• Review - Total War: Attila


    Following the most recent releases of TW series, it's with great pride that the Eagle Standard is offering you today a full review of Attila: Total War, as it has been interpreted by Lugotorix. The game itself has been launched for it's February release, and as the fifth DLC on it's way, we'd like to take some time to update our readers with an overview of the game and its features.

    Review - Total War:Attila


    THE MAP

    Many people consider Attila to be the Napoleon to Rome II's Empire. This is a good comparison, as the 4tpy and family tree really lets you get to know your characters and feel like you're involved in a long, sometimes grueling (see the WRE) campaign, where important people may have to be sacrificed. For the major factions there are four different types of victory conditions, with the first one being the only requirement for the achievement with any given faction.

    The minor victory puts an end at the campaign in 425 A.D. assuming the conditions are met, while the cultural and military victories provide a culture specific end game cinematic and require buildings to be constructed and other military objectives like raiding and destroying factions. The Divine Triumph victory is the ultimate victory in the game, and has the most conditions to it, as well as being past 450 A.D. which is when the game leaves you to achieving your conditions and takes a less scripted form.

    - Gone from the Rome II platform is the 3-4 regions per province and introduced is a static three regions per province. Also, in a departure from earlier titles, edicts can be issued by the appointed governor of a province, regardless as to whether the entire province is under control. In the faction politics gubernatorial screen, the player can see, highlighted in green, the provinces he is governing, so that bonuses such as tax increases, or unit experience can be applied to recruitment or the regions settings. It's worth saying that the map looks beautiful and all of the important cities are in the game, as well as unique cities that have their own battle maps, such as Constantinople, Ravenna, Alexandria, and Rome. There are a few notable exceptions to this, and at times the province of Macedonia looks as if it could benefit from Hellenic cities other than Corinth.


    I'm pleased to say that the game looks and plays fantastic and is a worthy continuation of the series. Many people called this game a return to form like Shogun II, but the polish really outshines it in my opinion. The lack of diverse quotes from the era is one of few down-notes in a thrilling progression for survival and legacy rich with history. The Celtic factions are now represented in the game, and with the next DLC The Last Roman involving the plague of Justinian, whether we'll receive a Heraclius based campaign remains to be seen, but it's likely the Slavic culture group will soon be introduced, and the Magyars are represented in the game already, as well as the Alans as a playable steep culture, their presence on the periphery of the map doesn't make it overly bothersome, and the pacing of this game requires responsible playing on higher difficulties.

    Most people agree that the Western Roman Empire is a great challenge, and the game features unique avatar's for it's historical figures and faction leaders, as well as an armor scheme that denotes rank and culture. The Western Roman Empire will collapse during the second chapter of the game, and it's fun to see him or her that would fill it's shoes. Further patches give the WRE more durability, and mods help with their endurance into the later game immensely.

    A word from Q:

    Originally Posted by Omnipotent-Q

    I had a chance to play a battle today and see the announcement. The battle was a defense of London(ium) as WRE against the Saxon horde. I lost the battle by a whisker but I was outnumbered three to one (Of course I played it like a genius, I just got unlucky). The changes they've made in regards to sieges are impressive. Barricades, siege towers, damage from sieges passing to the campaign map and vice versa. So for example attrition because of siege can cause mass fires in the settlement, there can be gaps in the wall, disease is more of a factor and can run rampant in armies and settlements.

    Some settlements have civilians in depending on the situation. Compared to sieges on Rome II it's miles ahead because of the sheer number of positive improvements. The siege battle of London I played was gritty, it's the most challenging siege I've played in a Total War game full stop and to sum it up it was excellent. Campaign map improvements are just as big. A return for the family tree along with assigning of related people to political office (giving them skills and so forth). Edicts can only be issued in Attila if there's a governor assigned to the province - from the new family tree setup they've got. Such a governor appears in the province - he can be a general or in the garrison of the provinces main city. Tech all on one screen not several screens is just one example of the big UI improvements I saw in their campaign demonstration. You can zoom in and out to a better degree than Rome II and you can see the changes in climate a lot more. So for example they panned too North Africa which was clearly hot, and in Britain it was obviously gloomy and raining. This sounds like me saying "the campaign map has weather" but that would be too simplistic - they've clearly thought about it a lot more and it's better seen than described. Geography and choke points seem to take on a greater emphasis - something anyone playing as WRE is going to have to use.

