Being a big RTS fan I was looking forward to playing Cossacks 2 I had played the first instalment for a while and enjoyed what I saw. So With eager anticipation I installed and started up Cossacks 2.
I should have guessed form the opening video that this could be a shambles in disguise, instead I though ‘Oh that’s neat!’ Rather than using CGI they used a re-enactment group, but whils I was caught up in the amassment that they would use such a group I failed to realise the ham and cheese quality of the filming. This was the first sign of a rushed and badly implemented game.
NARF! ‘We apologise for any inconvenience the reviewer has just slammed his head against the keyboard and now has the ‘T’ key embedded in his forehead and the ‘Space Bar’ between his teeth, this however should not effect his reviewing skills.’
I really don’t think my monitor could take much more verbal abuse, really I’m not joking it’s starting to crack.
Lest get straight in to this the interface is clunky and in many cases covers up half the screen so you cannot actually see what’s going on. Half the time you cannot see who is flanking you because you have icons filling up that quarter of the screen, the only way to get rid of them is to deselect your units which can take up valuable time in an RTS game. An icon for a musket should be 64x64 pixels not 64x300.
Once you get past the over intrusive interface, most things seem to run well, well until you try to understand the text that is vital to finishing the missions or even getting through the tutorial. Badly written and translated is not the word, a group of Mongolian Yak herders could have done better. One part of the tutorial that was supposed to last about thirty seconds actually lasted two hours, because the English was so bad (worse than mine). I had to read the instruction at least fifty times and then I did not understand them, so I just had to try every possibility.
I did not get much further than the first tutorial as a representation of what is to come it was the most heinous crime against gamers. A tutorial is supposed to gently lead you in to the game, and get you used to the controls and concepts. It’s not meant to lead to a coronary embolism. It taught me nothing useful about the game other than I really don’t want to play it.
It’s a shame really the graphics are quite good and serve the game well, but it is let down on so many other factors you just end up resenting everything about the game. However in a world filled with 3D RTS games, this game is starting to look dated, and it’s not even on the shelves yet.
At this point I wanted to smash my speakers. I’m serious about this I turned the sound off. Every time you reached goal in the tutorial, you got Mr Repetitive-Obnoxious screaming at you. If you’re going to have voice acting in the game have them speak the text that’s on the screen, rather than shout a load of rubbish in your ear. After the first time I heard this scream repeat I just turned the speakers off and played without sound.
Ham and Cheese
I have played some bad RTS games in my life and I have been spoiled with some of the best. I have to say Cossacks 2 is the worst I have ever seen done in the genre. Settlers: Heritage of Kings is infinitely better, even though it breaks from the standard mould of the Settlers games. If fact Settlers HoK crashes every few minutes, but I still want to play the game, as an RTS they have produced a little gem.
Cossacks is a really not worth the effort, even though this is preview code many of it’s flaws will require a lot of work to fix, and it’s work I don’t think will ever be done. As Reviewer Wolf can attest there are some factors in a game which you cannot fix.