Total War: Attila is a familiar sight – mainly in good ways, but also in the sense that some nagging issues from earlier Total War games return. Fans of the series can rejoice, as subtle changes add new detail and gameplay styles.
There are few strategy series out there that have been successful for an extended period of time while also holding an appeal with the general audience. Command & Conquer and Starcraft do this, as does X-COM – but a lot of turn-based strategy games tend to cater to a very specific audience. Audiovisual splendor is eschewed in favor of gameplay depth, and the experience often resembles that of a board game. Total War is different, with high quality visuals and audio throughout the entire game while retaining an immense level of depth.
Part of Total War’s strength is that you don’t need to go into twenty different layers of tactical depth to win, but it allows you to do so should you feel the desire to tweak the outcome of your campaign even more. Attila is no different, for there is a staggering amount of detail available to you as you build your empire, conduct politics and wage war. Stats can be altered by the items that you wear and acquire, or even by the partner choices you make. And no, I’m not referring to peace treaties – I’m referring to marriage. Though some might consider those to be one and the same, I suppose.
None of these elements are all that new to those familiar with the series, though Creative Assembly has reintroduced some of the political depth that went ‘missing’ in Rome II. The main new elements come from the titular Hun that the game is named after. When starting out, the Huns aren’t part of an empire like that of the Romans – but they are also far less city/settlement-oriented. More nomadic in nature, your forces are far more mobile and have to bring a certain level of cunning to the battle. If you don’t, you’ll quickly find that the odds are stacked against you and your conquest will turn into an uphill battle. In fact, expect a harder experience with more of a buildup anyway, because you start off relatively empty-handed.
Total War: Attila marks the first truly new ‘era’ for the series since 2010’s Napoleon edition, and though the main changes aren’t as grand as one would hope – the core mechanics still work wonderfully well and the gameplay style that the Huns provide truly is a new one. However, one problem that has plagued the series for a number of years now hasn’t been rectified – and that’s a need for balancing and patching for the initial release. Although a lot of familiar issues from previous games have been fixed (as they have been in those games through rigorous patching), certain problems – like pathfinding bugs – still keep popping up that suggest that this game could’ve been left in the oven just a little bit longer.
Nevertheless, Creative Assembly have shown their dedication in ironing out these bugs in their previous games, so there’s no reason for us to not recommend Total War: Attila. Who knows, by the team you read this, the first post-release updates might be available already.
CPU: Intel 3770K
Video: Asus GTX 660 Ti
Installed on: Kingston HyperX SSD drive
RAM: 24 GB DDR 3, Kingston HyperX Fury series