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Epic Store

Rating: 8/10

Synopsis

A new Total War Saga game: TROY is the first entry in the award-winning series to focus on the legendary 20-year conflict between the kingdoms of Troy and Mycenaean Greece, now known as the Trojan War, set against the striking backdrop of the Bronze Age Mediterranean.

Combining Total War’s unique blend of grand, turn-based empire management and spectacular real-time battles, TROY explores this epic conflict from both the Greek and Trojan perspectives – peeling back the layers of myth and legend to reveal the realities that may have inspired them.

Play as one of eight famed Heroes, and fight to conquer or protect the legendary kingdom of Troy.

Review

Total War Saga Troy is a brilliant introduction to the period of Ancient Greece within the Bronze Age. A stunning campaign map combined with fantastic artistic visual design really brings this world alive. If anything, this is an immersive experience that keeps you gripped into this era of the famed Trojan era. This game itself is based on the Illiad, and I believe it follows it very closely. This game, however, does have its flaws, and ones which I won’t hesitate to point out. They do somewhat show some of the game’s flaws, but it isn’t anything too detracting so to say.

Campaign

The campaign map is beautiful and gorgeous, and the UI design is something I really wished the classical factions of Rome II had instead of the black transparent UI that they currently have. The unit designs are visually fantastic. The ocean is a deep dark blue that reminds you of that period. I remember watching a video where the CA developers at CA Sofia (a studio based in Bulgaria) said they had grown up with the study of the Iliad which is very popular in Bulgaria. They’ve captured the essence of the Trojan War here. There’s even a cool mountain that shows Mount Olympus with bright flashy animations of lightning which I thought was a really cool touch. The sky is painted with classical Greek-inspired pottery designs, and it almost gives that Disney Vibe of Hercules. CA has always wanted to go for a more Hollywood look with their games, and this one doesn’t fail to disappoint.

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That said, the UI is still complicated in some areas. For example, the building scheme could have been more simplified in my opinion because in this game you’re essentially living in an era where money hasn’t become a thing yet. Bartering goods like wood, stone, leather is more valuable than gold is. As you progress through the game, I believe gold becomes more valuable at the end, but I digress. The building schemes do have bright visual colors, but it also borrows from the Warhammer II campaign system where you can’t build two of the same buildings in one settlement. Which is a good thing. But then, you have to make sure you’re choosing buildings that are producing natural resources, and sure, gold is something you can focus on later. However, the positive aspect of the UI is that its color scheme of orange, black and brown work really well together. So it’s still one of the best looking UI’s Total War has produced in a while.

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This also plays into the diplomatic screen which is, of course, borrowed from Rome II and modified with Warhammer II’s diplomatic UI. It is very easy to use, and new players won’t have problems accessing it. The problem with diplomacy lies two-fold: The AI does tend to often, as is in previous total wars, often ask you for trade agreements that favor them rather than you. You might get diplomatic trade agreements during turn times when you really want them not to interrupt you as you wait for your next turn. The other aspect is that major factions do tend to die off quicker than expected. And that’s something I think needs to be looked at. This game has constant new DLCs, especially with the new Amazon DLC and Ajax and Diomedes DLC. All the DLCs are worth it. Bascially put, the ambient music is well crafted. I do want Total War to move forwards in the soundtrack perspective and focus on cinematic music ambiance. At least, give us some of that. Because it really fits into the theme. I would say this game is perfect for those that love this period. Never mind the mechanics. I can’t recall if there was a unique dialogue between the faction leaders when I was on the diplomatic screen, but I think there should be more of it.

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Add to that, you have a diverse range of starting positions, from the witty Agammenon planning his conquest in Myceance, to Hector of Troy preparing to invade other lands and getting ready for a possible invasion of Greece. No starting position is ever boring. There is action. You are fighting in the mountains, in the cities and in all sorts of skrimish battles. Every Starting Lord has a unique position that comes with its own unique set of challenges. The mission trees are well designed, with extensive written information that guides the player a lot. It is a step up from previous mission trees that I don’t see a lot of acknowledgment now. Older historical titles had mission trees but their UI designs weren’t well done to me. In Troy, in it’s your face, it tells you what to do. For example, you have the Ritual of the Gods, where you can sacrifice to the Gods or offer a Praying. This I believe really fits the theme of the Truth Behind Myth that the team were going for. I do want more mythical realm events in this game, I want more Greek Mythology seeing as this game is going for a approach between fantasy and history.

