Review: Total War: Attila (PC)
Creating an accurate depiction of ancient warfare in a game on a massive scale is no easy task. That’s why we don’t see many developers attempt to do what Creative Assembly do with the Total War series. They are the best at large scale battles and their latest entry into the series, Total War: Attila is looking to build on the success of Total War: Rome 2. This time the focus shifts to one of the most famous barbarian leaders of all time, Attila the Hun.
The year is 395 AD and the Roman Empire is just a shadow of it once former glory. This has left the Empire vulnerable, and the warlords of the East have taken the opportunity to seize the Empire as their own. You will have to choose a faction when starting the game, and you can either decided to defend Rome as the Roman Empire, or set it on flames as one of the other factions such as the Barbarians. Once you stomp through the very lengthy and meaty tutorial you can begin your quest of glory, however not all battles are won on the battlefield.
Just like Total War: Rome 2 there are many political battles to be fought as well. Once such facet is the moral of your troops and cities. Push your people too far such as raising taxes too high, and lose too many battles and you will more than likely have a rebellion on your hands. Not only that but you will have to carefully juggle family politics within your tribe to see your armies grow, such as arranged marriage to gain new armies from allies. It definitely adds more depth to the game in terms of strategy, and it’s nice to know that you can gain influence over territories without drawing a thousand swords in combat.
I prefer the more direct approach however, and my play style was a good fit for the Barbarian Faction, as I want nothing but to see the world burn (Ed – Remind me not to piss you off). This meant lots of battles, as I tried to seize everything in my warpath. It’s the massive battles where I feel the Total War games shine the brightest, there truly is no other series that does large scale warfare so well. Just like Total War: Rome 2 you will have to carefully command troops around a massive battlefield to try crush your opponent’s. Everything plays a role in terms of tactics from the terrain itself to the weather. Taking a high ground advantage would mean your enemy moves slower, and that means more time to lob arrows into their faces (my personal favorite strategy).
The combat is much smoother than it was in Rome 2, there were no crashes or any funny bugs like there was in the previous installment. You can tell that Creative Assembly didn’t want a repeat of the backlash that Rome 2 got on its release, so they have spent a lot of time optimizing the game and getting rid of bugs. Out the box it’s pretty much close to perfect and performance is great. The AI also feels greatly improved and I found myself struggling to get an edge over my opponent as they would not fall for my cheap tricks, like trying to lure their cavalry into range of my archers, they would quickly figure out what I was up to and retreat (bastards).
History buffs will be pleased to hear that many historical battles have returned for you to re-live, and you can take your pick from ten famous battles to try and attempt to re-write history. There are also quick matches where battles can be set up fairly fast, allowing you to choose you troops as well as map which is a great way to jump into the action if you are in the mood for some light warmongering but time is against you.
The online multiplayer component returns, but only the brave should attempt it as there are people out there that literally live and breathe historical warfare and they will make you feel silly as they crush your forces. Other than that there its lots of fun to be had with Total War: Attila, it’s a very in-depth game that has a steep learning curve, but it’s worth setting aside your time to learn the art of war, because there is nothing else quite like it out there.