• Publisher: Sega
  • Release Date: Mar 3, 2009

Universal acclaim - based on 62 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 61 out of 62
  2. Negative: 0 out of 62
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  1. 100
    The simplified interface elements, great campaign, and much-improved map and information screens make this the most accessible Total War yet, and a great place for those unfamiliar with the series to get started.
  2. The greatest strategy game of all time.
  3. All Strategy fans must own this game even if the setting is something they do not enjoy. This is the closest thing we have seen to a perfect game in ages on the PC and this is one game I will not take off my PC until another Total War is released… and then only maybe.
  4. 95
    Empire: Total War is a masterful combination of all the things that I love about strategy games -- a great setting, a first-rate presentation, tactics that reward maneuver, and a strategic layer that requires flexibility in your plans...Simply put, if you're a fan of strategy games, this is one game you must have in your collection.
  5. 95
    Despite a few minor chinks in its armour, Empire: Total War is an improvement over Medieval II in every conceivable way. Its campaign is larger, more tactical and engaging, while the improved AI ensures that real-time battles and siege warfare are more challenging and thrilling than in any previous Total War installment.
  6. Empire is the new jewel of Total War. If anybody wants to understand the definition of the concept of strategy in video games, he should have a look first to what Creative Assembly has to offer. Mixing with unusual ability, strategy in turns and tactics in real time, the new delivery of the series contributes enough new features to be considered once again as one of the best RTS of the last years. Empire is a great and amazing tribute to one of the most hectic centuries of the history of the human being: The XVIII.
  7. This is one of the most sophisticated, entertaining, and historically accurate strategy games ever made.
  8. Empire: Total War is a must buy for any strategy lover and in general for anyone who owns a PC. Creative Assembly has taken the best aspects of the Total War saga adding new ones that integrate perfectly in the gameplay and the result is a game with wonderfully deep strategy and tactics elements.
  9. Empire: Total War is breathtaking in its scope, enthralling in its detail, and staggering in its execution. Despite one or two minor flaws, it should be considered one of the very best strategy titles available on any platform.
  10. Without having to fight every single battle, finishing one campaign of world domination easily clocks in at over 30 hours. Repeat that with every other playable side, add in the difficulty levels, choose whether to overthrow the crown to declare your empire a republic, replace the AI with multiplayer minds across the world, and your thirst to rewrite the 18th century may prove to be insatiable.
  11. 95
    Even with its problems Empire Total War is an amazing addition to the series, it's great to look at, great to play, and will suck up all of your free time, and then start consuming the time you have set aside for stuff like real life!
  12. Astonishing...Immense... A strategy masterwork. [Mar 2009, p.54]
  13. Games Master UK
    PC player? Go and get this now. [Apr 2009, p.73]
  14. PC Zone UK
    A triumph. [May 2009, p.58]
  15. This is the best Total War game thanks to all the little tweaks. Sometimes little differences make a good game great. The battles ask of you that you think more about your actions and managing your empire never was easier. The sea battles are fun to watch, but are a little hard to control. Nevertheless, Empire: Total War is a game that can make you forget about the time.
  16. 93
    Even by the standards of the series, Empire: Total War is epic. It takes the combined real-time and turn-based strategy, and pushes it out into the eighteenth century in style. It's bigger, and it has a hell of a lot more bang.
  17. One game can last you up to 20 hours. Add multiplayer to the mix and you have yourself one hell of a package.
  18. A colossus of a game. The challenges presented by the Grand Campaign firmly establish Empire as the stuff of legend: it’s far-reaching, truly massive and utterly engrossing. Once more, CA has refused to rest upon its laurels, creating one hell of a time-filching game; expect some late nights and canceled social engagements once Empire hits your hard drive.
  19. Yes, there might be some problems with the AI, and yes, the multiplayer is not fully integrated yet, but despite that I simply have to recommend this game to everyone who’s interested in RTS games. The enormous singleplayer campaign and the awesome strategic depth just make up for all the other flaws, that will surely be sorted out by the patches to come, anyway.
  20. 92
    Empire Total War is outstanding in all its features, one of those games which are enjoyable from beginning to end. You could hardly stop playing for weeks. It is a cliche to say it, but Creative Assembly have truly surpassed themselves; Empire: Total Wars is one of those masterpieces no videogame fan should let escape.
  21. In the end, what we have here is probably the best Total War in terms of concept, but with a launch shadowed by a multitude of technical issues and the fact that it didn’t have a multiplayer campaign.
  22. 91
    It would be easy to be just bowled over by how glorious Empire: Total War looks. Creative Assembly's signature series has always been big on spectacle, and Empire is no different. The battles are bigger and bloodier, only now you have the smoke of muskets and crack of 12-pounders to accompany your march across the known world. Don't let the color of charging Cossacks blind you to everything else going on here though, Empire is a major step forward for the entire Total War franchise.
  23. In some ways, it's the closest we've come to the enormous social novel from the period after that which Empire chronicles: it's a Tolstoy-esque War and Peace of a game. Its problems may be the inevitable problems of trying something with such sheer scope. As such, if you want the breathtaking vision of the game, you have to accept the flaws in the details - for now, at least.
