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Early Praise For Empire: Total War

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the more-nutritious-than-17-bowls-of-generic-brand-war dept.

Real Time Strategy (Games) 79

CVG had a chance to preview Empire: Total War, the latest in Creative Assembly's popular strategy series. This installment focuses on a time period which includes the Industrial Revolution and the struggle for US independence. CVG praises the intuitive interface and the improved AI, as well as the level of detail shown in large-scale battles. Quoting: "With a single mouse click I changed my troops' attack orders to melee and sent a sea of blue uniforms sweeping down the hill at the enemy. Zooming into the action revealed a previously unmatched level of battlefield realism and detail, with each motion captured soldier actively seeking out an opponent before engaging in a mortal shoving and stabbing match. Men toppled into the mud, squirming with terror before receiving a deft bayonet jab to the windpipe. After a titanic, 20-minute struggle the tide turned my way with the enemy hightailing it thanks in no small part to a bullet to the British general's head that broke his men's morale."

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I'm gonan have to read this but (2, Insightful)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255173)

I hope they finally improved empire management. That's the thing that was most lacking in the whole series, and it only deteriorated with each succession.

For example: Rome Total War became unplayable to me once I realized I have to stage rebellions in my own cities, then conquer them in order to remain profitable.

Re:I'm gonan have to read this but (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26255201)

I don't play MMORPGs, but here's my story:

I dropped a brown rope this morning the size of a small black child. At one point, I wasn't sure if I was taking a shit, or it the shit was taking me. And while I'm on that point, what's the deal with taking a shit? Shouldn't it be leaving a shit? I'm certainly not taking anything with me when I'm done.

But back on topic, MMORPGs suck ass

Re:I'm gonan have to read this but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26255331)

but this isn't an mmorpg....

Early Praise? (-1, Troll)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 4 years ago | (#26258183)

EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR is heralded by G.W. Bush. Smooth-talker, "Sweet Dick" Obama loves him some empire - even more than W even did! He got FOUR 4-star Generals in his cabinet!

Don't ask about what's in his closet...

TOTAL WAR! GOODBYE, REPUBLIC!

(You just elected Senator Palpatine)

Re:I'm gonan have to read this but (1)

PachmanP (881352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255297)

Yeah that's one thing that frustrated me. Your cities got too big, and there wasn't a good way to reduce the overpopulation short of doing something like that or creating armies of peasants and getting them killed. That said I suspect reality was kind of like that...

I hope this one is as good as it looks. The story campaigns might be interesting too. I've had all of the total war series except the first Medieval, but I don't think I've actually finished more than one long campaign. Getting naval battles right in an RTS could be really sweet, if they pull it off.

Re:I'm gonan have to read this but (4, Informative)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 4 years ago | (#26255789)

Actually, you could manage cities in Rome: Total War by making sure you could micromanage build orders without a governor (admit it; you moved all your family members into the field to bolster your ranks with free heavy cavalry units, right?) and then built nothing but basic agricultural upgrades. As long as you maximized the health/public order buildings and minimized the number of buildings that would add to population growth rate (agricultural upgrades, fertility temples, etc) you could get a city with stagnant population growth in most instances without missing out on any of your city upgrades. Usually the city would crap out on population growth at around 20-30k people which was manageable. In those pesky cities that would keep growing, either due to favorable conditions or due to the AI building up agricultural upgrades that you could not tear down prior to your conquest of said city, you could depopulate you city peacefully by recruiting tons of peasants (it helped if you had units sizes set to the largest size) and using them as garrison forces on the edges of your empire to keep down rebellions. Peasants were the best, cheapest unit for garrison duty. With sufficient experience (Temple of Mars anyone?) they made halfway-decent troops when deployed correctly.

Also, you had to remember to NEVER take slaves or otherwise you'd have infusions of populace throughout your empire which could make growth sporadic and difficult to control. Not historically accurate for Roman growth but eh, whatever.

Re:I'm gonan have to read this but (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 4 years ago | (#26260181)

Slaves were the best way to bolster income. The way to avoid huge cities, and maximize income, was to devastate every city but the ones that were strategically important for unit recovery. I would take a city, kill all the people in it, sell off everything, max out the taxes, build one peasant unit, let it rebel, retake it with my big army, enslave it, then build one more peasant unit. After that all would be fine and no enemies would attack because there was no gain. I always felt it would be cool if cities could overflow and create suburbs. Then have the suburbs become hostile to you. It would make more sense than rouges popping up on the road in the middle of nowhere.

Re:I'm gonan have to read this but (1)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277383)

That's one way of going about it, but that's way more meta than just skimping on agriculture in every city. I found slavery to be problematic because I liked having large, well-populated cities on the edges of my empire. A garrison stack of 4-8 peasant units could tamp down rebellion long enough to start replacing buildings with Roman buildings to reduce culture penalties.

Plus, if you had an advanced city far far away with tons of people and nice buildings, you could recruit some truly killer units on your enemy's front doorstep, which was always nice.

Re:I'm gonan have to read this but (2, Insightful)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 4 years ago | (#26259095)

"...once I realized I have to stage rebellions in my own cities, then conquer them in order to remain profitable."

That, sir, is what we call "a deep insight into the Tragedy of the Human Condition"(TM)

Re:I'm gonan have to read this but (2, Insightful)

shadowarmy75 (1411273) | more than 4 years ago | (#26259751)

If your talking about the negative income form cities, then that is incorrect as your costs are distributed around your empire according to the population of the cities. While it may look better on the cities individual balance sheet, you income would go down if you did that.

Malware (3, Funny)

Panspechi (948400) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255209)

Does it come preloaded with it?

Re:Malware (5, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255273)

It comes preloaded with British you insensitive clod!

'total war' is another word for 'holocaust' (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26255229)

ie, goebbels 'total war' speech...

it is disgusting... whats next, games about building death camps, or rounding up 'enemies of the state'?

f*** these games, they teach everything bad in life. . . and train kids to work for 'the system' without question

Lovely, but... (2, Insightful)

routerl (976394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255281)

...are they making an effort to be historically accurate?

I've always liked the Total War series (since Shogun) but must admit to having been caught referring to some of the "history" I learned from the games. Rome:TW is particularly bad in this regard. Granted that the player can drastically alter the outcome of history, for instance by having a massive Portuguese empire take over all of Europe by 1250 A.D., but it would still be nice to be playing with actual historically significant events and persons.

And I have a lot of hope for this one, since a good chunk of it will deal with American history which many of the developers probably know a bit more about than Roman, Japanese, or medieval European history.

Also, I wonder whether we can now start looking forward to, say, Normandy: Total Way, which would be terrifyingly awesome. As the technology has gotten better, the series has tended to move forwards in time, with the exception of Medieval 2 which revisited a time period that had already been covered.

