|Developer||The Creative Assembly|
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Back in the day, Koei’s strategy gems like Genghis Khan, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Liberty or Death stood at the top of every budding history nerd’s list of favorite games. A decade later, Age of Empires ruled the strategy world. These days, though, there’s a new emperor in town. The Creative Assembly’s Total War—which finally returns after nine long years—now heads to perhaps the most fascinating period in human history: ancient Rome.
Players will be able to choose one of nine faction from the Classical world and get to conquering: the Romans, bitter rival Carthage (modern-day North Africa), Parthia (modern-day Iran), Pontus (modern-day Turkey), the Iceni (a Celtic tribe based in modern-day southeast England), the Arverni (from the heart of Gaul, modern-day France), the Suebi (fierce Teutonic warriors from modern-day Germany), Macedon (northeastern Greece, the former home of a little conqueror you might know as Alexander), and Egypt (which needs no introduction for any history buff!).
The Total War series is one of those games that I, as a strategy fan and would-be history major, know I should’ve played by now. In fact, that’s why I volunteered to see the game—and I was deeply, wholly impressed by what I played. I’ve never seen such an intricate real-time battle system before; what at first seems like chaos instead works like clockwork when various forces clash on the battlefield. During my hands-on E3 session, I took control of Ptolemaic Egypt during Julius Caesar’s invasion at the Battle of the Nile in 47 B.C. High on an Egyptian hill, an imposing collection of elephant cavalry stood poised to trample an invading Roman legion—and they did, with splattering success! Meanwhile, on the Nile, Egyptian and Roman ships exchanged arrow volleys, while spear-wielding infantrymen duked it out in the shadow of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
It’s also great that you can tell the developers are genuinely passionate about history in general. My chat with a couple of designers from The Creative Assembly veered off into a discussion on the inaccuracies seen in 300, history lessons on the Second Punic War, and the political advancement of senators in the Roman Republic. Oh, and for console owners who’d like a chance to get into this series, it sounds like it may only be a matter of when in the case of Total War—not if.