Total War: Attila (review)

BreakingModern — We all remember the buggy and glitch-filled disaster that was Total War: Rome II.

That said, in many ways, the game from 2013 was very good. For example, it expanded upon features from the original Rome: Total War, replaced a generic “rebels” faction with many minor factions, added more playable factions, expanded on the campaign map and included lots of cool naval battles.

However, the game’s execution was extremely poor. It had innumerable bugs and glitches, including a lack of collision detection in amphibious landings, and lots of feature stripping in places such as the family tree. It is under such standards that Creative Assembly (CA) is being judged for its new release of Total War: Attila.

Total War: Attila

Does Total War: Attila rebound from the deficiencies of its predecessor? The quick answer is: yes.

What Do We Have Here?

Let’s start off with the features of the game. Just as Rome II was the next version of Rome: Total War, Attila is supposed to be the next version of its expansion Rome: Total War: Barbarian Invasion. A lot of people thought Total War: Attila couldn’t cut it as a standalone game. Many fans thought that Attila would have the same relationship with Rome II as Napoleon had with Empire; a game that should’ve been an expansion pack that basically runs on the same engine, and fixes none of the problems that the engine of the previous game had.

CA avoids this with Attila with some added features. First off, the company completely redid the horde mechanic found in Barbarian Invasion. Initially, the horde was just a faction on the move (basically a set of huge armies that didn’t have upkeep costs). Now each horde owns different buildings that are used to recruit and replenish depleted units. The horde also has the ability to help balance your economy.

That’s right, each horde needs a little bit of upkeep along the way. This makes playing as a horde more challenging than in Barbarian Invasion and may prompt some players to settle down. This new feature also allows the Huns to be a purely nomadic faction, being the only faction that is a permanent horde, giving new challenges to players.

Like in Real Life Integrity and Family Matter

Each general also has an integrity feature that measures the loyalty of that army. If you’re playing as a horde faction, integrity becomes even more important as the loss of enough integrity can cause the loss of that horde. Also, features removed from Rome II are back in the new edition, including the traits tree and the family tree.

With the return of the family tree, players can now role play with their generals again, watch them upgrade their skills and see the torch of their faction being passed from father to son. One nice feature CA added was the theme of destruction that came with this period of the fall of the Roman Empire. Late Antiquity was a time of desecration and destruction, and with a personality like Attila the Hun being the game’s poster boy, destruction is something that plays well with the game’s setting. Armies have the option of completely razing a settlement, and destroying everything in that settlement.

Also, fire feature was added. In siege battles, if a building catches fire, the fire can spread to nearby buildings and units. In addition, the game also includes some fairly difficult factions for veteran Total War gamers, including the Western Roman Empire, in the hardest scenario I’ve ever seen in any strategy game. You’re economically bankrupt, barbarian hordes swarming at your borders, and civil unrest in your provinces, not to mention you’re the largest starting faction, so you have to cover a huge tract of territory.

Good luck.

Total War: Attila

The interface of the game has changed in Attila. In the past, a battery of banners and flags and insignia cluttered up the screen. Now there’s simply a single icon hovering over your general’s head. Also during battles, instead of a waving guidon, enemy and allied troops are identified by color (red for the enemy and yellow for the good guys).

As a long-time fan of the Total War series, I’m a bit disappointed CA got rid of the old banners. It just seemed more colorful and fun. Plus, the flags helped with the game’s interface. On the topic of new factions, Total War: Attila does have slightly less factions than Rome II because of the position of the world at the time. The Roman Empire controlled most of the world, so the long end turn times are fixed in this game.

If I had to give this game a rating it would be an 8/10. Total War: Attila (available on Amazon in all formats) has improved on many of the discrepancies found in Rome II: Total War, while also adding back some removed features. Keep in mind, however, that the campaign can be very challenging. I wouldn’t recommend Total War beginners to dive straight into this. That being said, if you are a veteran of the series, this can be a very good game to play.

For BMod, I’m Puching Zhang.

All Screenshots: Puching Zhang

Puching Zhang

Author: Puching Zhang

Based in Chicago, Puching Zhang covers the gaming beat for BreakingModern.

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