Going to war for the first time.
Let me begin by stating that before taking on this title, I have never once played a Total War game in my life.
I’ve known of its existence, but for one reason or another I never felt the desire to check it out.
Now that I have, I feel a bit conflicted.
On one hand, I can see why others might like this long running series. On the other, this is as far away from my cup of tea as a jar of horseradish.
Multiplayer: Lan/Online Co-Op and Versus.
Played: 12~ hours.
Attempting to describe ATTILA as a game in one particular genre would be a fool’s errand, as it has elements of RTS, RPG, War games and many more.
In the grand campaign mode, the player is tasked with long term goals to meet in order to reach a “win state”, which isn’t so different from the Civilization games.
The different playable cultures all offer a variety of pros and cons, along with a unique starting point.
The titular newcomer to the series is the fierce and nomadic Huns, and given their place in history, it goes without saying that they play very differently from the other cultures.
They specialize in mounted combat, and have very little interest in taking over cities as much as they are in the wholesale pillaging and scorching of the earth.
It was equal parts satisfying as it was horrifying to watch a city and all the fertile grounds surrounding it burn down into an uninhabitable wasteland.
But before the pillaging and burning, there must be a battle – and what battles we have.
I’m very familiar with RTS titles like Starcraft, where the might of one army faces off against another, but I have never seen a battle of the scale and magnitude that I witnessed in ATTILA. Thousands of soldiers fighting for their lives on a wide open battlefield were quite the sight to behold.
Unfortunately, while the scene was epic, the actual management of the units felt a bit sluggish, as moving units across such a wide battlefield took quite a while, even with the fast-forward option.
Properly managing the units required that I stay zoomed out as far as possible to get a good view of the battlefield but that also meant that I was controlling an army of tiny little ants.
Instead of an epic conflict between two armies, it made me feel like I was staring at an isolated ant colony, and I quickly became bored.
Worse yet, it took over a minute to load into each battle which was beginning take a toll on my patience.
Luckily, I found later that there was a way to automatically resolve conflicts but it felt a shame, all the same.
Also, contrary to the title, Total War: ATTILA isn’t just about the War.
There’s also technology to research, buildings to create, people to feed, generals to manage and the list goes on and on. -It’s extensive, to the point that even after I finished the lengthy tutorial, I still had very little idea of all the things that I had to manage.
Lastly, the reason this review is listed for “Single Player” is because while I waited for launch day to try to test out the multiplayer campaign/versus modes, I was unable to find a single match.
This leads me to believe that either not a single soul was trying out multiplayer on launch day (which seems unlikely) or there’s an incompatibility between the retail/review copies of the game, so I’ll hold my opinion on the multiplayer aspect of this title.
Playing ATTILA has taught me that this is a series that has a lot going for it.
The scale of the battles, the depth of the seemingly innumerable mechanics all point to well-crafted title, but if I were to never play a Total War game again, I’d be perfectly fine with that.
Fun Tidbit: While it made sense that I try out the Huns as they’re the title culture, it actually made things more complicated since much of what I learned in the tutorial did not apply to them.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.