There was a time in European history when war morphed into an extremely metrosexual affair, where looking smart with pointy hats and marching in perfectly straight lines seemed more important than the actual fighting. This is the period in which Cossacks II is set, and it's a period that has yet to gain serious popularity in any genre, let alone the RTS genre - though Eidos' Imperial Glory is just around the corner.
Cossacks II probably won't be the game that changes this trend, but those already interested in the imperial style of warfare will be satisfied with what the game offers. As you'd expect, it's generally slow-paced, due mainly to the fact that the guns of the era took several minutes to reload.
Much of the strategy lies in knowing when and where to fire that killer volley that obliterates enemy morale and sends them packing up their wigs and lipstick and heading home. However, with the ability to have thousands of troops fighting at once, winning becomes a tricky affair of move and counter-move.
It's a shame then, that Cossacks II didn't take the strategy further. While there's a fair amount of depth in having to keep an eye on morale, fatigue, food, and resources, it would've been nice if they went the extra mile and included things like wagon convoys on supply lines to replenish limited food and ammunition to your men in the field. In all fairness though, the fact that Cossacks II makes Napoleonic warfare intriguing and enjoyable in the first place is impressive enough.
Visuals: Sprite-based graphics are nothing to write home about, and the similarity of unit appearance can make battlefield decisions a bit hit and miss. Audio: Gameplay: Nice sound effects during battle, with crosstalk and volume based on unit size. Shoddy voice acting spoils the overall effect. Score: 3.5 Publisher: CDV Developer: GSC Gameworld URL: www.cossacks2.de Price: $89.95