For some, the game blocks high settings if your video card is not strong enough. To bypass this blockage, you need to do the following:
Start-> Run-> Open: C: \ Documents and Settings \ (Admin Name) \ Application Data \ The Creative Assembly \ Empire \ scripts. Open the file “preferences.empire_script”, find the line “gfx_video_memory 0;”, change the value 0, for example, to 5809324254. Save the file, start the game. Voila, now you can set the settings even to the maximum.
P.S. For the gifted, I put the preferences.empire_script file, which can simply replace yours, but it is recommended to do it according to the above method.