Total War: Arena Review

Total War: Arena has a “go” for christian gamers who accept the violence of historic battles and mentioning of ancient and pagan gods like “Mars” or “Fortuna” (roman God of War/ Godness of Fate). This mentioning takes places within the game’s world and should be handled as this. There’s no glorification or missioning, they just fill up the game environment. Because Total War: Arena is an online based game you might experience bad words and language from other players. A muting option is available.

Total War : Arena is a free-2-play title by Creative Assembly, only available as multiplayer title. As player you’re controlling one of the different heroes/leaders of a faction of your choice. Every battle is a 10 vs 10 encounter against real human players, who lead 3 of their battallions into battle. Every player has a different task and bonus in the battle, which gives him the control over the artillery or the cavalry units.

The game is totally focused on cooperative gameplay. Going solo and moving your troops around with an uncovered flank will end in a desastrous suicide mission.

Game World

Like the most successful Rome: Total War , Total War: Arena is settled in the antique world, when Romans, Greeks and the barbarian tribes of the north fought for dominance in their known world. Different battlefields provide a nice impression of the landscape around the great ancient empires of the Greeks and Romans. The battlefield of Marathon, the Thermopylae and an unnamed battlefield in the german backland are only some examples for an impressive diversity of maps, which are enhanced with interesting details like temples, rivers and small villages.

Total Ware: Arena : The battle linie of greek 'hoplites'

Total Ware: Arena : The battle linie of greek ‘hoplites’

Gameplay

The game begins in the Lobby, where you choose your prefered general and the troops he will take into battle. Great names like Julius Ceasar, Scipio Africanus or Leonidas are here, and everyone has special abilities and types of tropps at his hand. 3 slots are available and the choosing of your general enables or disables different types of soldiers. The diversity of the available troops ranges from artillery to standart infantry troops and also covers cavalry and light skirmish forces to scout the enemy movement and hit them in surprise & retreat attack.

While fighting battles your units and their leaders gain experience, which you can invest in improved weapons, armor or additional bonusses like battlecries to rally your troops or support them while they’re charging the enemy lines. The progress is calculated in special “Tier” levels, to make sure you’re always facing enemies within the same technology level like you.

It is highly recommend to think a bit before you just charge the enemy line and hope that your troops will shock them with your well-timed special abilty. Generals should consider the terrain too and you their Skirmishers and Archers from higher terrain. Also cavalry is perfect for a massive charge from the flanks instead of a horrible frontal crash into a line of  polearms.

Controls

We recommend to play Total War: Arena by keyboard and mouse. Total War veterans will be very familiar with the controls and moving of your units. BUT you will miss some features using shortcuts to fortify your position or “run” with a double click. Hopefully this will be added in on of the upcoming patches for Total War : Arena.

Graphics&Sounds

The graphics in Total War: Arena are state of the art and the game is also running on low-end machines. For some graphic cards you find reported glitches and problems in the forums. Because of the high patching frequence these issues should be handled very soon.

Total War: Arena

Total Ware: Arena : Units in battle

The sound is immersive and fits perfect into the battle-themed gameplay. You hear horn signals, cries, cheers and detailed sounds when you zoom in to take a closer look. The soundtrack leans back and uses quite normal patterns. It’s nothing special to say here. Just the calm sounds of a lyra/harp right before the battle remembers you about the strategic origins of Total War: Arena .

Verdict

Cutting out the action part from the Total War games and giving it its own platform is an interesting approach to monetizing a brand. Because of the Tier modell which has proven it’s stability in other free-2-play and play/pay-to-progress games, there’s no reason to mourn about.

While the battle concept can motivate players to stay in game, for most players of the Total War series is the strategic round-based map an essentiell part of the game, so fighting battles the whole day to reach a higher Tier-level can be boring if you think in longterm goals.

For a fast casual action Total War: Arena is totally recommended and very fun to play, specially when you have friends at hand or a team which cares for your flank or covers your fortified onager emplacement.

Total War: Arena is available via Steam

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