Posts Tagged ‘Total War’

Medieval II: Total War Collection Comes To Mac & Linux

Medieval II: Total War is coming to Mac and Linux, nine years after first arriving on Windows. The port is being handled by Feral Interactive and will be released on Thursday January 14th. The pack includes both the base game and its expansion, Kingdoms.

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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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Wot I Think: Total War Attila – Age Of Charlemagne

The Age of Charlemagne is the latest expansion for Attila: Total War [official site] and I’ve had a splendid time with it over the last few days. I’d go so far as to say that the entire package, Charlemagne and Attila, has been my favourite Total War experience since Shogun 2, but that’s partly due to my love of this period. Caught mid-stride between the remnants of the Roman Empire and the dawn of the medieval period, Charlemagne provides a concise campaign that gains a great deal from its concentrated focus.

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Total War: Warhammer’s Greenskin Campaign Detailed

The Total War: Warhammer [official site] campaign map is lovely. Creative Assembly have released a 16 minute long “Greenskins Campaign Walkthrough” that shows the strategic side of the game in detail for the first time. Auto-resolving battles as he goes, the narrator takes us on a quick tour of the portions of the Warhammer Fantasy world that will be included in the initial release (the game is the first part in a trilogy that will combine to make one enormous map). I’m particularly taken by the mighty bridges that dwarven engineers have built to span mountain ranges, as well as the concept of ‘fightiness’.

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Total War: Warhammer Trailer Shows Campaign Map

I’ve yet to watch any of the Total War: Warhammer trailers, because I know nowt about Warhammer and so normally leave that kind of thing to Adam. I do like a good map though, and the latest trailer shows the game’s campaign map for the first time in between scenes of battle.

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Shroom For Improvement: Total Warhammer’s Night Goblins

Total War: Warhammer’s [official site] latest reveal shows Night Goblins in action. In this case, ‘in action’ translates as ‘standing around like static models until one of their own kind starts wailing on them with a giant ball and chain’. The culprit is a Night Goblin Fanatic and for today’s confession, I declare that the uncontrollable random paths of destruction that those wee fungi-filled blighters tore across battlefields made them my favourite Warhammer units. It was between them and the Doom Divers at any rate. We received confirmation they’d be in the game way back when.

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Total War: Warhammer Out April 28th, Bringing Chaos

The wait for Total War: Hammer [official site] is far from over. Creative Assembly’s strategic take on the Warhammer Fantasy world will be with us on April 28th but, as is traditional, the preorder incentives and collector’s edition malarkey has already begun. Below, you’ll find a video showcasing the Chaos Warriors, growly-voiced corruptions intent on spreading their unholy powers across the world. They’ll make up the first DLC for the game but if you’re willing to put down the money before release, they’ll be included with your copy of the game. Details of that and a preposterous special edition (it includes a drinking horn and functional whetstone) below.

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Near-Total War: The Humble Total War Bundle

This is Rome II, this one.

War! Huah! What is it good for? Well, lately I find the song that mass bloodshed inspired gives me a fun creative exercise as I open post after post quoting those lyrics then need to somehow make it work. This is the one where I go a bit meta, yeah? Kicking the fourth wall square in its cobbles, huh?

What’s Total War [official site] good for? A lark! The Creative Assembly have worked for over fifteen years on the series combining turn-based strategy with real-time tactics, and you can pick up a fair chunk of it on the cheap in the latest Humble Bundle.

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Ten Minutes Of Waaagh: Total War – Warhammer In-Game Footage

Here it is then – the first footage of an actual war in Total War: Warhammer [official site]. It looks more or less how I’d imagine Total War with fantasy units would look and that is a good thing. The developer commentary does a good job explaining how certain aspects will work. Flying units, giant units and spells in particular. Speaking of spells, the Foot of Gork stomps down onto the battlefield in the video. I remember the cardboard template for it being my favourite Warhammer Fantasy accessory.

Word of warning: there’s a horrid giant spider.

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Total War – Warhammer Introduces Noble Cat-Birds

We’re probably not going to be covering all of these individually, but here’s the first of Sega and Creative Assembly’s unit-specific videos for the upcoming Total War: Hammer Time [official site]. Whether we post every single video or not, one thing’s for sure – if there’s a night goblin fanatic video at any point, I’ll be posting it several times.

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Huah! Total War Sale-O-Trial Weekend Bonanza

I’d have felt bad for Total War if developers The Creative Assembly had chosen to celebrate the series’ fifteenth birthday with only five seconds of Total Warhammer. Poor, lonely, unloved Total War. But wait! Those pranksters threw a dummy party, saving the real festivities for this weekend.

A Total War weekend on Steam brings 75% off the price tag of most games in the series, Steam releases for the original Medieval and Shogun games, and trial weekends offering the full versions of seven Total Wars. Chin up, Twary: they still love you.

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God Foot: Total War Warhammer’s Wonderfully Weird Units

When I go to watch the Creative Assembly team show off units from their upcoming Total War: Warhammer [official site] game, what really sticks out to me is the sense of humour. I’ve been to Total War previews before and the emphasis is very definitely on serious historical epic battles. This time around I watch a goblin with scrappy-looking wooden wings clamber into a catapult, preparing to fling himself into the ranks of the opposition.

