Like any big daft fantasy blockbuster, The Elder Scrolls needs war. Unfortunately, Bethesda's open-world games have never been too great at the whole mass battle thing. Even Skyrim's nation-rending civil war never amounted to much more than a gathering of drunk LARPers waving sharp sticks at each other in the snow. The Elder Scrolls: Total War - a complete overhaul to Medieval 2: Total War - launched this week, bringing some proper bombast to battlefields across Tamriel.
The final update for the ambitious mod launched on November 11th 2019, eight entire years after Skyrim roared onto the scene. By the Nine, that's me turned to dust.
It's probably just 'cos Medieval II: Total War is getting on a bit these days, but I'm loving the chunky 3D look to these armies of angry Norsemen and wry reptilians. It has the feel of a long-forgotten spin-off, pushed out sometime between Morrowind and Oblivion.
The Elder Scrolls is a fairly straightforward fantasy world. With few exceptions, the series has always been rather bland - a predictable mix of elves and men, swords and sorcery, plentiful dungeons and the occasional dragon. Even so, modding maestro Dominic felt The Elder Scrolls: Total War shined brightest when it managed to draw out the weirdest, wildest side of the fiction when he took a look back in August.
Why re-enact a dull old Nord vs. Imperial war when you can toss Dagoth Ur's cloth-clad cultists into the fray with an army of monsters and mutants, anyway?
The Elder Scrolls: Total War's 2.0 launch includes 18 playable factions and the breadth of Tamriel to conquer. The mod also includes four more vile villains to pick up outside the campaign, from demon legions to small bands of rebels. Unfortunately, the "Hordes of Oblivion" aren't too keen on global politicking.
To play TES:TW, download the mod from its home over on Mod DB. You'll need a copy of Medieval 2: Total War (natch), and the game's readme includes a few suggestions for dealing with pesky crashes.