    Another cool feature in the announcement they showed off was the ability to abandon settlements in a sort of scorched Earth policy - particularly useful when you're say WRE and you don't have the troop numbers to handle the hordes of barbarian unwashed that outnumber you. The pale of scorched earth destruction from hitting the abandon settlement button is something I'd never have expected to see in a Total War game. So the example that was given was the Saxon invasion of England, whereby they demonstrated abandoning a northern British city (Ebracorum) leaving it as a wasteland with little economic value to be gained by taking it. I mean you don't want to hand a nice Roman city with its riches intact ready to be stolen after all. Which of course allowed the Roman army greatly outnumbered by Saxons to retreat south to the more defensible Londonium.

    They also touched on their plans re: sharing people's campaigns online, filtering events and so forth of which was mentioned earlier in this thread. Does sound cool and would make for some great TW discussion about campaigns.

    For what was billed as an alpha, it was extremely good and showed a lot of promise. I don't say that lightly either. CA has taken criticism for some aspects of Rome II - some of the criticisms were fair, some of them unfair. I got the impression from what I've seen today and played today that they're answering such criticisms with a very impressive, vastly improved, Total War title. I think as a game it will be a big hit.
    CONCERNING CHARACTERS

    Like it’s predecessor, the character will have influence and ambition, and this will contribute to his or her political standing, as well as three ancillaries that will affect his or her attributes. The new attribute, subterfuge, influences the chance of avoiding enemy agent actions, and night battles and ambushes which are influenced by a cunning modifier, similar to the game's grandfather Barbarian Invasion I. Some characters, like Attila, cannot be assassinated, only wounded, to make for a more challenging campaign. Three consecutive kills on the battlefield is required to bring the Hun down, but this is not constant, and it's best to let the player discover some things on their own.

    I say his or her concerning characters, because, player’s will notice from a look at the campaign screen that the campaign starts under the reign of the Flavian emperors Theodosius, with Honorius freshly in control, having just invoked the wrath of Alaric, and it appears that cognem about a character’s personality for starting characters are back, since Honorious is known as Augustus in some screens, and the campaign plays out over the course of well over 60 years. The White Horse trailer covered the ERE and the the Pale (Deathly Horse) which represents the Huns. The game is divided into five chapters, the seven seals, like any epic, and the pacing is superb, and really reflects the apocalyptic revelation of each chapter. When the game tells you to abandon all hope, you know you're in it for the long haul.

    Daughters can be born into your family tree and be married to your generals, such as the case of the visible daughter Chlotsuintha. Sometimes factions will ask for dowry or a marriage to build ties between your two factions. Like their husband, each wife has a character and background, so in some cases the wife will be flirtatious and others a priestess. Traits like intelligence or ambition in a wife, increase their husbands influence. Daughters will modify the abilities and traits of a general, and you will be prompted by other factors such as appointing a governor for each settlement on default, who will also act as a garrison, or designating it to a particular character. Woman play an important role in Attila, acting as modifier to loyalty and integrity, as well as women warriors for the Germanic factions ranks. They can even act as agents or assassins, depending on your faction. And for those who care about details such as the more byzantine trappings of the Roman court, yes, incest is possible in the family tree, in cases of a prior marriage.

    Here is an example of political maneuvering within the game: There is a general with three loyalty out of ten, who will defect, along with a number of nobles once his loyalty reaches zero. He is a high judge, making him all the more dangerous, with high authority. Often bribes are required to ensure general's loyalty.




    Repeated attempts to entrust this man have failed, resulting in my faction leader suffering from measles, powerless, on Corsica, with no influence to spare. Instead he turns to the widow of a man he once adopted into the royal house, to make Filimer an offer he can't refuse.

    The family tree is rife with intrigue, promotions and powerful positions. Characters will feel neglected, or slighted by the promotion of others to office or governorship of regions, and heirs will lose their loyalty if they're stepped over in favor of the man of the hour. In the world of Attila, infant mortality, disease, and the assassins blade are all possible ends for your characters, both from outside and within, but you are also granted the ability to impact a legacy of a dynasty in your own, and other factions, lineages.

