Creating a video game genre entirely of its own, the popular and successful Total War series offers six titles to date with a seventh near completion due for release in the fall of 2008.
The first game Shogun Total War was a cut above the rest for its time where players chose one of the main feudal Japanese factions and vied for a unified ancient Japan. There was a strategic phase where players ruled their lands and a battle mode where players controlled their units like chess pieces from a ‘god mode’ like view.
Then came Medieval Total War with some improvements to the concept. ‘Medieval Total War (1)’ took the game to feudal Europe, Northern Africa, and part of the Middle East. Improvements included more manageable armies in the combat mode and a greater variety of city and castle upgrades.
Soon after, a legend was born titled Rome Total War. Evolved from previous versions of the game improvements included more freedom of movement for deployed units on territories and battles now took place on a map relevant to the battling unit’s current precise locations on the map. Also taken into account now were the armies’ direction of attack allowing multiple armies to create pincer like attacks not only facing enemy units head on but flanking from the sides and advancing from the rear.
With the Rome version, players could now zoom right down to be able to see fully animated soldiers fighting it out as well as from the far away ‘god mode’ Complete with special effects, detailed terrain textures, and highly customizable video options the game could be configured to run on a wide variety of computers.
As an addition to an already high quality game, there was then an expansion pack released called ‘The Barbarian Invasion’ that took the game forward hundreds of years to the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire.
Features of this expansion included a breakup of the empire into two new playable factions. Also included were new factions and play options like roving hordes belonging to nations left without cities keeping them in the game with possibility of comebacks.
After Rome came another generation of even more improved gameplay called ‘Medieval Total War 2’. Far improved graphically in both strategic and combat levels this game also added the events of the advent of gunpowder in Europe form the far East and the European’s discovery of the new world.
With the expansion for ‘Medieval 2’ the game delved even deeper into Europe and ‘The New World’ with many more new playable factions including the Apaches, Aztecs, Irish, and Spanish to name a few.
The latest soon to be released game is titled Empire Total War where the game is taken to beyond feudal times to the age of wooden hulled cannon armed battleships and muskets. For the first time in Total War history naval battles will be similar to the land battles in scope including boarding parties and more.
A quality series of games all the way here’s hoping for even more Total War titles in the future (did anyone say Lord of the Rings Total War?).
*Publisher and Developer information cited from ‘Wikipedia.org’