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Hands-on: New Total War game takes on Attila the Hun

Hayden Dingman | Sept. 26, 2014
I got a brief demo of the game a few weeks back. For the most part, it looks a lot like Rome II. That shouldn't be too surprising, considering it's the same culture and region but a few hundred years later. In other words, don't expect an Empire to Shogun 2 or Shogun 2 to Rome II change.

Total War: Attila

Can Total War: Rome II be saved? Has it been saved? I honestly don't know. I haven't gotten to play much of the recent Emperor Edition/Imperator Augustus expansion, and so I have no idea whether it managed to rectify what was a seriously broken game this time last year.

Regardless, it doesn't matter. Creative Assembly is putting Rome II behind it and returning to the tortured, drawn-out death throes of the Roman Empire, last explored in the original Rome: Total War's Barbarian Invasion expansion. This time, however, it's encapsulated by the warfare and wanton destruction of Attila the Hun. Total War: Attila puts players in the fifth century, attempting to rebuff Attila's campaign of terror and stave off the Dark Ages.

Or not. You can also play as any number of "barbarian" tribes, attempting to hasten the fall of both the Eastern and Western Roman Empires and claim Europe/Western Asia for your own people. I'm not sure whether you can actually play as Attila, though the way Creative Assembly phrased things it sounds like the answer is no--he's merely a threat looming on the horizon.

I got a brief demo of the game a few weeks back. For the most part, it looks a lot like Rome II. That shouldn't be too surprising, considering it's the same culture and region but a few hundred years later. In other words, don't expect an Empire to Shogun 2 or Shogun 2 to Rome II change.

On the campaign trail
I'll go ahead and say that our look at the campaign map was hands-off. Thus I'm not prepared to comment on how long enemy turns took or anything of that nature. If those are the concerns you have (and they'd be justified, after Rome II) then I'm sorry I can't assuage your fears.

That being said, the campaign map is very pretty. Creative Assembly has overhauled the map to reflect the nature of each region--dry and desert-like in Northern Africa, rainy and overcast in Britain, et cetera. They've also gotten rid of the weird restrictions they had on zooming out previously, so you can fly all the way out to an overhead view and get a view of your entire empire.

That'll be handy to, for instance, keep track of the spread of diseases. Creative Assembly has done away with the squalor versus public order system of Rome II, instead hooking squalor to a new disease system. If squalor gets out of control in a city, there's a better chance of disease spreading. Once a city is diseased, there's potential to spread to other cities by way of trade or armies, which could be a good thing or a disaster depending on your intentions.

 

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