|This is a /v/ related article, which we tolerate because it's relevant and/or popular on /tg/... or we just can't be bothered to delete it.|
Total War is a wargaming franchise based upon movement of groups of units on a battlefield map, and manoeuvring armies in an overlay map. In many ways the series is reminiscent of tabletop wargames, which has made it a popular subject for discussion on /tg/. That and having a rather great Warhammer trilogy among its catalogue.
Note that due to being a huge participant in the DLC craze, as well as the...lacklustre, let's say, quality of some entries in the franchise the game has become quite Skubby in many circles, although when detractions are brought up others are quick to claim modding makes up for it, others say any game you have to mod is shit, which prompts references to games like Fallout and Vampire: The Masquerade, which results in the reply that those games are bad as well and since Medieval II is a better game that means Total War is by default objectively bad, which is when the conversation devolves into name calling and Warhammer 40k reaction images. Yeah...
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Games
- 2.1 Total War: Shogun
- 2.2 Total War: Medieval
- 2.3 Total War: Rome
- 2.4 Total War: Medieval II
- 2.5 Total War: Empire
- 2.6 Total War: Napoleon
- 2.7 Total War: Shogun II
- 2.8 Total War: Rome II
- 2.9 Total War: Attila
- 2.10 Total War: Warhammer
- 2.11 Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia
- 2.12 Total War: Three Kingdoms
- 2.13 Total War Saga: Troy
Total War has two main features: Turn-Based strategy on the campaign map, and Real-Time strategy on the battle map.
In the campaign map, you must manage your economy, keep the peace amongst your subjects, ally, trade, or war with other nations for vital resources, assassinate your rivals, and crush brigands and pirates as soon as they show their filthy hides. In other words, you're pretty much playing Game of Thrones, without the ice demons or dragons (unless you're playing Total War: Warhammer or a modification).
In the battle map, you must prove yourself a genius of tactics with the battle gameplay giving an approximation of units' morale, fatigue, facing and ammunition rather than a bunch of doodz that you'll frequently just all select and then attack-move toward enemies until either they or yours are dead in other real-time strategy games. The rules pretty much work like this throughout most of the titles save for Empire, Napoleon and Fall of the Samurai (which puts a period-relevant focus on gun-armed line infantry instead):
- Spear Infantry: Great for bracing and taking down charging cavalry, but only do OK against melee infantry, though use of formations such as phalanx and other kinds of shieldwalls can even up the odds. Usually best if placed on the flanks. (Which, of course, is strange, considering the fact that the spear was the mainstay of most ancient and medieval armies, as moderately trained blokes armed with a spear, a shield, a helmet, and inexpensive padded jacks/gambesons usually made up the biggest portion of most armies.)
- Melee Infantry: The hard heart of your strength. These are used to form the main line most of the time, as well as the reserves, and are absolutely vital in siege assaults due to the inability of spear infantry to use formations on the walls. Usually tanky with decent defensive stats to grind down the enemy and pin them in place for whatever shenanigans you have planned. Good against spear infantry, can hold its own against most cavalry except when charged by shock cavalry or withered down by archers. Usually pretty useless vs horse archers except as pincushions.
- Shock Infantry: The big blokes with big weapons. Typically armed with huge axes, poleaxes or two handed swords. But can also have other weapons such as sword n board but being bat shit crazy enough to be considered shock infantry regardless. Work as a foot version of shock cavalry and will usually be charging around flanks or bashing their way through infantry lines. Will usually destroy the things they charge and take less micro than shock cavalry since they'll have the numbers to smash through other infantry with a flanking attack, but with high attack and less defense they are especially vulnerable to archers and cavalry charges themselves.
- Ranged Infantry: Your slingers, archers, javelin men, and crossbowmen. These guys are extremely useful for softening up an enemy force or clearing out a wall of defenders. Be warned, however, that they are very vulnerable to most forms of cavalry. Place them behind your main line if you value them. Generally, slingers are the best for dealing with enemy ranged units, archers have a quick rate of fire and can set arrows on fire for more damage though at the cost of rate of fire, javelinmen deal the most damage in short time but have limited ammo and range and crossbowmen can penetrate armor but reload slowly and aren't that effective without a clean line of sight. And then there's England and its longbowmen which can turn every battle into Agincourt. One can also get access to matchlock guns late game in Medieval II and Shogun II, which practically ignore armor and shred morale, though naturally take a while to reload.
- Pike Infantry: A virtual wall of death for anyone foolish enough to charge head on. The best thing to use for defending a narrow choke-point or holding a battle-line. Immune to cavalry from the front but very scared of archers and generally are only barely better than ranged infantry when flanked.
- Ranged Cavalry: Your horse archers, primarily. These guys are great for flanking shots, ambushes, and harassing the enemy. They are vulnerable to the faster light cavalry and will get shredded by foot archers however.
- Light Cavalry: Primarily the scouts and vanguard of the army. Useful for quick movement around the map harassing and killing soft targets like skirmishers, artillery and horse archers, or chasing down routing foes. Not great for direct charges but can be great at rear ramming.
- Melee Cavalry: The jack of all trades of cavalry. Can charge units decently enough but preferably in the flanks or rear unless they are light. Will beat most shock cavalry in a melee fight.