Re:Lovely, but... (4, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255377)

...are they making an effort to be historically accurate?

I've always liked the Total War series (since Shogun) but must admit to having been caught referring to some of the "history" I learned from the games. Rome:TW is particularly bad in this regard. Granted that the player can drastically alter the outcome of history, for instance by having a massive Portuguese empire take over all of Europe by 1250 A.D., but it would still be nice to be playing with actual historically significant events and persons.

And I have a lot of hope for this one, since a good chunk of it will deal with American history which many of the developers probably know a bit more about than Roman, Japanese, or medieval European history.

Also, I wonder whether we can now start looking forward to, say, Normandy: Total Way, which would be terrifyingly awesome. As the technology has gotten better, the series has tended to move forwards in time, with the exception of Medieval 2 which revisited a time period that had already been covered.

I haven't played the games myself. But... aren't they giving you control over an entire campaign? I'm not sure how they can give you any significant freedom while still retaining historical accuracy, other than in a fairly broad sense regarding period tactics, strategies, and military technologies.

Maybe a separate historical mode that sets up battles and results in a campaign that mirrors actual history? But in that sort of mode, you'd be limited to working within the framework of a single battle, of course, to try to achieve results similar to a historical counterpart.

Re:Lovely, but... (5, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#26255791)

I haven't played the games myself. But... aren't they giving you control over an entire campaign? I'm not sure how they can give you any significant freedom while still retaining historical accuracy, other than in a fairly broad sense regarding period tactics, strategies, and military technologies.

Imagine, for the moment, being given complete control over the American Civil War. You would play the North under Douglas MacArthur and start with a division of Panzer tanks and two battalions of chariots from Pennsylvania. The South is split up into three different kingdoms, each headed by its own Pope, and you will need to capture their three holy cities of Pensacola, Columbus and Houston in order to win. Fortunately, swashbuckling pirates from Antigua show up every few turns to offer their services as mercenaries in your Grande Armée.

That's about what playing Rome: Total War is like. It's entertaining, but has very little to do with actual history. It's not that the events of the campaign are wrong, it's more that the armies and people involved have all been picked from different time periods or fantasy novels and thrown together into a blender set to "purée". The end result is a reasonably enjoyable, somewhat balanced game, but it is filled with bizarre inaccuracies like the Roman legions fielding companies of archers, and Julius Caesar riding around the battlefield at the head of his own band of Teutonic knights. Don't even start with the crazy armies that come out of Briton.

I personally enjoyed R:TW, and am willing to forgive a lot of the changes having been made in the name of game balance, but it looks like the Creative Assembly team skipped doing some of their homework there. Fans of the Total War series have been hoping for some time that the development team would have an unpleasant encounter with a ruler-wielding nun who would remind them to take their research a little more seriously with their next game.

Re:Lovely, but... (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 4 years ago | (#26255901)

Imagine, for the moment, being given complete control over the American Civil War. You would play the North under Douglas MacArthur and start with a division of Panzer tanks and two battalions of chariots from Pennsylvania. The South is split up into three different kingdoms, each headed by its own Pope, and you will need to capture their three holy cities of Pensacola, Columbus and Houston in order to win. Fortunately, swashbuckling pirates from Antigua show up every few turns to offer their services as mercenaries in your Grande Armée.

Heh, that's a pretty imaginative campaign there. :-)

That's too bad, as accurate accounts of history can be every bit as fascinating as fantasy, if told in a compelling way. It's one of the reasons I had no interest in seeing 300. The Battle at Thermopylae was an amazing story all on its own, and I didn't understand the need to embellish it.

Re:Lovely, but... (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 4 years ago | (#26256981)

Yea, comic book writers really really want to write history novels and not well you know, comic books.

You do realize that 300 was a comic book right? It was not about telling a historical story, it was about turning a great comic book into a movie.

Re:Lovely, but... (3, Funny)

PachmanP (881352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26263639)

I thought 300 was about attempting to get the Guinness book record for most slow motion decapitations?

Re:Lovely, but... (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264991)

I would mod you funny if I could.

Re:Lovely, but... (5, Informative)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 4 years ago | (#26255989)

You would play the North under Douglas MacArthur and start with a division of Panzer tanks and two battalions of chariots from Pennsylvania

The Total War games are each set in a single time period. All of the units are drawn from the same general technology level and the cities are in fixed places. Sure, they don't hit the mark every time, e.g. the chariots and scythes being the primary weapons of Ptolemaic Egypt but they deviate to make the game more fun, not because they are ignorant. I think you're referring to the Civilization series here, Civ 3 to be precise since you have 3 units under the one general, though you should have upgraded your chariots to cavalry before you put them in McArthur's army since they cannot be upgraded when they're in there.

it is filled with bizarre inaccuracies like the Roman legions fielding companies of archers...

They did. They had always had auxiliary archer units and/or Roman archers called sagiterii. The Roman military during the Republic and early Empire was built around a core of heavy infantry but they realized early on that they had to field a diverse and flexible army or face devastation.

...Julius Caesar riding around the battlefield at the head of his own band of Teutonic knights...

The Romans employed large amounts of cavalry units, originally mostly supplied by allied kingdoms. In fact the word "ally" comes from the Latin "allae" meaning squadrons of cavalry. The Romans won the favor friendly chieftains in places like Germania in order to supply units that the Roman legions lacked. The Tutonic Knights themselves were a later military founded well after the fall of the Western Empire and the Germans at that time were more likely to fight on foot, however the idea of a Roman general commanding German horsemen is very possible.

...Don't even start with the crazy armies that come out of Briton.

You mean Celtic warriors wearing nothing save a torc and a liberal coating of woad on their faces? Much was exaggerated about the "barbarity" of the northern barbarians by classical Roman and Greek historians, but they certainly did have some quite unorthodox battle tactics.

Even lovlier, and a bigger but (4, Interesting)

MaulerOfEmotards (1284566) | more than 4 years ago | (#26257297)

You reply in good faith and for good intentions but you are somewhat mistaken,

First, Romans did NOT field regiments of archers. However, following Gaius Marius' reforms, in legions a cohort (8-10 centuries of 60 men) could have archers attached. These were generally placed as an archery shield in front of the front maniples and retracted when enemies approached. More usual, however, was simply the legionaries throwing their pilum javelin before equipping their gladius short sword.

Secondly, Romans did NOT field any cavalry units. Cavalry fight from horseback, and cohesive military cavalry usage requires stirrups. Romans DID use mounted infantry though, and this could also perhaps harass enemy skirmish flankers. Stirrups wasn't invented until approximately the 7th or 8th Century. Thus, cavalry does not mean "mounted soldier". Also, the Roman social hierarchy included a "knight" class. This is not to be interpreted anachronistically as of a kind with the medieval knights, it simply means a social status above Plebeian but beneath the Patrician strata eligible for election to Senate.