  24. Empire: Total War still has some teething problems, but the latest installment of the Total War series is its best one nonetheless. The game takes place in the 18th century with eleven playable countries. As usual, you govern you country and move your armies on the strategy map, while battles are fought in real-time, including sea battles. If you like strategy games, you need to play Empire: Total War.
  25. Blue whale is one of the largest animals on Earth. It is also one of the closest to extinction. Empire: Total War is one of the last blue whales in the ocean of brainless multi-platform clones, and second-rate RTS rabble.
  26. Empire Total War is one of the greatest strategy games ever. A world full of life, with many factions and possibilities, in the chaos of the XVIII century. An excellent game, nearly a masterpiece, that only lacks better visuals to achieve higher goals. Highly recommended to fans of the genre.
  27. Empire: Total War continues the franchise’s legacy, simply a masterpiece in the strategy genre.
  28. An almost total success and one of the best ever strategy games, with amazing scope and accessibility.
  29. If you’ve got the time and patience for it, there’s literally hundreds of hours of gameplay to be found in the single-player portion of the game (specifically, World Domination). This is also a game that rewards various play styles and encourages you to try new things, all the while becoming more and more addictive with each hour that passes.
  30. It fails to reach perfection, but Empire Total War is the definitive strategy game. I can't think of any other game that even comes close to it.
  31. Are you still here? Go get Empire: Total War if you have just the slightest interest in an RTS game. This game offers everything a RTS fan wants. We know that the game has its share of flaws, but there is so much this game does right, that you can easily look past the frustration. This is what a strategy game should look like.
  32. Edge Magazine
    No other game takes on whole eras of combat with such a combination of respect and fetishism for the rules and wisdom of battle, and no series treats history like such a serious playground of possibilities, yet features such comic-book characters. [Apr 2009, p.114]
  33. Empire is distinct, challenging and immensely gratifying. Easily the finest example of the genre.
  34. Empire is without doubt or reservation the best Total War yet and is a game of unmatched scope and ambition, with its uniquely compulsive blend of turn-based strategy and real-time tactics.
  35. Even with some issues, Empire: Total War's battles are still very satisfying on the whole, and the game has a huge level of overall depth to explore. Armchair generals will get a ton of mileage out of this very ambitious and expansive game that once again pushes numerous boundaries with the Total War series.
  36. Empire: Total War isn’t perfect, and it can be tedious at times. On the whole, it manages to pull off everything you’ve ever wanted in an RTS, and delivers even more. Top honors.
  37. games(TM)
    A refinement of what has gone before, and what has gone before still stands as one of the finest exercises in strategic entertainment available. [Apr 2009, p.108]
  38. The Total War series really does just keep getting better.
  39. It takes a hard-line approach at strategy gaming and despite a few hiccups it conquers all those in its path. If it comes to a vote though, I say we go back to Rome and we fix that iffy AI.
  40. All fans will love it. It's a game to play slowly, and preference for players with many hours available, it quickly becomes a way of life. Its complexity can put away some casual players.
  41. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Brilliant historical strategy game amazes with complexity and variety. Its magnetism will keep you entertained for many long hours. Maybe March is too early to make a call for Strategy Game of the Year but, this one is a hot candidate. [Mar 2009]
  42. By all means, if you’ve got a couple of thousand hours you’re looking to burn, Empire: Total War is fine way to do it.
  43. This is in every way an epic strategy game. With great music, graphics and structure this game perfectly frames one of the most interesting eras in history. If you're in any way interested in going in depth with either land or naval warfare, this is a must have. This is quite simply a massive buffet of warfare fan service where every plate is nothing short of delicious.
  44. Looking for errors in this game is pretty hard, but the sluggish controls and small AI quirks prevent Empire: Total War from scoring perfect. Still, it’s a feast for every strategist.
  45. It was definitely worth waiting for this game! Nobody that likes tactic-games should miss Empire: Total War. A really good mix that The Creative Assembly has created.
  46. 88
    If you have the time and the dedication, Empire: Total War will shower you with gaming glory and riches.
  47. Pelit (Finland)
    Real time land battles are excellent and sea fights a good addition, but AI is totally lost at the campaign map. The computer feels too passive, it doesn't try to take key provinces and doesn't even attack after a declaration of war. [Mar 2009]
  48. Empire: Total War would've have made a serious Game of the Year candidate if it did not exhibit so many technical hitches.
  49. The new features and time period are definitely welcome, but it's disappointing that Empire: Total War has so many minor glitches and oversights that mar an otherwise excellent experience.
  50. This strategy sequel is incredibly deep, broad, addictive--and a bit rough around the edges.
  51. 85
    The AI needs a good, firm slap to the face but Empire: Total War is a big, bold, fantastically ambitious game that is (for the most part) a resounding success.
  52. Empire: Total War is impressive and very ambitious in scope, but it feels like the final polish was sacrificed to ship the game according to a set schedule. First patches have resolved some of the worst bugs, but the gameplay is still riddled with dumb AI and other issues that can't be overlooked. Pretty and perhaps after some patches a truly great game, but it's not there just yet.