- Shock Cavalry: Your knights, cataphracts, and mounted men-at-arms. These are the hammers to your melee infantry's anvil, breaking a foe like water upon rock. Used primarily for exploiting gaps in enemy lines, charging into the rear of an unsuspecting foe, or flanking attacks. Depending on the game, they can also go straight at anything without a spear and watch them die beneath lances and hooves on their charge, but probably then have to withdraw for another go or they'll get ground down by any serious infantry unit (even without spears).
- Artillery: Ballistae, Scorpions, Onagers/Mangonels, and Trebuchets, mostly, with the odd cannon here or there. Used mostly for smashing down some poor chap's walls, though it is also useful for flinging hate at an enemy during a field battle, And possibly killing their leader in one shot, completely ruining the battle.
- Siege Engines: Ladders, battering rams, and siege towers, used for getting through those pesky things called battlements.
- Special Units: Any number of units not in the aforementioned lists, such as war dogs, incendiary pigs, and most importantly, elephants. Hilariously, elephants make for excellent distractions.
Players can use any number of tactics from actual battles of yore, such as hammer and anvil, forcing an enemy to turn his flank to you, Mongol-style shenanigans, etc.
With the release of Total War: Warhammer, it introduced even more special units with even more specialty (being a fantasy setting and all). These are:
- Monsters: usually have sixteen models or less in a unit. They are taller and bigger than an average human sized model, having high health pool per models and most of them deal great armor piercing damage meaning, they are fucking dangerous and they tend to be the number one priority and are targeted by the likes of ranged units like crossbows. Having larger models mean they can be targeted by even more enemy models in melee combat. But having the ability to hurt armored units as well as having a lot of health meaning they are good against high tier armored units like the Empire Greatswords unit. They gets countered hard by units with Anti-Large trait like cavalry so it is best to have them fight side by side with high model count units like a low tier infantry unit. It's also noted that some monsters tend to be very dumb and cowardly like trolls which results in them routing most of the time, but they have regeneration ability so it's actually a good way for them to heal back up. Most monster units also have the fear trait and terror trait, which helps them rout enemy units as well as not to be terrified of enemy units with the same traits. If they have ranged attacks those are treated as artillery fire, being impossible to block and causing morale penalties.
- Flying Monsters/Infantry: The newest addition to the Total War franchise available only in Total War: Warhammer. They have the ability to fly so they are safe from the feel of cold steels shoved into their spleen, but are vulnerable to the likes of range units, especially the fast projectile range units like hand gunners. Due to their ability to ignore terrains and melee units, they are often tasked with raiding enemies artillery line or range units. The fell bats of the Vampire Counts are designed for this purposes. Since they are not obstructed from anything, it is easy for them to charge into enemy line like Calvary, especially for the likes of dragons and wyvern(an orc boss mount) who possessed fear and terror trait. Total War: Warhammer 2 gave dragons breathe attack and it can deal a fuck ton of damage from up in the air to anyone that is blob up.
- Lords/Heroes: Every army has a lord. But in likes of Warhammer, they are single unit entity with the health equivalent to a units with 90 models or so. Your agents from the campaign map can be embedded into your army and served as model killing machines. These special single entity units can cause a shock wave of area of effect damage every time they attack and are much more powerful than a regular unit. Although they are still single unit entities, meaning that they can be easily surrounded and hit by many other enemy models if there's no sufficient back up. Casters are a type of hero who cast the lore of magic from the tabletop games. They are single unit entities too but most of them are unsuited for melee combat due to their low health and low melee attack.
Total War: Shogun
somewhat obscure unknow to underage b8 game in the series, but set a good standard for the rest to come. Difficult as fuck, as early rebellions spawned enough forces to overrun even major clans, and an assassin unit called Geisha was so overpowered, legendary Geishas could off entire Dynasties giving the Ordo Assassinarium a hard on.
20 years later, while the game is archaic, it's still challenging as all fucks. You might be a TW grog and this game will still tear you a new one (or two), because despite being very rudimentry in gameplay optiosn, it also means it's far, far easier to fuck-up or get fucked-up. Graphics are, well, 20 years old, the hell you were expecting? Everyone has the exact same units, no variety included, but that also means you don't need to memorise gorillion of troops or check wikia non-stop (something that modern TW games are guilty off) to know what you are facing and what to expect. Diplomacy... eh, just conquer them, ok? Also, unlike Shogun 2, this one offers you to deal with the Dutch, rather than Portugese, which means all the western dakka without the western preachers.
Comes with Mongol Invasion expansion, with the premise of the lucky storm never sinking the Mongolian fleet. You either fight as the shogunate, controlling all of Japan (at least in first turn), or Mongolian horde, which controls 1 province (at least in first turn). Unless you are a big fan of cavalry charges and counter-charges, not the best expansion.
Total War: Medieval
Much larger strategy map and benefited from better graphics for 2002. Improved politics and strategy. Truth be told, the cleanest, lowest system requiring, simplest and most user friendly interface in strategic management screen of the series.
Comes with Viking Invasion expansion, which allows to play in early medieval Britain during the times of heptarchy. Potentially more interesting than the baseline game, if you'd rather play skirmishes that depend on your skills, rather than throwing on bunch of enemy peasants your elite armies.
