Review by Sinroth
"Total War indeed"
Total War. The name implies a scene of utter chaos, thousands of people dying. That's what the total war series have been about, in a nutcase. From the islands of Japan, to Ancient Rome, each has covered a major time period in history, with a specialty of large scale battles.
Not the best, but it gets the job done. There is a bit of slowdown sometimes in battle, but nothing too serious. The campaign map is well down, with a risk-style map that looks like it was drawn by hand. It is well made, magnifying the smaller provinces in the seas, like Malta.
Nothing horrible, nothing spectacular. The campaign map sound is very calm and peaceful, which depicts the setting of peace before war.
The meat of the game. You start off, and you can manage your provinces, setting taxes, choosing governors, constructing buildings, and training armies. When ready, you can place your armies, which can be dragged into adjacent provinces, into an enemy territory, which forces a confrontation. If this happens to you, you can fight it out manually, automatically resolve it, or abandon the province. The third means you just lose it without a fight, and the second means the computer fights the battle, giving you a big chance to lose. The first is where things get interesting.
The armies on the world map are represented by a figurine, with a banner that is filled up with the colour of your nation. The higher it's filled, the bigger the army. Once they engage in battle, you can position them, choose formations, and predict your enemy. In combat, it is rather realistic. For example, archers have a chance to shoot your own troops who are engaged in melee combat, they run out of arrows, cavalry charging against spears = kebab'd, and troops get tired out. It really brings a whole new level of strategy to the previously deep genre.
On the world map, you can forge alliances with other nations, trade across the seas, and assassinate enemy generals and agents. You have to really plan ahead. For example, do you take France, and risk being attacked from Spain and the Holy Roman Empire? Or do you sail the seas to Scandinavia, for safer, but worse provinces? It all factors in. Also, if two allies attack each other, you must choose which one to side with.
The learning curve is pretty short. There is a nice tutorial for both the campaign map, and battles, but the campaign map is a bit... lacking. You pretty much follow the same orders for the whole thing.
The files are pretty easy to mod, if you are confident of what you are doing. There is a fantastic editing guide on this site, so you can always follow that if you want to start learning. You easily alter starting provinces for nations, units in provinces, where their king is, what provinces have what buildings, and so on. There are a good chunk of mods out there, and you can get a good chunk of hours tacked on by downloading them.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/07/07
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