If you’ve ever wondered if you could handle the stress of orchestrating war on a massive, global scale, wonder no more. The Total War franchise, established in 2000, has been simulating wars to near perfection for some time. Players take on the role of a commander, tasked with controlling nearly every facet of a war effort. From managing the public order of various, war machine producing settlements, to having a hands on influence on specific battles, it doesn’t get much more involved than this.
Developers Creative Assembly launched the Total War franchise with a single goal; to offer players a true to life grand war experience. Though, specifically, the team didn’t want to just simulate the actual battles. They wanted to tackle every layer of a real war, meaning that gameplay would be 90% managing an empire, and 10% fighting actual battles.
A Medieval Warfare Experience
The Total War franchise focuses primarily on medieval warfare, with only a few entries exploring the civil war era. The nature of the games means that more modern wars, namely those involving rapid fire weapons and bombs, aren’t suitable. Since the player must manually move armies in real-time, and push them to engage across sprawling landscapes, modern warfare would be extremely unintuitive.
As far as simulating medieval warfare goes, however, it simply doesn’t get more accurate than Total War. The detail of the over world maps is extraordinary, with the locations based on real world geography. Each turn depicts 6 months, so although events play out rapidly, it is all still in line with reality.
Settlements are built, armies are raised, and extremely important strategic decisions are made. A lack of true warfare understanding will, without questions, ruin the player’s empire. A constantly changing in-game rating system even rapidly adjust, similar to the Dunkel Index but for wartime nations, letting the player know where they stand in terms of global strength.
Epic Real Time Battles
It is the real time battles that the Total War games are most known for. When the time comes and armies clash, the battle will unfold with staggering accuracy. Each army is depicted as it stood on the over world, including thousands, or even tens of thousands of fully animated 3D models. Platoons can be moved and manoeuvred, with, once again, a solid understanding of mediaeval warfare required. Certain soldiers are equipped with very specific tasks in mind, and misusing them is paramount to conceding defeat.
When the fighting starts, and the game audio is awash with clashing, rattling, screaming and drumming hooves, it really does seems as if a war is taking place. A bloody, frightening war that will cost the lives of thousands.
Not For Everyone
The Total War games are famous for their real time, full scale battles. But are also famous for not being for everyone. Many gamers just aren’t willing to commit the time to learning real warfare, which is understandable. For those that do seriously engage Total War, they’ll likely come out the other side more educated than a hundred history classes could provide.