Romans did use cavalry (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26257541)

Romans DID [wikipedia.org] field cavalry units, and they fought mounted without stirrups.

A couple of famous examples are Cannae [wikipedia.org] during the Punic Wars (216BC). And at Pharsalus [wikipedia.org] during Caeser's civil war (48BC), where Caeser's troops used spears against an enemy cavalry charge.

Stirrups are needed for the longer medieval lance and making riding a bit easier. But it is perfectly possible to fight on horse back without them.

The mounted infantry was more common in the later era (post 300AD), especially for patrols.

Re:Romans did use cavalry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26258365)

[citation needed]

Re:Even lovlier, and a bigger but (2, Informative)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 4 years ago | (#26260457)

Yes, the Romans had cavalry. The Roman Equites, or the "knight" class that was referred to were cavalry. They were not very good cavalry, but they were part of the Roman army. As pointed out, the Romans tended to overcome their crappy cav by using allied cavalry.

Cavalry existed long before the stirrup, they just couldn't wear as much armor nor could they charge home with lances as effectively. They were also less effective in general, since they could not rise in the stirrups and hammer down on infantry.

Cavalry, before the stirrup, was basically used to screen the flanks of the infantry units, for scouting, and for pursuing and hacking apart infantry that had broken formation, but it was still cavalry, not mounted infantry. Some also had a shock troop role, like later knights, but since they could only wear so much armor and needed two hands to wield a lance, they were far from what you would get with a charge of armored knights.

The Carthaginians had good cavalry, and we must not forget that Alexander's Companions were a unit of Cavalry. Cavalry units had a long way to go, but they were quite clearly cavalry in ancient times.

Re:Even lovlier, and a bigger but (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26269207)

Yes, the Romans had cavalry. The Roman Equites, or the "knight" class that was referred to were cavalry. They were not very good cavalry, but they were part of the Roman army. As pointed out, the Romans tended to overcome their crappy cav by using allied cavalry.

See, this is the problem. *Which* Romans? Remember, you're covering hundreds of years of history. It's like saying 'Americans use tanks' then putting tanks into a Revoluationary War sim.

Re:Even lovlier, and a bigger but (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 5 years ago | (#26274505)

Well to the point, I don't think there was a time that the Romans did not employ cavalry, although I agree that the Equites were not the force in use after the Marian reforms. Generally, though, they had and used cavalry from start to finish.

As for the tank example, we need to bear in mind that over the thousand years that Rome was active in the West, they never discovered or seriously implemented the stirrup. That's most likely because the Roman mindset remained fairly fixed and the rate of technological change was probably quite modest. Its a lot more valid to talk about the 1000 years of the Roman military as a generalized whole than it would be to talk about 200 years of American history. The Romans never made changes of the magnitude of horse to tank in their entire history. Without that significant technological change, cavalry probably did not vary much in the intervening centuries. Rome itself certainly did not start relying on it in preference to the Legions until the Late Empire, if ever.

Re:Even lovlier, and a bigger but (1)

potat0man (724766) | more than 4 years ago | (#26260735)

Cavalry fight from horseback, and cohesive military cavalry usage requires stirrups. Romans DID use mounted infantry though, and this could also perhaps harass enemy skirmish flankers. Stirrups wasn't invented until approximately the 7th or 8th Century. Thus, cavalry does not mean "mounted soldier".

It's this kind of blatant disregard for historical accuracy that just RUINS these games for me.

Re: Even lovlier, and a bigger but (2, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#26260883)

First, Romans did NOT field regiments of archers.

I don't know about 'regiments', but they most certainly did field units of archers during their history.

Secondly, Romans did NOT field any cavalry units.

Yes they did.

Cavalry fight from horseback, and cohesive military cavalry usage requires stirrups. Romans DID use mounted infantry though, and this could also perhaps harass enemy skirmish flankers. Stirrups wasn't invented until approximately the 7th or 8th Century.

So... Alexander's famous cavalry charges were actually infantry charges?

Also, the Roman social hierarchy included a "knight" class. This is not to be interpreted anachronistically as of a kind with the medieval knights, it simply means a social status above Plebeian but beneath the Patrician strata eligible for election to Senate.

Though the Equites were not mounted soldiers during the historical period, it is thought that the designation is a survival from the early period when citizens equipped themselves for war, and the richer ones were the only ones who could support a horse.

Please learn a bit about history before posting dogmatic dismissals.

Re: Even lovlier, and a bigger but (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 4 years ago | (#26263241)

First, Romans did NOT field regiments of archers.

I don't know about 'regiments', but they most certainly did field units of archers during their history.

From what I gather from the other poster, and my extremely spotty knowledge of both military history and roman history, archers should have been an upgrade for another unit, rather than a separate unit. In Rome:TW, if you wanted the minimum number of sword guys and bow guys, you would have one unit of each, which means basically equal numbers, which wouldn't have been consistent with Roman tactics. Archers were attached to a particular unit instead of being distinct.

Also, I could be completely wrong.

Re: Even lovlier, and a bigger but (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265553)

From what I gather from the other poster, and my extremely spotty knowledge of both military history and roman history, archers should have been an upgrade for another unit, rather than a separate unit.

The Romans did do that at times during their history (and similarly with cavalry), but they also fielded archers and cavalry as separate units.

Note that there may have been times when they didn't -- the Roman army evolved greatly over the ~1000 years before it disappeared in the west. See "Structural history of the roman military" on Wikipedia for a quick overview.

A nice casual-but-not-shallow introduction to ancient, classical, and medieval armies can be obtained from the army lists published for the old WRG miniatures rules. The authors obviously put some research into their work, and frequently cite authors or monuments to support contentious interpretations.

BTW (2, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265609)

Secondly, Romans did NOT field any cavalry units. Cavalry fight from horseback, and cohesive military cavalry usage requires stirrups.

This has already been corrected, but I thought I'd add that if you look up Cataphract and Clibanarii on Wikipedia you can find images of ancient monuments showing heavy armored lancers going all the way back to the Hellenistic era.

These were the shock troops of several Near Eastern empires right up through the Byzantine period, including the Romans before the empire split. Generally both horse and rider were armored, sometimes all over, other times on the front side only, and the armor varied greatly in material by time and nation, from mail or lammenates to mere quilted cloth. They charged en masse, in closer formation than western European knights did. In many of the armies they were regulars, trained to fight in formations. In some they were also equipped with a bow for dual-purpose work.

The clibanarii were a specifically Roman variant. The name is derived from the term for a little iron oven, and is taken to indicate that they wore some kind of plate armor.

Re:Lovely, but... (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#26259545)

The Total War games are each set in a single time period.

Which is why, to expand on your own example, the Egyptian armies in R:TW appear to have fallen through a time warp from 800 years earlier while the British ride about in chariots from 300 years in the future.