Total War: Rome
Rome: Total War tells us there were once Italians with a competent military. What greater fiction could there be?-Youtube
Rome: Total War takes place in the era of Classical Antiquity, just before the beginning of the First Punic War. The campaign setting is that of the Ancient Euro-Mediterranean world, with its borders stretching from the coast of Portugal to the West, just past the Caspian Sea to the Northeast, and the edge of the Sahara to the South.
Players have the choice to take control of a variety of factions, from the Elephant-riding Carthaginians, to the fierce and savage Barbarians of Iron Age Europe (Celts, Germans, steppe nomads, etc.), the pike phalanxes of the Hellenic States and Egypt, the superb cavalry of the Parthians, and finally the wrecking ball legions of Rome herself.
Interestingly enough in the campaign, Rome is actually divided into four factions; the House of Julii, who focus on the northern barbarians and securing Western Europe for Rome, the House of Brutii, whom primarily are concerned with expanding Rome Eastward and thus are in conflict with Macedon, the Greek city-states, and the Eastern kingdoms, the House of Scipii, whom vie with Carthage and Egypt for control of the Mediterranean and are focused on securing Africa for Rome, and finally the Senate itself, whom directly control Rome and thus boss around the Three Houses into doing their bidding (and unfortunately no, you can't play the Senate faction and boss people around). The advantage to this is that you only have to worry about attacks from a single direction, as the other Romans quite literally have your backs. The disadvantage is that if one House becomes too popular and decides to march to Rome to declare himself Imperator, then a huge civil war breaks out among the families, with a huge player determined battle taking place near Rome, usually. The worst part was that the Senate initially gives you free missions to expand into the world with handsome rewards, and as time goes on, the missions start having no rewards...but instead, punishments for neglecting. When all three factions cover the whole world, Senate gives you obscene missions, the final one that you have to kill yourself. Yes. That's the moment you realize that Senate must have been storing their wine on lead pots and if you have a brain, start the civil war or sacrifice an incompetent ruler to earn a few turns of preparation time. (And considering that ALL three factions at this point had conquered the FUCKING WORLD, basically you start an onslaught worthy of Khornate worship.)
The game was also very historically inaccurate with Gaul, Germania, Britannia, Scythia, and the Greek Cities all being one unified faction (from a gameplay perspective, this is a game balance to ensure that each faction has at least more than one province to start out with so that they don't immediately get steamrolled). The Egyptian units are all based on New Kingdom Egypt when by the year 272 B.C, the Greco-Macedonian Ptolemy's were ruling Egypt, Rome's lands being divided into three separate factions (though Rome being a Republic with decentralised rule makes sense), Greek Hoplites wielding fucking pikes like Macedonian phalangites (to be fair, many Greeks at this time did adopt Macedonian tactics, but the models and formations are still closer to pre-Alexander hoplites), and the Parthians looking like they were ripped off of Miller's racist depiction of Achaemenid Persia even though Parthians were more central Asiatic than Iranian around that time. But perhaps the biggest (and coolest) inaccuracy is a special little easter egg, where if you manage to get an army all the way north past a massive forest, you'll discover the home of the Amazons, Themyscira. Yes, the fucking Amazons are in this game and not on your side.
Also of note are the two expansion packs; Alexander (takes place during Alexander the Great's conquest of the Middle East and Central Asia and sadly only lets you play as Alexander.), and Barbarian Invasion (takes place during the Germanic Migrations). The latter was an incredible update around the time of Hunnic invasions and all factions save for Rome were polished to perfection, including the new Horde system: Basically "nomadic factions" have their population start as "horde units" who are soldiers in loose formation, one guy per 3 population units. The "nomads" are fleeing before the similarly "horde" Huns and end up dog piling the Romans who had fuck-all armies (even when you were rich, Roman armies are at least 3 times as expensive to maintain and recruit with half the stats!) to fight them off. Notable for the Sassanids, Parthians' grandchildren being monstrously overpowered in the strategic screen: fertile and stable middle east, Germanic Migrations ruining your enemies, Clibinarii cavalry who are basically Iranian Mongols who wore armor fit for a Dreadnought, wielded maces AND composite bows, and a safe Map edge to expand.
This game is either: The best Total War game ever and no other Total War game will ever supersede it because it was the first I played and all the current games suck because its not a remake of it.
It is a great game. In 2004. But now it's just a mess that hasn't aged well and literally every aspect of it sucks compared to all games released after it and the only people who like it are a bunch of nostalgic neckbeards who still wish it were the early 2000s.
With mods such as Europa Barbarorum and Roma Surrectum, it is still a fantastic game both in terms of graphics and gameplay.
N.B.. The game is so simple from a graphical point of view that is had been ported to the I Pad, making it light years ahead of most of the competitors on the platform.
Total War: Medieval II
Continuing on the success of it's predecessor, Rome, Medieval 2 is probably just as good as the previous title. The setting is that of the Old World in the aftermath of William's conquest of England, with the Americas showing up near the campaign's end as the Age of Discovery begins in earnest. Features England, Scotland, France, Holy Roman Empire, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Milan, Venice, Hungary, Sicily, Poland, Russia, Byzantine Empire, Turks, Moors and Ayyubid Egyptians as the playable factions, with Papal States, Mongols, Timurids and Aztecs also featured as unplayable factions.
Each turn took 2 years sucking hard, but the plague was an interesting new event.