    The children of allied factions are visible on the tree, and divorcing, securing loyalty, and arranging marriages of daughters and sisters to powerful men in your kingdom are all possible, along with adoption, and a system of offices that are a political slope for the favored in your faction to climb, with your influential members help. Province governors often become quite capable garrison defenders, and can be entrusted with armies to command, as they progress through the specialized skill tree. To become a legend, you must endure, and in this violent, dark world, that is no small task. Characters in the game have much more personality, and it keeps the player anticipating how their heirs and generals will come of age and whether they'll be as useful as possible through their traits (fertility is a plus)



    She offers herself as a means to secure his loyalty, but he is too far convinced in his sedition. Eventually, violence is used, and the assailants escape without witnesses.





    Now blind, this known womanizer, having never married and who could have had the hand of the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, is instead now aware that if he derelicts from his duties as clan chieftain, he will be led into his own swineherd's farm. His loyalty has now doubled, although he is still influential and thus useful, his chance of siring illegitimate children has, noticeably, stayed the same. Sometimes the game has triggers where characters that are acted upon will seek revenge, regardless of whether the attack succeeds, and you will be given a chance to prepare for plots that become known to you, increasing their chances of failure.

    Agents will no longer be as ubiquitous, and will instead follow a specialized path, that will allow only other types of actions at a very higher rank. Characters in general start with a defining character trait that defines them as a person, usually about their background, and their abilities will be honed by the player through the long grueling seasons. They will also change in appearance based on their rank and starting specialization. This game, reflecting it's time period seems more akin to Shogun II than Rome II, though spreading across more cultures. The map looks amazing when it comes to detail, and the scale of settlement cities like Constantinople will allow for what amounts to land battles within a cities walls.

    There is an introduction to a new mechanic in Attila, the horde mechanism, which is used for the Great Migrators, the Vandals, Ostrogoths, the Suebi, and Visigoths. In horde stance, which these armies will start in, upgrades to the hordes encampment bonuses can be purchased similar to building with timing, and these will add to the staying power and capabilities of the horde, staying with the army until the time comes for them to occupy a settlement and become a regular grounded faction. Migratory factions will also have the ability to uproot into a horde again, and move to greener pastures, which will be indicated by climate conditions, sanitation, and the fertility of the land itself, which if razed, can develop famine like conditions. Growth of the horde is managed through buildings of their camp infrastructure and the fertility of the land, or by combat, as in the case of the Tanukhid rebellion under Queen Mavia.

    Famine and disease are likely factors for army attrition, as well as bankruptcy, and sanitation and fertility, indicated on that overview map will play a large role in how your settled faction prepares for the coming storm. Through campaign objectives, the faction will be able to make historical migrations to their ultimate goals, and historical alliances, war declarations and treaties. The measured pace means that the faction will have to check itself before becoming too ambitious, and there is a financial incentive for taking historical routes, such as allying with the Huns or ERE. I've done an extensive campaign with the WRE, and allying with the Huns really makes you accumulate the maximum amount of enemies and hold out until they're on the scene wherever you've made your last stand. When a great migrators faction loses all of it's regions, it's remaining armies revert to hordes, so that the faction can migrate and settle once more, after they've accumulated wealth and power through raiding and sacking.

    It will cost anywhere between 8000 and 17000 talents to resettle a razed or devastated settlement so usually this tactic is used as a drastic measure, or recolonizing to fill a needed territorial objective. The cities will be built from the ground up, while each region has it's own micromanaged food levels. While within the zone of a razed settlement, only the bare bones will remain, and the army present will suffer food and integrity deductions. Also making a return from Shogun, is a model representing the faction's archetypal leader, complete with arms and armor.

    In addition, factions will be given power rating on a numeral system, and it's easier to tell the strength of your adversary or target for potential expansion. The traits of a faction leader affect his stance towards your faction as well as other factions, and assassination is a viable course for regime change that is more friendly to your faction. Diplomacy points work as follows: The number in parenthesis is the total value it's increasing or decreasing to. The greater the difference between current value in green, yellow, or red, friendly, very friendly, neutral, unfriendly, and hostile, and the optimal number, the faster your actual standing changes.

    So for example if you were -200 (300) such as when subjugating a faction it would only take a couple of turns to get to a neutral value from which point it would slowly go up to the optimal (300) Similarly, if you were -40 (22) it would only go up by one to four points per turn. If a faction had traits that disliked your faction, the slower it would increase, and the optimal would decrease without gifts and declaring war on their enemies/ending treaties. I'm currently at 22 (44) with the Huns, in 421, after giving them gifts and declaring war on every one of their enemies almost every turn. So it's an uphill battle because they hate rival empires and dislike western Romans.