They had always had auxiliary archer units and/or Roman archers called sagiterii.

That's the late Roman Empire talking, when Rome could recruit auxilia from the middle east. R:TW is set in 240 BC where slingers were all the rage.

You mean Celtic warriors wearing nothing save a torc and a liberal coating of woad on their faces? Much was exaggerated about the "barbarity" of the northern barbarians by classical Roman and Greek historians, but they certainly did have some quite unorthodox battle tactics.

Like hurling hundreds of flaming heads at their enemies to set them on fire? Or entire legions made up of women who do nothing but scream in German? Like the giant packs of war dogs and flaming pigs these are not without some historical precedent, but their depiction in the game is completely at odds with historical records.

I'm not saying that the Total War series are _bad games_, only that they take liberties with their source material and that this irritates some of their fans.

Why though? (2, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#26256009)

What does historical accuracy bring to a game? I mean many games aren't set in the real world at all. Of those that are, it is a twisted version of reality that bears only somewhat of a resemblance. The Rainbow Six games would be an example. Terrorists have not, in fact, attacked Las Vegas and taken over hotels and an elite multinational force is not on standby to stop them. Doesn't mean it wasn't an amusing story for a shooter though.

Well same kind of deal here. The story is based in realty, the many different kingdoms of that time. The sides are also based on real factions, the map is based on the world and so on. However it isn't a story of what happened, just a stage for a game. It isn't a recreation of the literal events, simply an alternate universe inspired by them.

So who cares if it is accurate? The question should be if it is fun, and it is. I'd be all up on them for accuracy if that was what they were claiming. If they said "This is intended to be a completely accurate historical simulation of the Roman Civil War." Well I'd be on their case. However they say (quoting off the box): "Command the greatest armies of all time in Rome: Total War. Lead legions of Roman allied forces and their bloodthristy Barbarian opponents in realistic, bone-crushing battles. Experience the ultimate in 3-D cinematic action and strategically determine your path of war in an epic clash of brains, brawn, and the sheer force of will, to build your empire and control your destiny!"

Doesn't sound like they are pimping a historically accurate simulation, sounds like they are pimping a war game set in Rome. I see nothing wrong with this.

You have to remember that for games, reality often has to take a back seat because reality is often not fun (and also often not fully simulatable). In the case of a Roman game, well if you had historically accurate armies it would likely be impossible to win as anyone but Rome. There's a reason Rome was so successful in conquering. It isn't as though if you took some guy who plays video games and put them in charge of the army of a nation Rome conquered that they'd be able to make things turn out so differently.

No matter what, you are always going to face limitations in a game. You can't make a game a perfect copy of reality. The sandbox only goes so far, at some point there are boundaries. Thus I don't find it useful to try to hold games to any arbitrary realism standard unless they set out to try and be realistic. They should be fun. So long as they are that, who cares about the rest? Pure made up worlds are great, different versions of our own world are great.

Re:Why though? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#26256079)

if you had historically accurate armies it would likely be impossible to win as anyone but Rome.

Three words: Teutoberger Wald, Cannae. Though in general I get your point about Rome generally winning with almost tedious regularity. To many military historians, the interesting ones are when they lost.

Re:Why though? (1)

poity (465672) | more than 4 years ago | (#26261395)

GP wasn't talking about inaccuracies in terms of the pacing of events.

Those who have played RTW will know that the gp was referring to the inaccuracies in depicting the military composition and the social/political foundations upon which the militaries were built.

An example of the former would be the inclusion of chariots and armored archers for the Egyptian faction in 280 BC when the Ptolemaic empire at the time would have fielded phalanxes and light cavalry like all the other Greek successor states that covered most of Europe and Asia Minor all the way to India.

Examples of the latter would include all the supposed nations in RTW (barbarians and greeks) that historically were warring tribes that allied from time to time but had none of the true cohesion of a single nation.

Imagine launching Rainbow Six: Las Vegas and in the game you're armed with a Mauser K98 and a laser blaster sidearm, and the terrorists are ninjas on rollerblades. It was like they made a sandbox for gamers to play in, but got the physics of the sand all wrong.

The Europa Barbarorum mod fixed many of these inaccuracies but engine limitations kept the developers from doing all that they wanted. Even then, it took years just to get that mod out.

Re:Why though? (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26263787)

If Rainbow Six: Las Vegas covered hundreds of years of technology, say 1700-2200, I bet there's a pretty good chance you might end up with the kind of battle you're thinking of.

There's only so much that can be done to balance learning curve, detail, and fun. Most people don't know the difference, plenty who do don't care, the rest would be better off playing turn based hex wargames molded after specific battles.

Re:Why though? (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 4 years ago | (#26263197)

Doesn't sound like they are pimping a historically accurate simulation, sounds like they are pimping a war game set in Rome. I see nothing wrong with this.

You have to remember that for games, reality often has to take a back seat because reality is often not fun (and also often not fully simulatable). In the case of a Roman game, well if you had historically accurate armies it would likely be impossible to win as anyone but Rome. There's a reason Rome was so successful in conquering. It isn't as though if you took some guy who plays video games and put them in charge of the army of a nation Rome conquered that they'd be able to make things turn out so differently.

Certainly, there's nothing wrong with shitting all over history. I think the important thing is to remember that there isn't a "right" way to make a game. If you use a vague historical context, you are making a game which will appeal to a different group of people than if you make a super accurate historical simulator. There exist groups of people that are really into military history, and for them it really is fun to get as close to the reality as practical. Just like some guys enjoy coding in assembly. For that sort of group, removing accuracy for the sake of fun can actually make it less interesting and less fun. Obviously, that's an extremely narrow group, but since they have the most interest in the genre, they also tend to be quite vocal in complaining about historical inaccuracies.

Personally, I'd love to see an RTS that gets naval combat a *lot* closer to a realistic model than any RTS model that I've played before. Not everybody would play it, but I'd consider complex navies to be a really big selling point in an RTS. (Specifically, I'm imagining a game with a lot of customizations on individual ships, for example. You can pick how many guns you want on a ship, what the displacement should be, etc.)

Re:Why though? (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26263803)

Naval combat is sadly one of those things that people view as a depressing afterthought, only needed to get troops from one side of the pond to the other.

I have the same desire though, I'd even settle for a really good space navy game. There are a few that come close but they always leave something lacking.

Re:Why though? (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266327)

I've not seen many good 'navy' combat games. There's a few that are sort of fun, but mostly their 'sea' units are basically 'land' units that go on water. (Supreme Commander naval forces springs to mind. Although I suppose it does have submerged/unsubmerged/shore bombardment mechanics).

I'm hoping that Empire Total War will implement 'full' naval combat and include things like wind direction, changing sail and gun facing. In my opinion they have quite a good track record of making 'maneuver' combat relevant, but having cavalry hitting an infantry unit in the flanks isn't quite in the same realm as a ship which can't actually turn on the spot.

