Empire: Total War (now Total War: Empire) was released in the distant past of 2009 and as far as Total War games go, it doesn’t get a lot of attention these days. Empire was important for a few reasons: it was the first Total War game to use a modern-looking 3D engine, and was the first game to feature dedicated 3D naval battles. It was also the first to fully embrace firearms.
Despite some impressive milestones, Empire: Total War received a mixed reception. Critics generally praised it – I remember giving it high marks at the time myself – but fans were more critical. It offered unprecedented strategic breadth and made great strides for strategy games at the time, but it was also unpolished in many places. The AI was also quite subpar, as it found naval invasions problematic.
It was eventually succeeded by 2010’s Napoleon: Total War, which sacrificed Empire’s global strategy for a more focused – and stable – spin-off. Despite this, fans on the Total War subreddit have been showing their appreciation, especially for the naval battles as many consider Empire’s to be the best of the series.
The subreddit these days typically focuses on things like Total Warhammer and, recently, Three Kingdoms’ cancellation, something user Cloackedcomet wanted to address.
Empire: Total War is best played with mods – the game was never integrated into Steam Workshop so you’ll have to head over to ModDB. Plenty recommend DarthMod’s Empire overhaul, but there are other ones to consider as well, like this Victorian-era mod for your Victoria 3 fix.