, along with the new campaign features and multiplayer modes. IGN remarked that the "tactical battles are still some of the most amazing we've ever seen in any game."[12] According to Eurogamer, despite occasionally poor decision-making "the AI will still hold its own," and provides players "with a challenge that suits the difficulty."[16] Other criticisms focused upon the somewhat linear story-mode campaigns, the duration of naval engagements and the stability of the game's netcode.[16]

Also upon release CA announced the uniform editor would be delayed, while not advertised "on the box" it was advertised as a feature by all online retailers, steam and even CA's own total war site. CA released another statement that news about the editor would be released soon, although to this date none had actually be released. The complete silence around the subject and the fact the new shogun 2 total war game was announced before any news about the uniform editor has sparked fury among the loyal fan base, due to certain members claiming without it napoleon total war is just a smaller re-skin of empire total war. Only 5 months after Napoleon total wars release was the uniform editor taken off as a feature on the CA website, however it is still on most online retailers feature lists.


  1. "Napoleon: Total War Imperial Edition Announced". Sega. Retrieved 1 March 2010. 
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  5. Sega Press Release (2010-01-21). Napoleon: Total War Debuting Campaign Multiplayer. IGN. Retrieved on 1 March 2010
  6. Burnes, Andrew (2009-08-19). Napoleon: Total War Announced. IGN. Retrieved on 1 March 2010
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  16. 16.0 16.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named EUROREVIEW

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