So I bought this game a few days after release. This is an era I absolutely love, so when I seen it was being made into Total War, it was on my list to buy. I actually downloaded it through.. unmentionable means when it became available.. although with a few sound issues (firing guns produced no sound effect). But after playing it a while, I fell in love with it and pretty much ran to the store and bought a copy. The first total war game I bought was Shogun, and loved it. I never bought any others till now. Mainly cause I'm cheap. I did however get to play the Medieval II one and enjoyed that as well. Empire at first seems really complicated, and almost overwhelming. There is a lot more to manage. Most noticeable is how towns are broken up within a region. Things like Schools, Churches and Farms are all spread out. At first it was a pain, but it really adds an element of strategy to the over all game. It pretty much forces you to protect your land more so than before. Navel battles are new, I still haven't really gotten the hang of it yet and get my arse handed to me regularly. But the graphics are awesome. Land battles in this game.. what can I say.. awesome. I'm such a HUGE fan of muskets and to see line battles recreated in here is pretty damn cool. Watching two hundred men all fire in sync pop pop pop popopopop pop then have a big ass plume of smoke float over the battlefield.. damn. Too friggen cool. There are a few really annoying bugs though.. path finding for units for example.. have a hard time jumping over fences in battles, and there are tons of fences/walls, sound issues with troops.. guns popping but no ones actually shooting. The UI is a little clunky IMHO.. Lots of wasted space. Looks like they tossed it together last minute. AI in some cases can be smart, but are generally pretty dumb right now. I hear its being worked on however. Nothing really game breaking though, I've read there are a lot of people getting crash to desktops.. but I haven't. Played it extensively on Vista Ultimate 64 and Windows 7 64 with no real issues. There is a demo on Steam and think its definitely worth a look.