Heavy cavalry is also pure unadulterated broken lulz, with a general's bodyguard being able to handle half of an early, poor-quality army by itself (and if the general's Dread is high, they might be able to handle it all by itself), with only good quality spears, pikes and kiting horse archers being able to hope to deal with them. Oh, and expect Milan to backstab you, which is a bit of a meme to this day.
Out of all the Total War titles, this one spawned the most mods, including several highly valued ones such as Third Age: Total War (a mod that transforms the setting into that of Middle-Earth on the outbreak of the War of the Ring), Broken Cresent which moves from Europe to the Middle East, and Central Asia from the Third Crusade to the Fall of Canstantinople. and Call of Warhammer: Beginning of the End Times (a mod that turns the game into as close a recreation of Warhammer Fantasy as possible given the game engine's capabilities), the latter serving as a pretty viable alternative if your PC is too old or weak to run CA's official, well-made adaptation (see below). While a few individuals see this as superior to the official Warhammer Total War, they are usually laughed at by crowds posting images of barely animated (and awfully modelled) griffons, and an extremely archaic spellcaster system. And then there's the Planet War mod which is on more than a few drugs, featuring units such as godzillas, armies of ogres led by Captain Shrek and teletubbies riding T-rexes throwing watermelons that explode. Everything after MTWII bar Shogun 2 and Warhammer tends to be seen as having serious flaws to many grognards.
It also includes the kingdoms expansion which adds a bunch of new campaigns to the the game as well as new factions and units. These's the Americas campaign, focusing on the Spanish conquest of the New World in the early 16th century, featuring factions such as the Aztecs, Mayans, Apaches and of course the Spanish led by Hernán Cortés, the Britannia campaign, which focuses on many different crises faced by England in the mid 13th century, featuring the expected England, Scotland, Wales and Irish as the factions but also Norway, the Crusades campaign which focuses on the Third and Fourth Crusade, featuring crusader states, saracen states and the Byzantine Empire as the factions with some surprise visits by the Mongols and Venetians and is also notable for introducing hero units to the series with heroes such as King Richard and Saladin, and the Teutonic campaign, focusing on the Northern Crusades featuring the eternally badass Teutonic knights while also featuring Lithuania, Holy Roman Empire, Poland, Novgorod and most interestingly Denmark, which by conquering certain cities and killing the king of unplayable Norway is capable of creating the Kalmar Union. There's also the Mongols of the Golden Horde the player has to contend with.
The Mongols are featured in the campaign map, they are: A) absolute monsters to fight (as they should be),and B) Not available as a playable campaign faction, only as a custom battle faction. C) motherfucking TIMURIDS. Yes, a second wave of Mongols arrived with cannon-mounted elephants. ELEPHANT TANKS MAN. SERIOUSLY.
A big downside to the game is that when playing as a catholic faction (which is most factions), you have to deal with the pope, who can be real annoying to deal with. When fighting against another catholic faction, eventually the Pope will come to tell you that you must stop fighting against your fellow catholics or you will be excommunicated, which is undesirable as not only will it make it more difficult to manage your cities, as your population are not exactly happy about being ruled by an excommunicated king but excommunication also makes it possible for a crusade to be called against you, forcing you to fight the whole catholic christendom. The bad part is that the pope can demand you to stop fighting quite soon after a war has begun, in fact it is sometimes even possible for it to happen the very next turn after war was declared, when you were sieging a city but couldn't yet start the attack as it takes a turn to build siege equipment unless you brought artillery with you.
But probably the biggest downside to the game is the inability to choose the timepoint at which to start the game, made even more baffling due to the fact that Medieval 1 allowed the player to choose from early period (1087), high period (1205) and the late period (1321). It is simply too easy to win the game long before the late game and many people probably did not even know that Timurids, the New World and early gunpowder weapons even are in the game because of this for the longest time. In fact, it is easily possible to win even before getting full access to some of the best pre-gunpowder units like feudal knights and trebuchets.
Total War: Empire
Good old Enlightenment Era and Revolutions with authentic voice acting for nations.
Here marks the descent of CA into darkness, as minor issues with playability, a lacklustre musical score, and the beginnings of infamous DLC craze that would be cranked up to eleven with later titles such as Rome 2, all start to crop up during the game. This is probably the least popular entry in the series by modern eyes (not considering the even older titles that probably the majority of Total War players at this point haven't even played), and even its fans are probably going to say "The game's great, but only with mods."
The setting itself is during the Age of Colonialism, during the 18th and early 19th Century just before the rise of repeating firearms. Unlike in previous titles, emphasis is less on melee combat and more on 'shooting the fuck out of the other guys until they die', city management, industry, and research, making decaying martial empires like Ottomans need dire reforms to get back on track. Also the game had a crude, but entertaining commercial, colonial and societal system, changing to a new order with industrialisation.
The societal evolutions of the era were played well: modernisation, factories and research for new technology made lower class citizens want extra entertainment, and republics rather than kingdoms. Upper class populations just want to stay in power and low taxes. Either social strata revolting meant a choice: one could side with loyalists or rebels in a do-or-die mini campaign, winners changing the government and leadership. Research buildings would also bring modernisation demands and new researcher characters by default. Also, new technologies make the lower classes demand extra happiness or liberty in republic form. So you *could* stay a totalitarian kingdom, but either have to make do with few technologies and end up swiss cheese, or spend extra money and effort for bread and circuses and garrison suppression.
