Posts Tagged ‘Rome: Total War’

The Best And Worst Total War Games

At its best, the Total War series casts a spell over you. Your empire rises from nothing, surrounded by enemies who are poised to trample it into the dust. Each decision on the strategic level is a gamble on the immediate future, where “one more turn” isn’t just a stepping-stone to a new upgrade, but a perilous step onto thin ice. Each time you take to the battlefield is another do-or-die moment, a possible Hastings or Austerlitz that can open the road to conquest or plunge you into a desperate fight for survival.

But the Total War series has also been defined by massive, abrupt swings in quality. While the series has been on a linear trajectory in terms of graphics, the quality of the games underlying those vivid battlefield vistas has varied wildly. Total War at its best is interactive Kurosawa and Kubrick. At its worst, it’s a middle-school history textbook as told by Drunk History and filmed by the cast and crew of The Patriot.

So before the series (temporarily) leaves history behind for the grimdark faux-history of Warhammer fantasy, let’s put into order the times that Total War was at its best… and why sometimes its lows were so very low. We’ll save the worst for last, because if there’s one thing that every Total War fan loves, it’s an argument over which games were the biggest disappointments.

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The Making Of Warhammer: Total War (THE MOD)

Until Total War: Warhammer comes along from Creative Assembly, the most ambitious and comprehensive Warhammer fantasy strategy game is a colossal mod for Rome: Total War called Warhammer: Total War – A Call to Arms. Over the course of five years, a high school student and a handful of volunteers tortured and twisted the aging Rome: Total War engine into becoming a full-fledged Warhammer game.

Powered by an obsolete engine even when the final version was released a couple years back, and soon overshadowed by the news the Sega had acquired the rights to make a Warhammer fantasy game on PC, A Call to Arms could be seen as a classically quixotic modding effort. But if you look past the dated graphics, you’ll find that A Call to Arms might just be the most faithful adaptation Warhammer fantasy will ever receive on PC. It is a sprawling, ambitious, and scarcely-coherent effort to bring every ounce of Warhammer fantasy lore to life as a Total War game – and in doing so it captures the spirit of the old Warhammer fantasy universe better than official games might ever dare.

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CA On Rome II’s AI, Scope & Incendiary Pigs

Yesterday, you first endured me waffling on about what I’d seen of Total War: Rome 2, and then harkened to a cleverererererer man than I shedding further light on his studio’s intentions for their next epic historical strategy game. In this second and final part of my long chat with Total War series lead designer James Russell, we cover the geographic scope and scale of the game, why it’s not Supreme Commander BC, the importance of multiplayer and – here we go – whether and how the AI has improved.
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Sex’n’Dogs’n’Wrack’n’Ruin: Total War Rome II Live

'I'm sorry I insulted the AI, I'm sorry I'm sorry!'

In-game footage of Total War: Rome II is being cruelly withheld until time indeterminate, but the important thing is that I’ve seen it and you haven’t, ner ner ner ner ner ner ner. Ner. I’ve even spoken to the devs about it. Ner! I suppose you deserve to see something for yourself though, even if you are a horrible person who’s going staight to hell because you were rude to that cat once.

So, here is a live-action, mood-setting, betrayal-including trailer for the Creative Assembly’s latest strategy titan, showing off the glory, folly and cruelty of the Roman empire. Warning: includes bare-naked nipples.

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Hail CAesar! A Chat With Total War: Rome II’s Lead Dev

Not James Russell

I came, I saw, I previewed Total War: Rome II. I also chatted to Total War series lead designer James Russell about the enduring appeal of the Roman Empire, how it’s possible to control a wargame on this kind of scale, introducing a human element to the game’s soldiers and politickers, and branching storylines on the campaign map. This is part one of a two-part interview – more tomorrow.

RPS: I guess my immediate question is the complexity of controlling something that’s so much bigger. Does it feel, when managing all these units, like a big step up, or is it more about the amount of soldiers within each troop?
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Surprise! Eyes-On With Total War: Rome II

Where's it set again?

Most of the internet knew the nature of the Creative Assembly’s next Total War game as of last week, but as a man of honour I have ignored the leaks and waited to mention it until I could tell you about it properly. Onwards then, and to battle…

‘Big’ would be the obvious word. “Enormous” is probably a slightly better one. “Bugger me, what an awful lot of soldiers and boats and increasingly demolished buildings that is” would be a more accurate summary of my thoughts at the time of seeing Rome: Total War II. “My deepest sympathies to anyone else currently working on a historical real-time strategy game” would be my thoughts now.
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