  53. Provided you have some patience, and a computer with enough horsepower to run it, the game is addictive, rewarding and a lot of fun. It would be nice to see Creative Assembly support this title following release, particularly given how much “character” Empire has. A few bug fixes and overhauls could turn this into one for the ages.
  54. It’s a game that’s springing leaks in every conceivable layer of its design, but it somehow sails on.
  55. Play (Poland)
    The new Total War combines the power of this benchmark series with a new wave of ideas. The presentation, if solid, is nothing revolutionary, and the sea warfare is unfortunately less-than-total, but the gameplay, atmosphere and the wide opportunities it offers are impressive. [Mar 2009]
  56. In the end, Empire's only blemish is its unresponsive units and pathing. For a game whose greatest thrills result from the specific gambles you make with your troop movements, it's a shame you're sometimes punished when that movement seems out of your control. Even with its flaws, though, the newest Total War is so breathtaking and immersive that it's hard not to recommend to avid strategy fans.
  57. 80
    The slow pace and broad complexity make it a game for only those who like to swim on the deeper side of the strategy game pool, but if you aren’t afraid to dive in this game is not to be missed.
  58. AceGamez
    Experienced wartime commanders are fairly hard to find in the gaming world but if you wish to succeed at Empire: Total War then you will need the patience and dedication to become one.
  59. Empire: Total War is not for the historically faint of heart. It's a sumptuous feast that has a lot of meat to it, though the meat could use a good carving knife to go with it.
  60. Regardless of any latent, potentially ethically inquiring core, however, this is a strategy title that triumphantly captures the essence of oppressive and authoritarian leadership in conflict, in the process achieving - on the surface and indeed for most players - exactly what it sets out to do.
  61. Since the Total War series repeats itself as much as human history does, it’s not surprising to find that Empire: Total War doesn't substantively differ from prior iterations.
  62. 70
    Empire proves no different: It's a game that has great potential and with some extra tweaking, could have proven itself an excellent title. For now, Empire: Total War is a fine game, but one that has a heap of problems that need resolving before its worth any more of my time.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 3168 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Sep 28, 2012
    Hey, how about a 2012 update, huh? I'm shocked at coming on Metacritic to see such low scores for a game I've owned for a long time now, thatHey, how about a 2012 update, huh? I'm shocked at coming on Metacritic to see such low scores for a game I've owned for a long time now, that I adore. There is NO bugs, some of these reviews are absolutely outdated and unreliable. In my opinion, this is the most playable of all the Total War games. The tech branches are much more expansive and really do progress as time goes on and the campaign was fantastic. I felt like I was rewriting my text books. It's also one of the more colorful TW games, because it covers such an active century of domination and war. Napoleon felt sort of like a plus 20 year map pack to this gem. This game is just as good as any other TW game, it really is a shame that people wrote hundreds and hundreds of reviews within the first couple of months of the games release, yet when the game is "Fixed" (Because I never played it when it was supposedly bugged) everyone just lose interest in lifting a finger for a new review. I'll simply put it this way, this game is worth every dollar, pound, or euro it costs. Full Review »
  2. TotalWarFan
    Feb 27, 2010
    Though I love Total War games and believe that they are among the greatest games of any genre ever made, I can't say that I was Though I love Total War games and believe that they are among the greatest games of any genre ever made, I can't say that I was impressed. The battle graphics are horrible, especially when you zoom out, and the diplomacy is also terrible. The custom battle maps are also very bad, with the fact that there are barely any buildings, and the AI players are absolutely horrible! The campaign is fun, but Africa, South America, and at least parts of Central and Eastern Asia should be included. The unit detail is fairly good, but the men all look exactly the same; even the militias, Native Americans, and minutemen! Empire: Total War is okay but Medieval II: Total War is, without a doubt, the best video game ever made, and no one should ever make the mistake of comparing Empire to Medieval II or even Rome: Total War. I would give it a higher score because of the campaign, and even with all the problems it is a good game, but I must give Empire: Total War a 4 because it is a terrible game in comparison to the rest of The Creative Assembly's games. I only hope that Napoleon: Total War is better. Full Review »
  3. Alex
    Mar 17, 2009
    If you liked M2TW you will like this.. on paper at least. The use of rifles cause the player to use amazing diffrenct tactics, the addition ofIf you liked M2TW you will like this.. on paper at least. The use of rifles cause the player to use amazing diffrenct tactics, the addition of a large number of very small countries and the increase in trade abilities make this a welcome addition to the series. However was clearly rushed out, the game crashes repeatedly in various parts of the game for many of the users, the campain AI is laughable, even when at war nations (or shall i say EMPIRES) will rarely attack in land battles, only attacking fleets causing very dull gameplay. Couped with the extreme lag faced during unit selection and turns and the all over feel of unreadiness makes this game nearly unplayable. If you are new to total war get any of the previous ones, if you aren't then go play M2TW. Clearly the 'professional' reviewers once again haven't actually played the game. Full Review »