Developer Creative Assembly’s last foray into the totally awesome world of historical warfare was 2013’s Total War: Rome II, a great entry in the long-running strategy series that brought many visual and structural changes to the fore. Here at AusGamers it was reviewed quite favourably, and rightfully so, even after negative feedback from fans began flooding message boards at the time of its release. Centring on the game’s initial technical problems, one glance at some of this feedback and you would think that the end of the world was right around the corner. But like many other high profile releases of late, a series of timely and hefty patches fixed and improved Total War: Rome II for the better.
Due for release early this year, Total War: Attila in some ways feels like an extension to the look and feel established with Total War: Rome II, and will surely spark similarly apocalyptic discussion. But this time this discussion will probably be in relation to the game’s setting, which takes place during the fall of the Roman Empire, a time when Attila the Hun led a group of tribal barbarian hordes and northern Europe was in a state of chaos. So even though some of the land masses will be familiar to those that played the last few Total War games, the darker visuals and countrysides that can burst into flames without a moment’s notice, will ensure that this time it won’t be simply be another case of “build up your empire from scratch and slowly take over the world alongside your allies”.
One of the newer and more interesting features of Total War: Attila is the introduction of horde mechanics which basically mean that you can pack up your entire city, burn the remains to ashes, and take your army and people out into the wilderness to find a new place to call home. Of course this probably translates to taking over someone else’s city, a staple in any form of global conquest, but the ability to migrate adds a new dynamic to Total War that is genuinely exciting. For the first time in the series’ history you can play the game without any inclination of winning the day by either military or economic conquest. You can simply play the role of crazy barbarian warlord who amasses an army and followers and simply decided to spend a few decades causing destruction via rampaging from one side of a continent to another.
Outside of this relatively big change, overall Total War: Attila feels like a darker, messier, and more freeform game than its predecessor. And this is messier in terms of the sheer number of viable factions to play with and the constantly changing landscape of a world in chaos. Everything else that was introduced or altered in Rome II has been improved here or expanded upon. The family tree and influence aspects of the game have been bolstered, with the ability to micromanage certain decisions and marriages, leading to direct control over the lineage of your rulers and generals. The interface in relation to technology trees, buildings, and statistics have also been improved for clarity, and are all welcome editions.
But being a Total War game one of the biggest draws is still the battle portions of the game where thousands of individual troops fight in truly spectacular fashion. Attila is no different in this department and based on feel of the battles, they are in line with those seen in Rome II after the many balancing changes made since that game’s release. Things like city sieges and field battles play out in the expected grandiose fashion and with the new setting of a world in turmoil, the hazy skies and smoke-filled battlefields add a certain sense of doom to a series that shows no sign of slowing down.
Kosta Andreadis remembers a time when in order to get the best out of a console game you had to blow gently into it and whisper sweet nothings like "please work, I’m up to World 8-3, for fudgcicles sake". Situated in Melbourne, Kosta is a freelancer who enjoys playing RPGs, strategy, adventure, and action games. Apart from investing well over 200 hours into The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim he’s also an electronic musician with an album already released
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