First off, to the person who gave it a 1 star. I've had a few ATI cards in the past and almost every one of them had problems - drivers, hardware fault or over heating. I eventually became geforce user and never looked back. Undertake research into the problem. It could of just been a simple driver update for all you know. (ATi is pure horrible when it comes to drivers.) Just please don't give what could be a good game a bad score based on your own hardware troubles. It can be very misleading.
Now I said this could be a good game and in my opinion it IS a good game. Well worth the money. I never buy many games but I always make it the "done thing" to buy the total war series. I also feel naughty writing this review on PLAY as I didn't buy it from them. I won't name places, for obvious reasons, but if you're like me you'll probably want to shop around first to find the best bargin, etc etc.
On to the game itself:
- Game feels much more polished and updated than empire total war.
- Hardly any bugs (I didn't find any) and much more stable than empires was.
- Tutorial is helpful if you're new to total war or you're just finding out whats different.
- The AI feels much better than ETW. They actually want to negotiate this time!
- Liberating countries is a nice touch and a welcomed addition to the game.
- Forming a square formation actually works now. Horses won't charge into bayonets.
- Infantry fire and reload faster and in my opinion it feels more balanced (and fun) that way.
- Generals play a bigger part in the game and you would regret not having one in your army.
- AI in battle is improved but do expect them to often make big mistakes.
- Cannons are almost essential in battles and are faster reloading and more accurate.
- Smoke! Smoking kills but its even more deadly when coming out of a barrel. :)
- 2 player campaign coop! Enough said.
- Online multiplayer battles work fine and managed through the Steam network.
- (No need to open up ports and dmz your router, etc.)
- Ship combat is pritty much same as ETW but the bigger ships are easier to build in campaign.
- Unit graphics and unit stats are different depending on your nation.
Also if you're intrested, get yourself the Radious sound mod. It makes the weak "puffs" of the rifles sound much more deadly. Its a small change but brings a whole new level of epicness to the battle.