Re:Lovely, but... (1)

astat (959047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26274967)

Nice summary, but I think you (and most other smart reviewers, btw) are still forgetting about the most important thing: Imagine an omniscient God commanding an ancient army. That's just your role in the Total War series.

You have instant communications with all your units. Want your phalanx formation to make a 180Â turn? Give the order, the men will start turning within the second, and be done with it shortly afterwards. In reality, maneuvering large formations was a terribly difficult task, and much training (throughout all stages of military history) had to be invested in such basic skills.

In the Total War series, your elite units will have more "hitpoints" and deal out more damage. But even the dumbest peasant horde obeys your orders within seconds, like a perfect shoal. No comparison to "real peasant armies" who allowed for little more commanding finesse than unleashing them for a frontal assault.

I can see the next Total War release will have awesome-looking battles, epic and all, but they won't change the general aracde-ish concept that appeals to the masses. Actual bayonet fighting rarely occured because it was all about which side would find the courage to charge and which would lose heart first? The hell with it, we want full-scale melee on a regular basis with thousands of men stabbing each other to death.. If real battles were as bloody as depicted in Total War, people would have abolished war alltogether. :P

Okay it will be a fun game, but I am still waiting for the game that aims for the real feeling of being a historic commander.

Re:Lovely, but... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26255467)

Granted that the player can drastically alter the outcome of history, for instance by having a massive Portuguese empire take over all of Europe by 1250 A.D., but it would still be nice to be playing with actual historically significant events and persons.

Europa Universalis

Re:Lovely, but... (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 4 years ago | (#26255809)

And I have a lot of hope for this one, since a good chunk of it will deal with American history which many of the developers probably know a bit more about than Roman, Japanese, or medieval European history.

Creative Assembly is based in the UK and Australia. These countries both teach Roman and medieval European history but do not teach much American history at school. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that Empire: Total War will be more based around the European powers such as the British, French, Spanish, Russian, Dutch etc. empires rather than the US which was not an empire before it conquered Cuba and the Philippines in the Spanish American war in the 1890s.

the series has tended to move forwards in time, with the exception of Medieval 2 which revisited a time period that had already been covered.

Actually, it has moved backwards in time until Medievil 2 Total War. Shogun: Total war was set in the Sengoku period (15th - 17th centuries AD), Medievil: Total War was set in the High and Late Middle Ages 11th - 15th centuries AD. Rome: Total War was set from the founding of Rome to the beginning of the Roman Empire (3rd century BC - 1st century AD). That said, having one in the industrial period is going to be awesome... I'm going to turn the whole map red the way it should have been.

I think if it were to limit itself to real events and persons it would limit the scope of player involvement as the events of the campaign would have to follow reality rather than depend on the player's actions. It would be nice if the factions could be a bit more realistic, I think the Roman factions in R:TW having four totally separate empires was kind of silly, they would be squabbling within one. Also, the bronze age armies in Ptolemaic Egypt were pretty silly too, though I admit that I found it more fun than having yet another side made up with different types of pikemen.

Re:Lovely, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26256015)

"..And I have a lot of hope for this one, since a good chunk of it will deal with American history which many of the developers probably know a bit more about than Roman, Japanese, or medieval European history.."

Since the game is British, I suspect they know less about American history than European. Face it, American history until WW1 was just a backwater, where American settlers were wiping out all the native inhabitants.

The BIG movements in history have been the Empires - Italian vs Spanish vs French vs British in Europe, with Korea vs China in the Far East. And add in the Mongols and the Muslims, who invaded Europe a couple of times...

It would be interesting to see a British Empire including America for a bit longer, but I'm not sure the Americans would add much. They were always too greedy...

Re:Lovely, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26261973)

The 'states may have been a backwater until WWI, but a lot of the things that made that war as deadly and destructive as it was were invented or heavily developed during or in response to the U.S. Civil war. Machine guns, automatic rifles, cartridge rounds, battle ships (starting with rudimentary iron-clads), dedicated sniper rifles with telescopic sights, aerial surveilance/reconnaisance (starting with hot air balloons), military photography, mechanized divisions and related logistics (if you consider rail & steam power), and communications (the telegraph) all have roots going back to when the Union fought to end the secession of the Confederacy.

So yes, we do play quite a role at the beginning of the industrial age even when Brittain still had an actual empire. Remember, for being a backwater we still managed to kick the Brits out (although with a little help from France) and also managed to survive being given a bloody nose in 1812. After that, we pretty much held our own in this hemisphere and even managed to kick Spain out of its colonial holdings. Not too shabby for a backwater country...

Even if the developers don't know too much about it from their education, I'm sure we have plenty of documentation and historians here that could help them out. It's not as obscure and missing of information as things from antiquity.

You can't make a game of this scope accurate (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#26256019)

It is quite possible to make a certain battle or a small campaign historically accurate, but you can't just make something like the rise and fall of the roman empire accurate. Else you'd win. Simply and plainly. You would already have won before the whole thing starts.

First of all, you know the geography of Europe. If you don't, there's accurate maps available, something that the Romans would have sold their firstborn and a few more things for. You wouldn't just go and waste a sizable amount of your resources by trying to "bring peace" to the Germania because you think the world ends where Poland is today. You wouldn't go and listen to some augur telling you you're gonna fall off the world by sailing through the street of Gibraltar.

Another important aspect of Rome's success was that most of the empires they conquered were anything but organized. Rome had a pretty strong bureaucracy behind it that could support vast armies of professional soldiers, something no other empire of the time could. Most of their enemies were smaller, badly organized tribes and empires that didn't really have the same centralized structure of the Roman Empire.

And this goes on throughout all the ages and games you could make out of them. People, great people, all made great mistakes in the way they waged war and led their countries. Spain wasted insane amounts of money trying to find a way to the far east, as did Portugal (one trying to find a way towards the west, the other trying to sail around Africa), and both just realized that it's unprofitable to do that. You know that, and you would most likely not waste your gold on such endeavours. Instead you'll invest in gunpowder and research the weapons behind it because you know that's where the future of warfare is. You would probably not search for the philosopher's stone, though, or try to turn shit into gold.

And so on.

You cannot create an accurate game of this scope and be true to history. You have to sacrifice at least part of it to make the game balanced and playable.

Re:Lovely, but... (1)

Clazzy (958719) | more than 4 years ago | (#26256795)

And I have a lot of hope for this one, since a good chunk of it will deal with American history which many of the developers probably know a bit more about than Roman, Japanese, or medieval European history.

Actually, the developers are British.

Besides, I don't think they've ever set out to be 100% accurate. I think they'll keep key events and ideas in but they'll be creative. I read somewhere about them putting a weapon in that was considered to be an early machine gun. It never took off and became used in the real world but they put it in anyway.