    The influence of the barbarian cultures and marriages can be seen on the family tree in the case of the half Vandal Flavius Stilicho "The last of the Roman generals." of Theodosius, and ruled as Magister Miletum, as supreme commander until Theodosius' son Honorius came to age, in whose reign Stilicho was himself executed for becoming too powerful. The extent of the Roman empire can be fathomed by this very addition in the time frame, as Stilicho's death was in 408 and the Vandals occupied what is today Poland, after moving in from Scandinavia, and may have been the same people as the Lugii, who are represented in the far north-east in Rome I. The character in the campaign, was not an Arian Christian as many Vandals were and considered himself nothing but a Roman, and practiced Nicene Christinity, the religion of the Empire.

    From what the developers and hours of gameplay tell us, the WRE will be bogged down both in treasury and internal strife, and their forces will be stretched thin, and they also are a prime target for most of the horde Germanic factions. Culture groups are less diverse but given more attention to detail, and I have to say the new portraits look fantastic. The game allows the player to switch from 2D or 3D portraits for their generals and characters.

    Characters will now have inventories, with items such as special weapons, such as foedus, laeti, parma (shields), stuffed enemies, prosthetic hands, noble steeds, weapons of the entire spectrum of the age, neighborhood bosses, artists and monumental masons, swineherds and enslaved debtors, panakrion gloves, wives with unique political modifiers and character, and companions in the form of archetypes of useful citizens in your empire, that will join the character through his progression. You will be allowed to select the characters companions from an extensive list, and the items come with descriptions and are from the range of Roman and Bronze age history that makes up the Christian Roman world, so you get a diverse history lesson and archaic dictionary by playing the game. You will be able to see through a character's named wife, who he or she is related to, and how that affects their relationship, in happiness and loyalty. There is also a new skill tree, allowing you to specialize on attack, defense, or a hybrid of both, seemingly inspired by Shogun II, and character RPGs. CA seems to be playing to the demands made by the community as well as the shorter time frame that will allow more focus on each individual. The relations of a character will be visible by hovering over that character's wife, and his relationship with all of your other generals. Even if the player is just upgrading his general's bodyguard, the retinue and ancilliaries allows the player to customize his long lasting generals with care.

    This seems to have been given a lot of attention and is very impressive as it relates to the needs of your campaign. Traits will be delineated in accessible folders that show their bonuses, and it's an efficient compartmentalized way of viewing your characters strengths and weaknesses. It's very handy to check instantaneously whether a general of yours has enough cunning to compete in night battles. Armies themselves will have an integrity meter that will increase or decrease depending on defeats, weather conditions and victories, and there will be a tally of all the battles fought by a particular army, and the officer in charge of it. If the officer or the armies integrity reaches 0, there will be a mutiny, defection or civil war, with the army becoming hostile. This will start a civil war, and the rebel faction will pop up in troublesome areas and cause more characters to defect to their side over the course of the war. Securing loyalty is one way that politics works, and often bribes are needed for smooth adoptions and ensuring the character stays on your side. Characters in your family can join the retinue of existing, more experienced family members and gain experience, if you are grooming them for a higher position. Each culture group has a unique military and political hierarchy, and the benefits of promotion are impressive, and there is often obstruction and ambition of non-family character's in the ranks of your kingdom.

    In addition to this, the early Roman period tactic of disciplining armies through decimation will be present in the army menu, a new tab with organized facets to the army in question, and will be used in this later period, used to cull the weak, or improve the integrity of the army to prevent a coup.






    As you may see, one of the heirs of Honorius has started a civil war, and the Eucherius figure, son of Stilicho is my current faction leader, noble houses emerge from war and infighting for a family tree with complex relationships.

    The major Germanic factions with the exceptions of the Visigoths and Ostrogoths will start in eastern Germania, Hercynia, and Gothiscandza, while the Goths will start in Dacia and Macedon, as is historically accurate. As of the announcement, The Lombards, Alemanni, Saxons, Burgundians, Vandals, Alans, Iazyges, White Huns and others will be included, as the new map covers the entirety of the Rome II map, and includes the territory of the Sassanid Persians and Himyar, the Tanukhid hordes Lakhmid, and Axum, with similar attention to detail. The Visigoths will start in Macedonia, whereas the Ostrogoths will start north of the Danube, which is an interesting development, as by the time period both tribes had formed a Confederation, although the Ostrogoths were originally north of the Danube.

