Well, it looks like I got home first! Hopefully others will drop in and post their thoughts. For now though,
--this build is the "Gold Candidate." Per Kieran, there will be some tweaking and unit balancing, but this is essentially "it";
--the Portuguese and the Ottomans are
playable, but not
in the European Grand Campaign;
--playable factions will change depending on the specific campaign;
--environmental effects -- rain, wind, smoke will affect unit(s), but one effect won't render them useless;
--environmental effects can be 'stacked' making things pretty hoary for the affected unit(s);
--Elite Units of the East are in the pipeline (more at NYC even);
--Jason Isaacs is not Napoleon; he's playing an officer, and a few rank and file;
--the French Army begins without shoes reflecting their impoverished state post-Revolution;
--this will change as the game progresses until they're the Grande Armee we all know and love;
--a uniform editor will follow sometime in the near future. Kieran cannot give a definite date, but they're using it in the studio now;
-- in the Italian & Egyptian Campaign, the French have a technological advantage;
--Generals can now "Impress" and "Rally" their troops within their circle of influence;
--batteries have (at least) round shot & canister shot;
--the Grand European Campaign map extends to (roughly) the middle of Russia.
Overall, Napoleon is damn impressive. I'll leave it to others to comment on the graphics, but they were, well, fantastic. Gone is that flat green expanse from Empire, and now there are shimmering lakes, rolling hills, forests, and mountains. Animations are rather top notch; after spending quite a bit of time watching the batteries operate, they move almost exactly like in the original teaser trailer. I'll have to spend some more time watching melee combat, but after watching my cavalry move and hack through a group of line infantry, they move quite convincingly. Again, more time will have to be spent watching it, but they also attempted to run down fleeing troops.
Diplomacy has been of concern in the past, and with some of the time we had today, I tried a bit. As the Austrians against the French, I attempted to enlist Venice's aid in driving the French from Italy. I offered a military alliance, which they initially refused. However, they came back with an alliance and token payment that I accepted.
More later, but I need a nap. I've been up all night long.
A few more things of note:
--you can now refit at sea;
--in the Egyptian Campaign, Napoleon is limited to the armies he arrives with. There will be no resupply due to the British activity in the Mediterranean;
--Napoleon will have to press Bedouin and other forces into service;
--The Mamluks, Ottomans, etc. receive no penalty for fighting in the desert. In Kieran's words, "(The Europeans) will be knackered after about 15 minutes.";
-- recruitment is no-longer automatic.
Which is probably a good point to mention the new Attrition System, CA has implemented in Napoleon. If you, for example, force march your troops from Point A to Point B and leap into battle, your troops will be exhausted before shot one is fired. Rest is important. Especially in inhospitable environments.