Re:Lovely, but... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#26259701)

I've always liked the Total War series (since Shogun) but must admit to having been caught referring to some of the "history" I learned from the games. Rome:TW is particularly bad in this regard. Granted that the player can drastically alter the outcome of history, for instance by having a massive Portuguese empire take over all of Europe by 1250 A.D., but it would still be nice to be playing with actual historically significant events and persons.

There was a big debate over on the Europa Universalis 3 (a strategy game that takes place from 1399 to 1821) forums about the same issue.

You had people who wanted the historical characters and events on one side, but then you have the side who wants historical plausibility without being straight jacketed into events that still happen regardless of the geopolitical situation.

The developers did favor the historical plausibility side by having events that had triggers that did not rely on dates alone, but they of course compromised by having the option to turn on hard coded rulers.

One of the biggest complaints about EU2 is that nations who historically were conquered or collapsed would case to have new leaders after a certain date and you'd have an immortal leader with no change of government until the end of the game.

So if you, as the player, were able to make say the Golden Khanate survive the Moskovy invasion, then you'd run into this problem real quick in the 1500s.

The same thing would happen for events such as Austria inheriting Hungary. If you were playing multiplayer against other players, you simply have this knowledge that at a particular date you'll get all of Hungary's provinces regardless of how well you are they were doing.

You could be a one province Austria and still inherit a 100 province Hungary.

Anyways... The gist of the matter is that you can't really have events that just happen regardless of the game situation. It has to take into the fact the player can change history quite drastically.

I mean, would you imagine George Washington ever being important or alive had the French or Spanish took over the English colonies in the early 1700's?

What if Napoleon died early in his career? Or if Nelson didn't get shot by a stray bullet.

One thing that would annoy me if one of my Generals always died on a certain hard coded date no matter what I did.

To give and example of the problem with EU2 is

Re:Lovely, but... (1)

EvilMagnus (32878) | more than 4 years ago | (#26262035)


And I have a lot of hope for this one, since a good chunk of it will deal with American history which many of the developers probably know a bit more about than Roman, Japanese, or medieval European history.

Creative Assembly is based in the UK; their developers probably know more about Roman & European history than they do American. ;-)

so 2008 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26255337)

War faring is so 2008...

Unit AI (1)

LuNa7ic (991615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255341)

I hope they fix the unit AI. In the last couple of iterations, my men spent more time running around in circles trying to 'stay in formation' than actually charging. I think there is more fun to be had giving orders when they are actually being obeyed.

Re:Unit AI (4, Funny)

routerl (976394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255443)

I think there is more fun to be had giving orders when they are actually being obeyed.

That's why I shoot deserters.

Re:Unit AI (2, Informative)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 4 years ago | (#26255731)

I think there is more fun to be had giving orders when they are actually being obeyed.

You'd have hated Close Combat then. It was a feature of the AI that they'd refuse orders they felt were unreasonable (suicidal). Or sometimes they'd get stupidly brave and charge the enemy on their own, or become demoralized and scared, eliminating their effectiveness as fighting units.

"Private Murphy!"
"Sir!"
"Do you see that Panzer over there, the one advancing on Bravo Squad's position?"
"Yes sir!"
"I need to you go charge that tank and take it out! We're counting on you son!"
"Uh, sir, I don't really have any AT wea..."
"Get going, Private!"
"With all due respect, you can go to hell, sir!"

And later that day...

"Alright Private. There's a Panzer advancing on our position, flanked by infantry and supported by an entrenched MG42, so we just need to play it cool until... Private..?"
"Chaaaaaaaaarge!!!"

It was maddening at times, but it added an interesting bit of a human element to the battlefield.

Re:Unit AI (1)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265907)

I loved that game :-). Partially because I'm a horrible tactician, and it helped that my soldiers would refuse to do anything stupid. But mostly because it was a thrill when a group of soldiers held a position against unsurmountable odds, or a group made a very brave attack under heavy fire. It made the soldiers seem more real; you try to keep them as safe as possible. With a game like Age of Empires, I don't think twice before sending "troops" to their death; after all, neither do they.

Re:Unit AI (1)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 4 years ago | (#26256583)

There are some units, especially some of the elite ones, that have the attribute of "Will charge without orders". If you don't want that to happen, you shouldn't deploy them.

Although, granted, it is an annoying attribute that I would have had whipped out of my armed forces.

Absolutely amazing game but... (1)

nitsnipe (1332543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255675)

Its level of addictiveness is next door to crack.
I remember many weekends I've wasted with the previous games in the series. Once clocked in 20hours of continuous play. Looks like I might finally be able to break my record once this gets released.
The good thing though is that Online gameplay is not it's "major" component so you wont be quitting your job/school for this.

Games have progressed (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#26255885)

Oh my, how games have progressed since Capt. Kaper [javakaper.dk] (1981) and North & South [wikipedia.org] (1989) which stole away so many hours of my youth!

From time to time, I am utterly amazed at how detailed they can make things these days. I used to say that, with the advent of incredible (or rather, finally credible) graphics, games tended to not put as much value in actual gameplay. The games I've played this last decade have, therefore, been mainly the "good ole ones" as well as "seemingly simple" games (in the way that, say, chess is) with modest graphics. But seeing this, I realize that it's time to update my views.

Naval Battles (1)

cokomonkey (1440695) | more than 4 years ago | (#26256417)

I think these will be the most interesting part of the game, I remember naval battles being present in a similar game, though I can't remember the name. The main issue is the plain difficulty of them, with the multiple clicks required to do the most basic of functions in terms of shooting. My preference will be that they maintain the difficulty rather than make it too easy and basic, I'd love to put my sailing knowledge to get close hauled and then fire abeam to my enemy!

Re:Naval Battles (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 4 years ago | (#26261965)

Are you thinking of Imperial Glory? In some respects it shares very similar gameplay to the TW series. That is, your empire building and management is turned based, and the actual battles are real time. It included naval warfare as well.

Re:Naval Battles (1)

cokomonkey (1440695) | more than 4 years ago | (#26262133)

Ah yes, that was the game! The naval warfare in it seems to be what Empire:TW will use, at least the idea of it.

I'm glad to see the buildings are roughly to scale (1)

distantbody (852269) | more than 4 years ago | (#26256475)

...It's a significant buzzkill when you get up-close to in-game buildings, trees etc and they are way off scale, because of lazy developers/artists. Rome:TW suffered a bit from this, but the worst culprits are always flight sims.

Total War Series (2, Interesting)

mseeger (40923) | more than 4 years ago | (#26256679)

Hi,

i like the series since it's first implementation: Shogun.

