The original Cossacks European War was a storming success when it was released last year, and had Real Time Strategy fans slumped over their keyboards until late at night, and often right through until the morning. The new add-on pack, 'The Art of War' is likely to cause more sleepless nights, for many months to come.
One of the major features of The Art of War are the huge new maps, which are four times larger than those in the original Cossacks. The new maps cover vast swathes of landscape, providing for a much more intense and enjoyable war, which takes more thought and is generally much more enjoyable as there's simply more area to discover and in multiplayer games you've got better routes to make your attack from.
However the huge maps do have a slight downside to them, not just the fact that it's more taxing to control your team, but the fact that quite a fair amount of memory is needed for things to go smoothly - with less than 256mb you could find the odd occasion where Cossacks slows to a crawl.
It's not all maps though - you've also got two new nations (Bavaria and Denmark) which come with their own landscapes and structures, plus seven new ships including a version of Nelson's Victory, which provides enough gun-power to remove the enemy from the face of the planet - or the high seas, at least. There's also five totally new campaigns (Prussia, Austria, Saxony, Algeria and Poland) all of which have adjustable difficulty levels, meaning that you're not just dropped in at the deep end, unlike in Cossacks European Wars.
You can also record your games to watch back later, allowing you to see where you went wrong, or managed to over-throw the opposition. It seems a bit of a pointless option, and not one that we'd want to use, as it's not much fun just watching, when you could be playing, although no doubt Cossacks fans will find some sort of use for it.
Art of War comes with an official editor which allows you to craft your very own campaigns and maps, providing for unlimited scenarios and despite not being for beginners, it'll be loved by fans of the series who will probably spend hours making their ideal scenario, and then twice as long acting out the battles on it.
Cossacks: The Art of War is a very worthy add-on, that will be adored by fans of the series, and may even prove a good introduction for gamers who missed out on it first time around - just make sure you play the original game first (you need it for the add-on anyway), as without some experience of Cossacks, you may find picking up the more advanced skills quite tricky.Overall score: 7 out of 10
Players: Single and multiplayer (including online games)
Requires: Cossacks European Wars for add-on to be used.
Recommended Price: £19.99
Available: NowBuy Cossacks: The Art of War add-on from Amazon