    Also for pre-orders, the Geats, Jutes, and Danes will be available as seafaring based factions, in the Viking Forebearers culture pack. At last play through, the White Huns and Bulgars are not playable or represented in the game. The Alamans, Langobards (Lombards) and Burgundians will be available with the first DLC of the game, bringing central european Germanic flavor to the game. As part of their scripted missions, you will be able to customize a character for the central Germanic factions. Following this was the Celtic DLC, that allows the Caledonians, Ebdanians (Irish) and Picts to be played, with unique culture and rosters that I felt were well implemented.

    In the Empire of the Sands DLC, the Kingdom of Aksum in Ethiopia, which has an interesting series of missions revolving around the spice trade between India and the near east, Himyar, in Arabia, with a dam to maintain over the course of the campaign, and a nomadic Romano-Arab faction that starts as a horde, the Tahkumhids, will be playable. The Lahkmids will also be playable starting as a vassal state of the Sassanid Empire, with missions to promote their independance with the patch for this content. as FLC. Event chains will be tied to these new desert factions, and two three religions, eastern christianity, judaism, and semitic paganism will be added to the game, as well as the ability for all playable factions to build which ever religious buildings they wish, to change your faction's religion in a more proactive way. The desert faction will have a building chain and group of units tied to these religious buildings.

    The Sassanid Empire will also be playable, as indicated by the Red Horse trailer, and their Persian influence looks great. Of course, when the preview version became playable, we all saw that the Huns would be playable, and that each culture has a unique feel to it, which realist unit and building cards making a return. The Sassanids are indeed the easiest faction to play as, and the game will be divided into what amounts to four chapters, each with their own cutscene to describe major events in the timeline, such as the birth of Attila the Hun.



    Sanitation and religion are campaign overlays as well as geography alongside the faction view, which will give the player greater tactical insight as to how to access and defend regions. Religion will no doubt influence civil order in conquered or held territory, and I’m told culture will make a return as a factor as well. The amount of detail that went into the terrain overlay and filters that can be applied to the map to allow you to see trouble areas in aspects such as fertility and religion, which is a victory condition for the Empire of Sand culture pack, is impressive.

    As the developers have stated, the WRE will have little on hand to prevent the loss of territory early on, and the campaign may just be a contest as to how long you can last against the Hunnic and barbarian tides. As such, early on you will have to choose where to consolidate what little power you do have, and build on that success to hold out, using a policy of scorched earth by burning settlements either partially or to the ground, in your retreat from the vast distances that led to the end of the empire.

    The portraits have taken a more illustrative look, but will no doubt represent the actual generals on the campaign map, as was the case with Rome II. Authority and zeal will also be factors on the character’s benefits, and the skill tree itself builds on the success of Shogun II as opposed to Rome II, with all of the tree visible for progression, which seems to be delineated along tact, administration, and military ability. These skill trees often take the form of titles such as dux, and are a neat way other than promoting a character to political position or governorship to give the character titles.

    Your generals will be able to be made governors of provinces, and an entire new hierarchy is present, in the least case of the Western Roman Empire, where your military leadership in the form of ranks and titles, perhaps influenced by Stainless Steel, a modification for Medieval II, along provincial leadership, and infantry, cavalry, and naval forces, will be decided by the player. At a certain level of power, there also appear to be a high command office in the form of Supreme Commanders that will offer it’s own benefits.

    Politics is divided into three spheres this time, along a radial dial, which was a feature from Rome II Emperor Edition, and it appears that not only will Imperium be a factor for civil revolt, which is divided into three levels again, but also popular support of the plebian caste in the form of popular support.

    The ‘court support’ of Rome II has been replaced with a more simple ‘Influence cost’ in the case of promotions to offices and political actions that take a turn to complete. And these offices have age and other prerequisites for their benefits just like the ‘Secure promotion.’ Feature of Rome II. Your factions influence seems to build on the positive reception of EE’s influence modifiers. Once a character has lost his influence, it will affect his power in the family, and he will require others to act on his behalf to continue ruling, until he has come into favor again. Traits like unpopularity, or being out favor from neglect, will effect a character's influence.

    Your entire faction record will include date filters and include an incredible amount of detail to the going ons of your faction. Also included with the game is Chronicles, a way of uploading your every campaign action for perusal by the community, along a timeline of civil, character, detail, military, politics, agents, and diplomacy up to a certain date for a chaptered mini-AAR.