But the AI was never something to write home about. Neither on the tactical nor on the strategic level it ever posed a threat. So any improvement here would be a very welcome. But i have my doubts. I'm playing quite a lot of strategy games. I never found an AI which

  • ... could manage a fighting retreat,
  • ... has an understanding of the "schwerpunkt" concept and
  • ... knows when to avoid a fight.

Some AIs have shown a little of one or the other, but none was ever strong on those issues. Typical "human" cheats against comuter opponents are:

  • Split their territory into two parts. Usually the computer treats the loss as any other and doesn't recognize the disadvantages.
  • If outnumbered, you can usually save most of your troops by splitting them. Offer the computer a small sacrifice and withdraw yout host in the opposite direction.
  • Usually an AI has "modes" as agressive, defensive, etc. If the computer is in an agressive mode, invite them to attack your strong points.
  • Typically AIs have problems with counting their enemies. Decision are based on the strongest force. Split your mighty army into small hosts but keep them close together for mutual support. An AI avoiding the large host may attack now.

These are only examples. What i miss in an AI is the impression, that the AI has some kind of strategic plan. AIs never try to mislead me. So there is a lot of room for improvement.

I love beating my oponent.... so i hope the AI doesn't get too strong :-))).

CU on the battlefield, Martin

Re:Total War Series (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 4 years ago | (#26256905)

... has an understanding of the "schwerpunkt" concept

I'll admit, I had to look that one up. This refers to as a concentrated focal point during Blitzkrieg [wikipedia.org] style operations. I'd guess the colloquial term would perhaps be "spearhead?"

I think it would be an absolute blast, albeit a mighty challenge, to program an AI with some of the concepts you've talked about.

Re:Total War Series (1)

mseeger (40923) | more than 4 years ago | (#26257071)

Hi,

sorry, i thought that this german word is heavily used by strategy buffs.

"Spearhead" is the english word for "Angriffsspitze" and is quite different from "Schwerpunkt". The best (and even though lacking a lot) translation would be "main focus". I heard several americans using the german word, since the english translation doesn't catch the meaning quite as good.

Sincerely yours, Martin

Re:Total War Series (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26269143)

Your spearhead is probably aimed at your schwerpunkt. You could have just read the article you referenced [wikipedia.org] :-).

Schwerpunkt translates as 'heavy point' or 'emphasis.' Basically, where are you going to try to break through your enemy lines. The blitzkreig concept was to hit the enemy line hard at a point, break through, then, rather than rolling up the enemy flanks, just keep going, cutting supply lines, farking with rear element and support elements, and heading for your strategic objectives.

Remember that it's a direct response to World War One, which was 'Redcoat tactics with machine guns and artillery.' Instead of lining up your forces, and the enemy doing so, and having a massive clash all along the line of battle, aim the majority of your forces at a specific point, him them hard, and keep going.

Or, put another way, if 'blitzkreig' means 'lightning war,' which it does, the schwerpunkt is the point of impact.

Re:Total War Series (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 4 years ago | (#26257983)

I never found an AI which ... knows when to avoid a fight.

I found quite the opposite problem in Rome and most especially Medieval 2, in that the enemy seemed absolutely terrified of facing me in open ground if I took an even slightly agressive stance. Any attacks seemed to lead to the enemy almost immediately fleeing back to their local town/castle and waiting for me to come to them.

While this may have been a reasonably sound tactic for slowing down an oncoming army, it annoyed me no end as I just don't think the seiges are up to the standard of the open field engagements. It's stopped me actually finishing campaigns in M2 simply because of how very dull everything tends to get in the end-game.

Re:Total War Series (1)

mseeger (40923) | more than 4 years ago | (#26258273)

Hi,

found quite the opposite problem in Rome and most especially Medieval 2, in that the enemy seemed absolutely terrified of facing me in open ground if I took an even slightly agressive stance. Any attacks seemed to lead to the enemy almost immediately fleeing back to their local town/castle and waiting for me to come to them.

It surely knows how to avoid a fight, but not when :-). I meant "when" in the sense of "picking the right time". Sorry for the missunderstanding.

Yours, Martin

Re:Total War Series (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 4 years ago | (#26260861)

Yeah, sieges annoy the crap out of me in TW games. I would do one of two things.

If I wanted the castle/city right away, I'd bring up so many troops that I could not lose, and simply hit automatic battle and win.

If I didn't have enough troops to gamble on an auto battle, I'd simply siege them until they sallied and wait for them to attack me. This usually happened on a field away from the city so that they couldn't simply hop inside the walls again. I would then crush them, but even if I didn't completely eliminate their force, if they were defeated, the city was won without screwing around with the damn walls.

And yeah, the end game starts to get dull. No one can stop you, and you have no more allies any more because they've all piled on you, even when they had been your loyal ally from turn 3. Your cities are too big and too far away to be at all useful to you, but are constantly on the edge of rebellion so you have to be constantly slaughtering their population.

Don't get me wrong, I really like the games, but they have weaknesses that have never been addressed and remain consistently annoying.

They need:

A smarter tactical AI would could at least try and defeat the most common player tactics (like using bridges)

Supply lines of some sort, or some sort of effective abstraction that makes sure that the armies have to focus on maneuvering and fighting to protect them. Most armies didn't just battle for the fun of it, they had to fight because if they turned their backs on a fortress or another army and just kept moving, then their baggage train would be attacked and they'd simply starve.

A diplomatic AI that isn't completely idiotic and doesn't betray you at the drop of a hat.

Re:Total War Series (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266421)

I don't mind fighting around castle walls, or wouldn't if it weren't for just how irritating the pope got with 'cease thy charge Or Else'. I ended up making sure that every army carried a full complement of spies with it, to bundle into the citadels, and open the gates, as that was far quicker than laying siege for 10 years, or trundling around with a large enough complement of siege weaponry to punch through each of the tiers of walls.

It also meant that you got to keep the defenses intact, which was always rather nice.

Not to mention that a 'withdraw' counted as a 'loss' even if all you were trying to do was driveby, smash a wall, kill some of the garrison and come back to do an 'inner' wall next time.

Which was a shame really, as the siege engines were kinda fun. There's something very cathartic about a row of trebuchets unleashing flaming death. (Although not quite as much fun in previous TW games, where there was a 'follow projectile' option, that was just plain awesome)

Re:Total War Series (1)

jtesorie (1421305) | more than 4 years ago | (#26259407)

  • Usually an AI has "modes" as agressive, defensive, etc. If the computer is in an agressive mode, invite them to attack your strong points.
  • Typically AIs have problems with counting their enemies. Decision are based on the strongest force. Split your mighty army into small hosts but keep them close together for mutual support. An AI avoiding the large host may attack now.

Aren't these two battlefield challenges real-world problems that aren't specifically AI issues?

I'm no historian, but I think the two above items are how Meade defeated Robert E. Lee in the "Battle of Gettysburg".

