Friday, March 4, 2016

Total War Game Series - Rediscovered

I've rediscovered some old favorites this past week: the Total War series of games.

These are a series of strategy-type games with a historical basis - probably somewhat on the dubious side. However, there's two aspects to the game. I only play one and hate it when the game forces me to attempt the other. The first aspect, and the one I prefer to play is the empire-building. That is, organizing what gets built in each city and what unit types get recruited. Even the diplomacy aspect of treaties and deals between the different factions.

The second aspect to the game, and the one I'm not as keen on - mostly because I'm horrible at it - is running the battles between the armies. Thank you, but I'd much rather let the computer do that for me. Unfortunately, that takes me right out of all the multi-player content. Oh well. There's certainly enough challenges in the grand campaign mode. And the new games have additional campaigns that you can purchase separately. I guess that's the current variant on the expansions.

Medieval Total War
Starting with the original Medieval Total War, and it's expansion, Viking Invasion, I've been playing them for over a decade now. This one still holds a place in my heart as a favorite game that has sucked up hours of my time. Even after hours of game-play and quite a few victorious campaigns, I have yet to play successfully in all of the factions. This one has the simplest game-play of the various versions I have played, however it is still one of the most fun. I've seen several articles compare the graphics and game style to the board game Risk. I can't comment on that as I've only played the game a couple of times. Actually, I should probably test Medieval Total War to see if it will play on my current computers (Windows 7). I'm getting the bug again.

Rome: Total War
At the moment, I'm playing Rome: Total War, which I got when it first came out - followed by the Barbarians expansion. Although I have been playing this one intermittently for years, it has been a while since I've tried it, and I have to be honest and say that I've yet to beat the game even once. As a result I haven't tried the Barbarian Invasion expansion either. The graphics are pretty good here too, and the game is satisfactorily fast on my ancient gaming/photo-editing computer. Of course, the games from this era are from when said computer was new. The game-play here is just enough different from the original Medieval Total War to be frustrating, I found previously, although the Roman setting tickles my historical fancy. Let's see if I can beat this one this time, even playing on "easy".

Medieval II Total War
Then there's my other favorite of the series: Medieval II: Total War. The medieval setting of the game I discovered this series through, but on the 3D style of the Rome: Total War game. I also found my interest kept because I could actually beat this game, and have done so a few times now: England? maybe. France, I'm almost certain I succeeded playing as France, and also Spain, and maybe the Holy Roman Empire. Plus, of course the expansion pack - most of which I haven't tried out, being quite happy to keep playing the original game. Again, this one works great on an older computer.

What amazes me with this one is the price-drop. When I bought the game and later the expansion, they were close to $50 each. Now, you can get both together for under $20!

I don't have much to say about the two versions of Shogun: Total War, not having played either one enough. The same holds true for Total War: Empire.

What started me back on this trip through the Total War games was my purchase the other day of Total War: Attila and Total War: Rome II. Unfortunately, both of these are just slightly beyond the capabilities of my gaming computer. Rome II plays decently, but is very, very slow. And much of Attila is lost in a mass of grey with jagged edges. I suspect that I'm going to have to upgrade my graphics card at the least. Until then, I may as well go back and enjoy playing the earlier games.
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