A special campaign called "The Road to Independence" unlocks the United States as a playable faction, finally giving Amerifags their long awaited chance to spread freedom to the unwashed masses all over the world. Manifest Destiny, bitches!
Crunch-wise: FUCKING MARATHA AND MOTHERFUCKING MORTARS WITH PERCUSSION CAPS DAMNIT.
Total War: Napoleon
Take everything about Empire, get rid of the bad stuff, and make better the good. That is Napoleon: Total War in a nutshell (though Empire definitely still has the advantage of a much larger map if you're really into that). It also helps that the short man himself delivers one amazing monologue.
Even though the title should be self explanatory, the game takes place during the Napoleonic Wars that tore Europe apart for 12 years.
Total War: Shogun II
Shogun II takes place in Medieval Japan during the Sengoku period, although an expansion called Fall of the Samurai places players in the era of the Meiji Restoration.
Many see Shogun 2 as the last subjectively good Total War title. Complaints were mostly focused on the long load times and the fact there's very little variation between the factions you can play other than their bonuses and start location, although given the period to do anything radically different would have been unfitting. Particularly an event called Realm Divide turned the violence up to eleven: After a certain amount of player expansion, *every* other clan would unify against you just to deny victory by any means necessary. Put as a method to prevent a snowballing victory, it became a Skub matter amongst gamers for arbitrarily having pretty much all of the AI gang up on you to stop you and rather invalidating diplomacy or bothering to make vassals of anyone, though it has some basis in reality with the Sengoku period being full of political backstabbing (though probably not literally everyone else against one clan...) and can be easily worked around with the prior knowledge by getting almost enough territory to trigger Realm Divide and sitting around building up your armies and stockpiling cash to deal with losing significant territory to the inevitable doomstacks before you place the straw to break the camel's back.
Notably, the game received a second life from the modding community and Steam Workshop support.
A tabletop game quite similar to Shogun 2 is Kensei.
The game had 2 expansions, the first being Rise of the Samurai which was basically the vanilla campaign with a 500 years prior flavour, and the second being Fall of the Samurai which is considered to be one of the best expansions for a total war game to date, with many fans of the expansion pack calling it the better-version of the Empire entry of the series. It is essentially a game of that one movie where Tom Cruise becomes a samurai, but is much more accurate than the film as all sides possess modern (by 1870's standards) weaponry including gatling guns, which when added to a game automatically increase its inherent quality because gatling guns are awesome. Icing on the cake is that *you* can control gatling guns and artillery units, giving the game an extra, unbalanced but fun feature. If you're disgustingly rich you can also hire US Marines.
Also you can fire across the map using ships and calling artillery strikes to shred entire armies if the timing is right, preventing turtling by a huge margin and forcing both sides to close in and get slugging as soon as possible. Also Realm Divide is fairer now: Pro-Shogunate and Pro-Imperial sides would ally *together* into two huge blocs to combat each other when it happens, and the player's choice would make him the "Shogunate/Imperial Vanguard" Faction and make every clan on his allegiance unbreakable allies...unless you want to declare yourself as an independent republic to get the old "absolutely everyone wants to murder you" treatment.
Total War: Rome II
Rome 2 was announced and everyone was hyped, but then it was released apparently in a broken state with DLC. Cue rage.
Now, 7 years later...is the game good? Well... kinda... at least it's finally bug free. The campaign was noted to be horrible, but at least multiplayer is better than base game Attila. Newfags and Oldfags are fighting over it like they do in every other game series. A better question to ask is: did Creative Assembly really "fall into darkness" with this game? The game was presumably rushed with the number of bugs it had, but those have mostly been fixed though it did take 2 years. And DLC, the game had 4 culture packs which added 3 factions each, the quality of those seem to vary from pack to pack. And a bunch of useless unit packs which were blatant money grabs, there was also 3 campaign packs which each added a mini-campaign that focused on a specific conflict and (save for Wrath of Sparta) added cultures pack worth of factions to the main campaign. There were also 6 Free-LC factions added while the game was being fixed, and a free campaign pack (Imperator Augustus) so maybe Creative Assembly has not become an evil corporation that cuts games to sell more DLC since one of those would not give free stuff. Pre-order factions are still scummy as hell. And even after all the bugs were fixed, snowballing is still probably among its worst out of the Total War games because Rome 2 doesn't really have a way to hope to challenge after you've gotten big, unlike Shogun 2's Realm Divide or Attila's...Attila. Unless another faction got really lucky or you've gotten extremely powerful politically among your faction which you'll generally kinda have to try to do by avoiding letting any other political factions' men become generals and gaining any influence (and with civil wars causing an army to spawn inside your borders and try to take your capital, why would you want to?) - looking for mods that improve AI's late-game power is advisable. Later patching revamped civil wars and made them more inevitable, but they're not really a problem with how easy it is to solve the issue of civil war (dismantle rival factions' armies, post your own armies nearby their territory, provoke into declaring war on you and then crush their non-existent military in the space of a few times).
On a more positive note, Rome 2 does get the history of Classical Antiquity more correct, namely that:
- The Roman Republic is now a unified, patriotic entity controlling most of Italia, though the wheeling and dealing between the Gens still exists
- The Greek city-states and European tribes are now independent of each other.
- The hoplites are actually hoplites now, and not phalangites (Granted, the city-states still use some pike units in the game, but this is now due to Macedonia's influence than anything)
- Mostly, the Egyptian faction now looks like it actually belongs in the Ptolemaic period, although some of their more crappy units still look like they belong with Ramses II than Cleopatra Philoraptor.