I know it's more complicated than that, but I guess some seemingly "obvious" errors of judgment on the part of the AI might make for a realistic simulation. I guess it's not fun if these AI tricks are easily repeatable, though.

Re:Total War Series (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 4 years ago | (#26260623)

I would be happy if the AI simply learned how to use their vastly superior forces to be able to take a bridge from me. In RTW and MTW, I recall that I could hold off vast legions of enemy units by simply putting 2 or three units of some form of dense spear formation on my side of the bridge and simply letting the enemy charge over the bridge, make this huge mass of troops and just sit there to be massacred by my two or three units.

If I actually had a significant amount of archers and (God help them) artillery, by the time they ran away, there would be enough dead bodies on the bridge to build a house out of.

So, that was silly. If I could form a border with bridges, or get them to attack me on a bridge, the enemy units had almost no chance against me. Of course, when I attacked a bridge, the enemy didn't even bother to hold the bridge in the same way, so I would just saunter over it and crush them.

On the other hand, since the game has no real way of fortifying yourself ("forts" just basically hold up an enemy for 3 turns), I guess it was probably a good thing that I had a recourse to fighting on bridges, because otherwise you'd find yourself constantly outflanked and unable to prevent your cities from being besieged at will.

I know they have said that they wouldn't do it, but I wish they had some concept of supply lines that needed to be protected, which would go far towards making the movements of units on the board make some sort of sense.

It would also help if there was a diplomatic AI that actually understood that you can't just ride your units over my borders whenever you want to if you are neutral or my ally. I don't mind that they actually do it, but I'd like the game to understand that if I get pissed at them and attack, that I'm not actually an aggressor for defending my own borders.

Re:Total War Series (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266455)

I did have a few slightly messy 'bridge' fights, or 'water crossing' fights, but you're mostly right - the computer player was far happier to sit over on the other side waiting for you to emerge from the chokepoint than to chokepoint you and slap you silly like it should. Of course, bridge defenses shouldn't actually work all that well with adequate archer support - longbow were an excellent counter to the 'sit and wait for the opponent to arrive' tactic, as you got to soften them up massively before you charged.

My biggest problem with the diplomacy is how it was virtually impossible to maintain an alliance with someone. I mean, I know it's total war and all, but having a few trade partners would be nice. Backstabbing someone when they're on a 'crushninate' campaign is just plain foolhardy too. There were a couple of occasions where a backstab would net my opponent a region, and there I consider it 'reasonable'.

Yet another way to mangle history (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 4 years ago | (#26257507)

I admit I enjoyed Rome:TW and Shogun:TW, but I have had my doubts about the historical accuracy of the TW titles. Of course they should first and foremost be fun games, so I can understand that if something needs to suffer to preserve the enjoyment of playing, historical accuracy might go by the boards. My problem is that I think a lot of people learn their "historical" facts from sources such as TV, Movies and Games - and none of those media have the slightest interest in presenting objective facts.

I expect this game will be easier to win as the Americans and harder (or possibly impossible) to win as the British, will badly mangle even US history, and will only help firmly cement mythological knowledge of the American Revolutionary war, rather than anything historically accurate. Thats unfortunate.

Re:Yet another way to mangle history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26257769)

I expect this game will be easier to win as the Americans and harder (or possibly impossible) to win as the British, will badly mangle even US history, and will only help firmly cement mythological knowledge of the American Revolutionary war, rather than anything historically accurate. Thats unfortunate.

The developers are British. The publisher is Japanese. Why exactly would they want to mythologize the American revolution?

Re:Yet another way to mangle history (2, Informative)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 4 years ago | (#26257949)

I don't know about Medieval and Shogun, but Rome has a couple of excellent realism mods.

My personal favorite is Europa Barbarorum [europabarbarorum.com] . They even use the local names for cities and factions, rather than the Roman ones (e.g. Carthage isn't called Carthage, the cities in Gaul have Gaulish names with no Romanization, etc.) and have their generals giving commands in the faction's language, at least for the Romans and Greek successor states--I think they were working on the Celt, German, and Arabian factions, too, but I don't know if those were ever finished.

The other big one is Rome Total Realism [rometotalrealism.org] . Also damn good. I played it until I found EB. Much more Rome-centric, ignoring a few large nations at the periphery of the empire in favor of including minor but closer groups like the Illyrians. Uses Roman names for most (all?) cities and factions.

Re:Yet another way to mangle history (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 4 years ago | (#26261001)

The other big one is Rome Total Realism [rometotalrealism.org]. Also damn good. I played it until I found EB. Much more Rome-centric, ignoring a few large nations at the periphery of the empire in favor of including minor but closer groups like the Illyrians. Uses Roman names for most (all?) cities and factions.

I'm confused. Didn't RTR actually make the map significantly larger to the east and add even more non-Roman factions like the Bactrians?

On the other hand, I played RTR a long time ago and they may have changed it. They did definitely have more factions around Rome, and they had a lot more realistic territorial divisions and city names and units.

On whole RTR was great, but at the time it did suffer from some of the shortcomings of the original game, including the mediocre AI.

Re:Yet another way to mangle history (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 4 years ago | (#26261267)

Yeah, they added some factions and did expand the map, but there's an unfortunate hard cap on the total number of factions, forcing modders to make sacrifices.

I think EB's map goes a bit farther east still, all the way out to the limit of Alexander's conquests, so that there's a real frontier on the edge and the far-east successor states are better represented.

The also include a major Arabian power that isn't in RTR, and IIRC the organized tribes of the Steppes are more accurately depicted. IMO, they handle smaller "barbarian" factions better as well; they have intricate regional and province-by-province rules on the behavior and army composition for the "rebel" faction to emulate small but unfocused powers like the Illyrians, rather than giving them their own faction. Same with the lesser Iberian tribes, upper Egypt (that's the part to the south, right? I always get that mixed up. Stupid upside-down river), and Numidia.

Re:Yet another way to mangle history (1)

Kipper the Llama (454021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264329)

Yeah, those Brits at the Creative Assembly, always taking the Americans's side!

Unlock Codes for Exclusive Units (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266725)

It bothers me somewhat that the release of this game includes 'exclusive units'. Game, Play, Amazon each have their own 'exclusive unit' unlock code. (Death's Head Hussars, USS Constitution, Dahomey Amazons respectively). The Special Forces edition also includes unlock codes for 6 other exclusive units (HMS Victory, Rogers Rangers, Ottoman Organ Gun, Ghoorkas, Corso Terrestre Guerillas, Bulkeley's Regiment).

I think that bothers me somewhat. It's only in the campaign, but none the less seems... well, somewhat cheap. Especially given that basically you'll be paying more for the extra units. But being such a fanboy as I am, I'll go for the special forces edition, and try to figure out which of the 3 'pre-order specials' I'd rather have.

But I'm not sure I like this trend in games towards 'special editions'.

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