    Here's a screenshot of the infamous character Attila in action against my Ostrogoth armies led by my faction heir. This game forces you to put vital parts of your faction on the fore-front.

    Attila will eventually appear on the scene in Europe and you are given a dilemma to ally with the Huns through marriage or bribery, or resist their extortion. War is the not the path of least resistance, and expect twelve stacks that re-emerge every turn no matter how many of them are defeated and destroyed until Attila is defeated and killed repeatedly on the battlefield. One gripe I have with the GC is that Attila's arrival as King of the Huns will always have an huge determination of how the campaign will play out, with much of the map be devastated by his hordes. I was initially under the impression that it would break replay value, but in my WRE campaign I've been having much fun marrying and allying with the Huns, and my current emperor is half Hunnic: The choice to ally with them makes the game interesting for role playing purposes as you'll eventually have to confront the hordes that gather on your territory, driving you to famine with their rapacious needs, something to the effect of -299 food. Food will be managed per region, so when concerned about replenishment, it's a tactical decision as well as an over all one. Each faction has a culture group trait as well as a series of faction traits, and sometimes traits like improved recruitment of defeated armies for the Langobards, or stopping all replenishment in a region where they are present for the Huns, can be a game changer.




    Attila, the Scourge of God, in battle

    THE BATTLES and AI

    The CAI is a place where the strength of the game shines, but the GC can leave for wanting. The AI is rarely expansionist although now a faction leaders traits will influence whether they colonize and actively take territory. On the whole, however, the AI seems to be set on sacking and razing. There are several mods that restrict the raze mechanic to nomads or Huns only, or remove it entirely. Without reason, it is disheartening to see a capital settlement burnt to the ground by it's original owners. The BAI is an improvement from Rome II, however I feel the player's maneuverability of cavalry and your ability to extricate them has been given a downgrade, and generals are as vulnerable as ever. Units will often rout from the field, only to stabilize and return to the fight, so the game takes a very dedicated approach to the momentum of any given battle, which last longer than Rome II battle. Village sieges are particularly interesting with new terrain oriented battle maps, and there are at least four unique cities on the map with historical buildings, such as Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople and Ravenna. Seeing the Hagia Sophia on the battle map is a sight to behold, as are the more dynamic battlefield, with high ground more reminiscent of earlier titles, such as Medieval II. Naval combat does not have the ability to capture ships, but I've found ships take a more active role in taking settlements, in the form of marines and artillery ships that can bombard ports. Also in the game is siege escalation, which damages and breaches the walls of a settlement the longer a siege has been ongoing, given advantage other than siege equipment in waiting out the defenders. Scattered fires and damage to the settlement results from sieges over the course of months.
    The CAI in The Last Roman is more traditional, and my review of the DLC can be found here: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/conte...a-split-review

    The unit skins are unique among the five major culture groups, with brigands taking a distinct appearance to your more heavily armored elites, and the technology tree really gives impact, in upgrading your troops, provided that you can keep them maintained which with factions such as the WRE requires a lot of pre-planning. The general avatars can be visible on the battlefield on horseback or on foot, so you know where your general is in his bodyguard unit within any time, which is useful for pulling him back should he fall under arrow, javelin or sling fire. Also, by default, the unit banners have been replaced with icons that lets you know how the rock-paper scissors and a bit of both is located, easily from a distance. This can be toggled on and off, as well as disabling the UI from your view of the battle altogether through a hot-key. In addition, the integrity of the competing army, and the real-time damage being done to the settlement, such as fires that break out, will effect the defender's morale, giving a dynamic and an incentive to use the game's fire mechanics, though the player should beware damage to a settlement they intend on occupying.

    The battle maps have a dark gritty feel to them, and really capture the end days aesthetic the game is trying to promote: Combined with buildings catching fire and disheartening the defenders, and then leaving damage on the settlement as a result. The blood and burning pack really helps capture the carnage of the dark ages, by setting soldiers alight and spilling blood and guts across the battlefield from onager barrages. Decapitations and dismemberment also makes a return from Rome II.