- Individual soldiers now look varied, as the concept of a modern uniform didn't really come into being until the late 17th Century.
- The Rome TV Series get a shitton of shoutouts down to retainers like Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus.
There are six expansions to the game: Caesar in Gaul (Gallic War), Hannibal at the Gates (Second Punic War), Imperator Augustus (Antony's Civil War), Wrath of Sparta (Peloponnesian War), Empire Divided (3rd Century Crisis), and Rise of the Republic (Early Republican Era). This makes the game by far the Total War game with the longest post-launch support.
Overall, it is nowhere near as bad as it was on launch and these days one can even make the argument that it is the best Total War game, something no one would have even considered back then.
Total War: Attila
Like Napoleon before it, in regards to Empire, it ironed out many of the flaws found in Rome 2, and is considered a good entry into the series, albeit with the difficulty cranked up to eleven, due to the fact that the game is less focused on building and maintaining an empire and more on surviving the wrath of Attila the Hun, Daemon Prince of Khorne, and rebuilding your cities and economy after the Apocalypse passes, but your civilisation are permanently diminished by the changing weather and religious climate, with only the mythical relics of it's founders left. The main criticism being the ridiculously aggressive DLC policies Sega's been doing. The DLC is generally all over the place, ranging from mediocre - Celtic tribes culture pack - to downright great in terms of gameplay offered -empires of the sand or the slavic cultures pack- CA also releases a free to play faction in the same culture group for the DLC they release, with the exception of the celts. And again, though the title should be self explanatory, the game takes place during the Fall of the Western Roman Empire (hence the apocalyptic feel of the campaign), with one expansion taking place during Belisarius' campaign to reclaim Italy( In all honesty, it's kind of a 'meh' DLC.), and the other taking place during Charlemagne's conquest of Western Europe 400 years after the events of the base game, in the Early Medieval Period.(This one was noted to be quite good, with good balance to actual battle mechanics, more reasonable AI behavior, great multiplayer, and a setting perfect for those yearning for Medieval 3.)
Also reintroduced and remade the Horde play-style from Rome: Barbarian Invasion. Now instead of a faction just spawning a bunch of stacks out of nowhere when their last settlement is taken. Horde factions can switch between in encamped stance where they set up camp to build migratory buildings and a regular army stance. Playing as a horde is also completely different since you do not have any home territories and are constantly moving from place to place. This will inevitably make people around you like you less since you crash on their couch and eat all the food in their fridge, unless you vassalise them. It is one of the major features of the expansion, and it provides the player with a new way to play a faction instead of settling down like in previous game.
Cavalry is also only slightly less nutso than in Medieval 2, with even ranged cavalry standing a very good chance of beating actual spear/melee infantry if successfully charging them while they're not braced/in the flanks or rear, though the game's flanking penalties are so severe that even cavalry will probably take significant losses from breaking off from a successful rear charge.
However, the game DOES have its flaws, namely in that the base game, the AI has a ridiculous tendency to default to the "Raze" option when capturing new settlements, meaning that by 300 or so turns into the game, three-quarters of the map is already desolate wastelands,(although it was toned down a lot by the end of the game's product cycle) and the stupidly high required specs to run Attila smoothly on even average settings. CA has stated that the game was designed for future graphics cards (If you want a game with amazing graphics on launch you had to be prepared to fork over several thousand dollars for a high-end gaming computer, but six years post later and thanks to Moore's law it's more manageable) The game's actual visual design itself is also a bit Skub with some finding it utterly brown, drab and boring, unlike, say, Shogun 2 where the entire game still looks beautiful years after and only people that don't care for it in that regard just don't care for its setting in general. Though one could certainly make the argument that the visual design of the game fits the grimdark tone of the game.
For added irony, while in the original release Attila was considered superior and better version of Rome 2, this is also why unlike Rome 2, it never got proper support over the years. This means that few years down the line, Rome 2 is far better game, with competent AI, close to no bugs and running smoothly and grand majority of its issue solved one way or another, while Attila leaves all newfags puzzled how it has the opinion of being not only better than Rome 2, but simply good at all.
The real reason the series has such relevance on /tg/. A Warhammer Fantasy Total War game (nicknamed Total Warhammer by fans, even before the game was officially announced, and probably bemoaned by a few to this day that it wasn't the official title). Due to the debacle and shitstorm that was and is End Times and Age of Sigmar, many Fantasy fans heralded the game as the last great stand of Warhammer Fantasy. Then they heard of the Chaos faction was announced to be DLC, and the reveal that the pre-order was full of Dorf goods. Cue butthurt on the part of Chaos fans, and triumphant glee from the long-suffering Dwarf fans who were soon joined by Bretonnian players as their faction was announced as a free DLC (soothing the pain of being entirely squatted in Age of Sigmar somewhat). Chaos was later made free to anyone who pre-ordered the game or bought it in the first week of release.
Besides being the first game based entirely on a fictional setting, this is also the first time it will feature air units, tanks, magic, and so on.