“That’s called the Doomdiver catapult,” grins battle designer Simon Mann. “Goblins volunteer – I don’t know why you would – to have a pair of wooden wings strapped to their backs, get loaded into a catapult and then just get launched. In our game it is kind of silly, and there’s a lot of humour in the Warhammer franchise.”

The demo we’ve just seen didn’t involve a hands-on but it did give a decent peek at a lot of the units from the Empire and Greenskins factions. (Dwarfs and Vampire Counts will come a bit later, with Chaos also very strongly implied in trailers.) The Greenbacks are all manner of weird and wonderful, while the Empire occupies relatively familiar Total War territory – give or take the odd demigryph.

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Orcs Have Tithing Problems In Total War: Warhammer

The Warhammer war game Total War: Warhammer [official site] will have a shifting campaign that will differ hugely in style depending on which of the four announced factions you are playing as. This is according to battle designer Simon Mann, who chatted with Pip in LA this week, in a full interview to follow shortly.

Mann confirms my long-held suspicions when he tells her that Orcs “aren’t really into taxation”. To be fair, neither are most humans unless they’re high enough up the food chain to directly benefit. The Empire, meanwhile, is all about skullduggery.

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New Total War: Attila Trailer Features Merciless Huns

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It’s easy to be cynical about promotional material for games. Usually that cynicism is justifiable: marketing is what it is and we all know it. Still, my initial reaction to the narration in this Total War: Attila trailer ‘The Black Horse’ was a bit unfair. “To lead,” it begins, “a man must understand that there are forces in this world that he cannot change.”

“That’s a bit pompous for a game,” I thought. Then: “No. Wait. This is a game about one of history’s more violent and terrible periods, replete with war and the disease and hunger and suffering that inevitably follows. That’s the sort of thing that drives one toward philosophical statements.”

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It’s Time: Total War – Warhammer Confirmed

Total War: Warhammer is coming. Confirmation comes in the form of a single line in the upcoming Art of Total War book. Mike Simpson, the creative director of the series, is discussing the future of Total War and after writing about Total War: Arena’s exploration of multiplayer, he lands the hammer blow.

“…taking the series to a fantasy setting with Total War: Warhammer.”

It might not be called Total Warhammer but at least it has a name. The artbook is officially released on 23rd Jan but the quote was plucked out by StormOfRazors, a TWCenter poster who received an early copy. Thoughts below.

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Hands On: Total War – Attila

The last time I wrote a preview of a Total War gameexcluding spin-offs – I was excitable. I wanted nothing more than to go Roamin’ with the Romans across enormous, epic campaigns, and the small slice of the game I played filled me with confidence that the short portion I’d enjoyed was a fitting representation of the eventual end product. I was wrong.

Playing Attila it’s easy to see evidence of a franchise revived, not only by technical fixes but through the insertion of new mechanics that reflect a strong central theme. The early signs are good and there’s a great deal of promise, but this is a game about the end times, and until the full scope of its campaigns can be seen a cautious approach is advisable.

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Hands On: Total War – Arena

Total War: Arena reminds me of Magicka: Wizard Wars, a game that I’m extremely fond of. Wizard Wars took the chaotic elemental combos of Magicka and directed them into a team-based multiplayer showdown. If it had simply been a team deathmatch iteration of Arrowhead’s original concept though, it wouldn’t have captured my attention for quite as long as it did. Arena strikes a similar chord because it presents one aspect of Total War intelligently re-imagined as a short-form multiplayer game that hasn’t forgotten its strategic roots. After an hour of play, I’m eager for more.

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F2P Spin-Off Total War Battles: Kingdom Announced

Fighting people.

The final round popped out as Philippa racked her Beretta M9’s slide. Clack-click ti-ting. That was it. That was them. Over. She spat blood and knew the warm wailing sirens wouldn’t arrive in time. She hauled herself to the keyboard and started to type, each letter booming like so many gunshots leading to this moment. “Warr! Huah! Yeah,” she wrote. “What is she good for?” Heh. Good…

I am grateful to The Creative Assembly for continuing to make big Total War announcements so I can continue practising my Pipfic. This time they’ve announced Total War Battles: Kingdom, a free-to-play take on battles and armies and metal hats for PC and pocket telephones.

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Survival Strategy: Total War – Attila Announced

Creative Assembly’s next entry in its long-running strategy series will be Attila: Total War. The press release proclaims that the game will take “players to the brink of the apocalypse”, which brings all manner of remarks to mind regarding the direction Rome II took the series itself in, but there’s reason to believe that Attila will be a move toward more fertile ground. A tighter focus in the campaign should allow for improvement of the core systems and an emphasis on the end of an era could make for a tidier thematic approach. Attila will introduce new features, however, including “advanced street-fighting, civilians, complete settlement destruction and dynamic fire that can rage across a city”. CGI trailer below.

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The Gaul Of It: Total War: Rome 2 Expansion Announced

Asterix is going to punch this guy so hard.

Total War: Rome 2 made Adam hesitate, then point his thumb skywards, celebrating the game’s victories in spite of its bugs. Developers Creative Assembly have spent the time since working hard on patches to resolve some the most troublesome bugs and AI follies, but now seem ready to turn their attention towards larger conquests. Caeser in Gaul has just been announced, and it’s the first campaign expansion for the game. It has a new campaign map, new factions and units, all that stuff.

Come look at the screenshots. Come see how the little men fight.
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