    The game is not without it's flaws. The Slavs fall into a placeholder Germanic roster group, and there's only a slight hope this will be resolved with the soon to be announced Charlesmagne DLC pack. Also, one issue that is particularly frustrating with the campaign AI is the tendency for even slight imbalances in public order to result in rebel stacks of four to six units, that quickly become full stacks and will overwhelm even strong garrisons without personally fighting the battle. This becomes a redundant series of resolution for factions like the WRE which I've just completed my first campaign on Hard with, and really stresses that public order and macro management and far thinking are required for a successful campaign. Another issue that's frustrating is that when the buildings in a settlement have been damaged too severely from being sacked and raided, the AI had the tendency to raid the settlement and the region. This appears to make no strategic sense when the rebels raze their own homeland, as they would be a regional civil war faction in the case of Gaul, Septimania, Britain and so forth. I am of the opinion that razing should be removed from the AI's repetoire after the death of Attila the Hun, and the game should return to a more traditionalist TW standpoint of occupying conquered territory, for the AI and the player. One CAI tendency that has troubled players is the inclination for the AI to follow the player, even at the expense of their homeland's defensive integrity. While this is novel for early in the game when your horde is beset by enemies hunting them, late game it can be frustrating to see all of your enemies following you to the end of the world without conflict with each-other.

    In addition to this, Separatist factions often have a disproportionate ratio of full stacks to the amount of territories that they possess, and are able to recruit higher quality troops at times than their progenitor faction, making them dangerous, but useful if they can be turned into allies. Colonization is rough going for your allies and enemies, and it's often a newly emerging faction that expands into desolate territory left by the ravages of war.

    I have mostly good impressions of my Western Roman Empire campaign. I've finished the game as the Ostrogoths, Vandals in The Last Roman, Visigoths in The Last Roman on Legendary, the Ebdanians in the Celtic DLC, Himyar in Empires of the Sands, and the WRE. Almost all of my games have been on Hard difficulty, and this is the new recommended setting for experienced TW players, raising the bar from normal in Rome II and previous titles, although the game puts more of a challenge on the player. I allied with Attila, intermarried with Hunnic women, and he married Stilicho's eight-teen year old grand-daughter. After how brutal my first Ostrogoth campaign was, I would have much rather fought everyone else, than just about everyone else and the Huns. It felt suitably epic and I felt told the story of a brutal civil war and the migration period very well, especially with the rebels operating from a sequestered base at Palma in the Balearic Isles. At 467 and 481 I felt accomplished, as this is when the Western Roman Empire had historically fell. Finished in 499. Also it's worth pointing out that there comes a time where the Huns won't move further west as your ally and just squat near Mediolanum, even if you have enemies in Spain. This puts a huge strain on your food supply, something to the effect of-299 for hordes on your territory.

    My alliance was so well founded that I practically had a full blooded Hunnic character in my family tree (who resembled a Western European) My main issue with them late game is the public order and problems with rebels in maintaining such a vast empire. The requirement for a minor victory is 80 settlements, which is a lot more than it sounds, when you have to put down rebellions here and there and the enemy razing things even late game. My current Emperor (should I decide to continue for the military victory) is a 69 year old half-Hunnic grandson of Stilicho, and he's just made Honorius' great grandson his heir.

    For those who are wondering, yes, the Huns will betray you at some point after Attila is dead, no matter how good your relations are.

    All together, Attila is a worthy successor to the series, with a return of many features that were absent from Rome II, as well as the most in depth politics and family tree system in the TW game yet, and although I feel some of it's features such as a raiding and razing centered AI are detriments, the core AI introduced with The Last Roman makes for a variety of scenarios with good kingdom building during the migration period and beyond.





    We will provide the player with updates, as more knowledge about the available DLC becomes available.

    Written by: Lugotorix
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Settra's Avatar
      Settra -
      Excellent review, better even than a few professional sites I shan't name.
    1. Ferdiad's Avatar
      Ferdiad -
      I think the review could have done with a section on the performance and what rig you were running it on.
    1. Flinn's Avatar
      Flinn -
      thanks for the comments gents

      @ Ferdiad; noted, we could include it in future releases
    1. Ygraine's Avatar
      Ygraine -
      Thank you for the review!
    1. Flinn's Avatar
      Flinn -
      our pleasure and thank you for reading it Ygraine!

      if you look for more reviews on TW titles and Mods, or for other related stuff, stay tuned on the Eagle Standard! (you can also check for old articles).
    1. Ngugi's Avatar
      Ngugi -
      Good one
    1. Flinn's Avatar
      Flinn -
      see who we have here, that's a known face here at the ES

      thanks for the appreciation
    1. Daneboy's Avatar
      Daneboy -
      Excellent review for a old´school TW-game. ;o)