The game was met with almost unanimous praise both from Warhammer Fantasy fans and the
/v/irgins video gaming community with many saying it is the most entertaining, or at least unique, Total War game to date. Campaign was extremely well received, known to be fun, and challenging at the same time, as this time, the horde has more realistic behaviors, unlike Attila who raped everyone with the armies appearing from thin air. Instead, Archaon would just spank you with the armies that spawned out of nowhere. but CA managed to fuck up the multiplayer balance yet again. Games Workshop rushed to put a link to sites to purchase the game on their main page along with a link to the models featured in the game...which consisted of only nine models thanks to massive Squatting of the Fantasy range only months before, almost all in the $50-$90 range, and the named character now simply called generic names with absolutely no realization that any fans of the game visiting the section would be wanting the tools and paints as well.
Warhammer Fantasy fans on /tg/ were quick to explain to inquisitive cross-board visitors how the tabletop of Fantasy was destroyed in favor of a...vastly different game and were pointed towards early editions/The 9th Age and alternative companies to buy similar looking models from.
Total War: Warhammer was announced to going to be a trilogy, an entirely logical decision for CA since its first game was definitely their most popular. The announcement of the sequel caused massive butthurt in fans of more historical settings, even after CA stated and teased a bit about how they've got separate teams working on expansions for their previous historical titles and a whole new one. Despite already covering the vast majority of canonical armies by the launch of game 2, CA has shown an excellent job of representing underdeveloped armies, signaling the possibility of creating entire workable factions for those that never saw the limelight when Warhammer Fantasy was still around. With only so many booked armies left for game 3, this may indeed be the case.
The Warhammer games certainly aren't without their controversies, particularly in the Total War community. Many older fans and newer historical fans think that historical Total War is the only real Total War, that fantasy games are nothing but an obstacle that means it takes longer to get new historical games. On the other side you have people who either never cared about the series before Warhammer and still don't or people who played Total War before Warhammer and now believe that historical settings don't work anymore and fantasy is the future of the series, common argument being along the lines "why would i just want regular dudes and cavalry charges when i can have magic and fucking dragons", argument which of course ignores the fact that a lot of people dislike fantasy for those very reasons. Regardless of ones personal opinions on the matter, there is no denying that the Total War community isn't as united after Warhammer as it once was.
Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia
A "Saga" game based on Attila's engine set during the Viking Age on the British Isles soon after Danelaw start fighting against Wessex again. With a large variety of changes to the series' formula in recent years and a bit of a rough release even in its supporters' eyes, it is very, very, very Skub.
Total War: Three Kingdoms
The latest Total War game takes place in the infamous Three Kingdoms period in China, as well as the second Total war series that sets in Asia ( Shogun series being the first for sets in ancient-16th Japan). The initial reaction to this game's sudden teaser was so popular that it made even the Total War: Warhammer fans to forget about the upcoming Tomb Kings expansions for Total War: Warhammer 2.
Sorry Settra. SETTRA IS NOT TO BE IGNORED!! SETTRA. DEMANDS. ATTENTION!!. Turns out there will be a dueling system for lords to shank each other in melee without being interrupted. Losing the duel incurs penalties while winning grants advantages. The gameplay is also character focused, where the player gets to control many special characters at once with many units serving under each of them. All of these characters have personality traits, moods and stuff like that which makes them compatible/incompatible with others in your court - so the Ambitious Vanguard may end up hating the Humble Strategist you put him with. Another cool new feature is revamping the spying system; instead of generic agents being sent to investigate enemy armies and cities, your own characters can potentially be spies. Even better, if you discover a spy, you can potentially turn them into a double agent to feed false information to the enemy.
Interestingly, the game will offer two different modes; one that’s based more on the historical text of the period which is called "Records of the Three Kingdoms" which is generally regarded to be accurate, and one based on the book "Romance of the Three Kingdoms". The modes are unsurprisingly called "Records" and "Romance". One of the differences is that in Romance mode, unlike in Records mode, your lords will be able to have three powerful abilities and wipe the floor with any mooks who come after them (We are looking at you, Lu Bu), much like how it works in Total War: Warhammer. To the Rage of many fellows knowledgeable about the Three Kingdoms' period; the simulated naval battles are not going to be a mechanic within the game.
Funnily enough, this game also comes with a Day 1 DLC for the Yellow Turban Rebellion faction (You know, that mook faction you always gets to fight first in every Dynasty Warriors game?) like when Total War: Warhammer was released with their Warriors of Chaos DLC but without even the fig leaf of an excuse of the Chaos Warriors needing different animation models and rigs compared to other factions. As usual, CA has already receiving backlash in the form of dislikes on its release trailer just like the Chaos DLC. Will CA ever learn?
As of 2019 January, CA has tweeted that the development of Three Kingdoms will delay the Skaven vs. Lizardmen DLC Lord Pack until after Three Kingdoms release. The news angered many Warhammer fans, especially the Skaven player base since their faction's win-rate is so low that they can't win without their new ratling guns and jezzail toys. But the Lizardmen player base suffered the worst for not having any new content releases (even a legendary lord like Tretch) since the games release... which eventually turned to joy, and mockery of the historical fanbase, as CA eventually delayed Three Kingdoms and announced the DLC Lord Pack in question would be coming before it after all. Keep in mind this does not mean the fantasy DLC will be coming sooner as its release date or announcement date remain unchanged. It however gave the fantasyfag an advantage in their usual shitposting contest against the historyfag on /vg/'s /twg/ (total war general) thread. In short, both games were delayed. Remember when we said above that Total War community isn't as united as it once was? This is what it's like now.
