“Behold the pale horse! It’s rider was named death” is an apt line from the bible to describe this new creation by Creative Assembly and Sega. It is set in dark and ominous times of 390A.D. which marks the starting of the dark ages and fall of the magnificent Roman empire which the earlier Total Wars games(Rome I and Rome II) covered. It has a new backdrop of a shifting climate change and addition of new class of civilisations such as nomads and barbarians which ushered these times of dark ages in the human history. One can feel these factors setting in at the start of the game with the introduction.
Total War Attila
I , myself am a Total War fanatic and have a exhaustive and addictive habit to complete these games in all possible ways by playing with all possible classes of civilizations provided by the developer. That being said I have only completed the campaigns with three clans –Huns(Nomads),Suebians(German Great Migrators),and Garmatians(Desert Kingdoms) the reason being these clans (except Suebians) were not playable in earlier instalments of Total War and these clans have their own new mechanics which make this game special.
(+) Unleash the carnage
First thing first the game can look same as its horrible predecessor Rome II aesthetically which had one of the worst launches in recent times but make no mistake this edition of Total War shows how it has improved and corrected those mistakes(Battle mechanics) in a very fresh and delightful manner. For example in Rome II public order had no specific way of working i.e. there were no particular factors leading to its decrements people would stand in revolt even if there was no fucking reason but in this game my friend you can have a genocide for those bloody peasants and move on without any further problem.
Yes you heard right GENOCIDE.
You can raze a settlement to ashes if the people are just scumbags and if it will help with the public order one can let his mass murdering self get unleashed in this game with positive repercussions.
The new integrity based system is a new dynamic among additions across the board. It ensures that an army is well maintained and in action. This makes resources such as food surplus and even culture in the province affect the integrity the strength of the garrison or recruiting armies.
(+) The 4 Horsemen
According to the game lore Hunnic Lord Atilla and his indomitable horde where the four horse men of Armageddon itself hence he is referred with narration of Biblical quotes from the book of revelations(not in Pulp Fiction style) which sets tone for most of the nomads and barbarians classes whose integrity is maintained and even pumped up by continuous fighting and raiding through the poor static clans or kingdoms you pass through.
But what steals the show for me are the battle dynamics. While the dynamics in Rome 2 were a bit artificial and even cloggy this edition of Total War has visibly improved. Let it be the AI control over troops or movement of cavalry or infantry formations are much better than previous offerings. Battles are well balanced both by units and the character general leading them, for instance when Atilla was made by faction leader during Grand Campaign mode he improved unit recruitment and upkeep stats helping the user to improve the set up as a whole.
While ingame graphics has improved in leaps and bounds it still lacks the gory mechanisms provided by earlier installments . Still the details through battle sequences are on point, the innocent running in field while can be savored in the battles as such NPCs are present in the settlements you attack.
(-) Feel what Trump feels
The game also feeds the old school players who are interested in empire building and sustenance by providing Western and Eastern Roman Empires or Sassanid Kingdoms which start with covering huge maps areas through puppet states or what not. Thing that makes them interesting are again also the things which make these civilizations a bit of a ordeal ,as larger the size of the kingdom larger amounts of threats faced in forms of nomadic tribes invading from all borders. One may even identify himself a Trump supporter for a need to make a wall and keep out these ‘Bad Hombres’ from getting in and stealing the jobs or provinces you inherently own at the starting of the campaign.
The politics and control dynamics have been well defined in this edition making actions such as a political event or character based growth much relevant. It is easy to see that how a character of your household can perform various important actions ranging from embezzling funds to securing an important position within the empire an essential aspect of gameplay.
(-) The Old Gandhi Gambit
While internal politics mechanisms have a playable effects the diplomacy system really sucks to the core . There should have been more additions in them like in Shogun 2 but unfortunately you can see that it is same as in Rome 2 ,lacking various options and to deal with other factions within the game. The AI only worsens it when in game you find it constantly breaking treaties and fighting you till the end making the player insane by fighting the same faction over and over again. All I have to say that if CA and Sega wanted to use an older diplomacy system they could have used the ones from Medieval 2 or from Shogun series.