March of the Eagles is a sandbox war game set in the time of the Napoleonic era. At the start of the game, you select from one of eight different countries and begin the arduous task of taking over the world. Just because. Picture it like Risk, but more difficult to understand, longer to finish (the game automatically ends after fifteen years pass, you know, just in case you haven’t finished playing yet) and mostly lacking the experience of playing a game with other people in the room.
Paradox Interactive certainly deserves some credit for what they’ve accomplished here – don’t completely misunderstand. Compared to some of their previous war simulation titles, this one is actually a bit more accessible (for starters, you can actually complete the tutorial and unload troops being transported in ships). But that doesn’t mean there’s not an unhealthy amount of text and reading involved in the experience. If you’re willing to put that much effort forth, then there’s a great amount of depth here, particularly in the “Ideas” notion.
While building in the game mostly involves unit production, military losses grant you Idea points, which you can use to invest in military or technological advances, which generally make your armies faster, stronger or bulkier. Having some real life friends that are into this sort of experience will be your biggest source of fun, as you use diplomacy, treaties and double dealings to conquer the world, or simply survive long enough to watch everyone else tear each other to pieces. The single player experience, on the other hand, has only one disappointing, non-narrative driven sandbox option.
It’s a real shame that the rich history of the Napoleonic wars wasn’t put to better use, setting the player specific challenges or things to accomplish in accordance with history, or putting you in similar scenarios to see if you could have fought your way out of Napoleon’s more famous losses. But all you get is one great big, “Here ya go,” and a push into the overly complicated world.
If you’re a huge fan of Crusader Kings then this title is semi-decent (really it’s just a different map, considering that the combat still all happens behind the scenes, so whether your troops have imaginary muskets or imaginary swords, it matters very little). But if you belong to the gaming majority that still hasn’t embraced these sorts of titles, know that there’s still no driving narrative, little accessibility for the uninitiated, and consequently still not much reason to buy into the franchise.
SCORE: 6.0 out of 10
A code for March of the Eagles was provided to Pixel Related for review