Regardless of these controversies, the games actual release was a resounding success with Three Kingdoms being both the most pre-ordered and the fastest selling game in the franchise. While the multiplayer is (currently) a broken mess, the campaign has received massive praise by the community, particularly fact that it is much more heavy on politics, forming alliance etc, as simply conquering everything singlehandedly really isn't as simple as it is in most other games in the series. Some fans though, particularly fantasy-fans who for some reason decided to try out a historical game, criticized the battles because all the units are just way too similar to each other, even though that's to be expected when the game is set exclusively in a single country.
A new campaign DLC known as the Eight Princes which takes place 100 years after the three kingdom period in Jin dynasty, where the Sima clan now ruled China but had to deal with the tantrum and power struggles of its eight shitty spoiled brat of a princes, which were stirred in conflict by the historically world ugliest and evilest of all empress: Jia Nanfeng. As expected, the DLC was not well received due to the unpopular demand for a mini-campaign with the addition to no new units and animations added to the game.
A prequel DLC known as the Mandate of Heaven was announced. The new campaign takes place few years before the Three Kingdom period where Han Dynasty is barely holding on and Yellow Turban Rebellion is in its full swing. In this DLC, there are two major factions. There's the Han faction, AKA the Imperial Court lead by the Emprah of Han: Liu Han where you must fix your court by removing corrupt asshole bureaucrats from your court, managing your lands and killing traitor scums with your superior imperial armies led by your wife queen's half brother He Jin (since the Emperor can't leave the Imperial Palace). For the Experienced Total War players, this faction would remind them the clusterfuck known as the Western Roman campaign from Total War: Attila where the players had to deal with bureaucrats corruptions, Hunnic invasions while managing a bunch of fucking settlements thrown to your face at the start of the game, which are either being raid by the barbarian hordes, or in the process of rebellion. You can also play as the Yellow Turbans, lead by none other than Zhang Jue and his two other brothers Zhang Liang and Zhang Bao where you had setup a nifty base of operation up north of the yellow river where you are planning to overthrown the false emperor and return China to the heaven once more. You can also play as memorable heroes from three kingdoms back when they haven't made themselves heroes such as Cao Cao, Liu Bei, Sun Jian and Dong Zhuo (who is quite thin and handsome looking in this version).
Another new DLC called A World Betrayed was released. It adds a fuck load of new units, unique units, factions, mechanics and most importantly: making Lu Bu playable as a standalone faction. One of these unique units is called Camp Crushers, a powerful infantry unit that wields giant two-handed double edge sword, capable of cleaving infantries like butters and negate calvary charge, and it is recruitable only by Lu Bu, truly a unit worthy for the greatest warrior in its era.
A new expansion called The Furious Wild was revealed. This DLC introduced a new unique faction known as the Nanman, a whole 19 of them now populating the empty south west part of the map. Unlike the factions introduced up to this point, these savage boyz brings wild animals such as war elephant and tigers to the battlefield (also making three kingdom one of the historic games with monster Cavalries). Units with unorthodox weaponry such as poison dart blow piper and flaming axe wielder are also unqiue to the Nanman factions. Interestingly, the faction leader Meng Huo wasn't like the fat giant slab like he was depicted in many other media, but a men with red facial hair that duel wields blade, which makes him looking a lot like a certain god appointed eternal challenger. What's more is when combining the aforementioned war elephants and traits for being barbarians, this game might've just got themselves a Norsca (or Southca) faction with more leaning towards the Lizardmen faction (note the key stone tech tree they've stolen from the old one) from Total War: WARHAMMER.
The DLC "Fates Divided" will feature tons of free content (units, lords, playable lords and starting positions, mechanics rework, etc) as well as paid content. However, it mostly fixated its theme on the conflict between Cao Cao and Yuan Shao. An interesting note about these two lord's mechanic rework is how their new mechanics are straight "borrowed" from Total War: WARHAMMER, but specifically from the Skaven faction. Cao Cao will be able to use a mechanic called scheme to manipulated his opponent's army, lord or settlements, much like Snikch's mechanic. For Yuan Shao, he will be able to improving his infantry's stats just like Throt and Ikit's mechanic. Due to their changes, the entire DLC can be summarized as a Skaven civil war sets in Cathay. YES. YES.
Total War Saga: Troy
The most recent Total War game, this one taking place during the semi-historical Trojan War in late Bronze Age. They take a "truth in the myth" approach to the legends, which means no minotaurs but instead a huge hairy man wearing an oxen skull and a bronze axe. Needless to say, this has led to some amount of debate. Larger-than-life heroes like Ulysses, Hector and Achilles can duel each other a la Three Kingdoms, though with less restrictions.
Gameplay wise, it picks everything bad about Rome 2, Warhammer and Three Kingdoms, without any good elements of those three, then throw it into a blender and pours out a coctail of such revolting taste, everyone ended up gagging. Bugged up the wazoo, unbalanced and with amount of exploits and loopholes so huge, the game shattered already shaky hopes for itself at launch. Not helped by the fact it was given for free on Epic Game Store during premiere, so everyone could see, free of any charge, how god-awful bad it is without even having to wait for user reviews by unlucky bastards who wasted even a dime on this mess.
Currently, the most use this game has is memes about brain-dead AI and waifus. Mostly waifus.