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Also, the starting lords are heroes themselves that has been influenced by Three Kingdoms. Your heroes gain skills and abilities throughout battles, and because of that you have a skill tree and ability to follow through. It flows much like an RPG system and I think this is a real benefit of newer Total War Games. They are becoming more intensive, they are becoming more critical, they are becoming more immersive. Three Kingdoms to me, is the perfect idea of what a Total War Game would and should look like in terms of campaign mechanics. Give the player more to do in the campaign. It’s simplified, and while older total war fans will feel like the old days of Medieval II are the best, I would say that the newer total war games have something the old ones didn’t have: Complexity.

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Battles

Battles in Total War Saga Troy are a mixed bag for me. They’re essentially like Shogun 2 battles in many respects. Bear in mind, I play Total War for the essence of visuals and amazing battles that come alive. I am not a statistic person, and I am not an expert on them. But I will say since Three Kingdoms, I am relying less and less on my opinion of letting it go when it comes to this but battles have to be less and less on missiles. I dislike that Total War Battles extremely focus on the strength of missile units and how easily they can take down a strong unit of elite spearmen. Perhaps in this era, they probably were accurate.

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They could run fast. Cavalry in this period is non-existent, with the emphasis being on chariots. We have no idea how Bronze Age Battles were fought. Though I want a newer system that places an emphasis on slow tactics, less reliance on missile units, and a tanker style system put in place. That said, the battles are visually gorgeous, there is extensive use of terrain, and everything looks great. The Ajax and Diomedes DLC also adds a new feature where units gain experience in battle and thus you can buff them up, and they become paragon style units with their new extensive tree-lines, but each system differs for both Ajax and Diomedes.

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For example, Diomedes conquers regions of the map and then recruits specialized units that are more or less upgraded and can call upon his strategos to train those units for him. Bascially put, it’s a great system that I would like to see extended for the other legendary lords of this era. That said, my criticism of Total War Battles being too fast-paced also stretches back to the days of Napoleon Total War and Rome II. I like using missiles like every Total War Player out there, but it is becoming annoying to keep relying on missiles. That said, I am not an expert in this matter so these are my own thoughts.

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That said, one of the flaws of battles in particular are the city maps. I feel the city maps could have more varation like Mycneace and Athens, and I feel there needs to be far more tiers. At least a Carthage style Rome II map for some of the port cities would make more sense. I do wish there was less copy and paste and there was more varation in style of the cities we besiege which is why I would want CA to release additional new city maps. Or at least a system where it releases 2-3 new maps. Warhammer II which is nearing the ending of its cycle additionally got new maps in the style of ambush and cities and tunnel style maps. I would want CA to release mythical style maps reflecting on the Greek seasons to focus more on the truth behind the myth cause. I also want to see more cities with more coloured style buildings (I don’t know how to describe them) instead of the white looking houses.

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That being said, I’ll now focus on something that isn’t so much of a popular opinion. This game needs to expand beyond the scope of the Trojan era. Agamemnon was a cunning warlord and had he the chance, if he had decided to expand beyond Troy, he would have come and encountered the Hittites. Of course, I don’t know what would happen then. The Bronze Age is still an era shrouded in mystery. Its mythical status is legendary, however. But this game needs the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and the Hittites. I mean during my campaign I get gifts from an Egyptian Pharoah and I seriously wonder why they aren’t in this game. This game has the perfect platform and in many ways, I feel was an experiment to focus on what a Bronze Age Total War would look like. Well, the reason I say this, is because this is a game based on alternate history. You are changing the period of the Illiad in this very game. So why not change even more history, why not become Achilles and travel to the mystical lands of Egypt? Surely there would be signs of the Gods going there? Trojans escaping to other lands is dangerous for the Greeks because those Trojans could bring expeditions of foreign armies to conquer Greece, much like the Chaos invasion of the Old World in Warhammer II. Sure, this game is only focused on the Trojan-Greek Wars, but I still do not want to see the potential of a Bronze Age Total War being wasted.

This is bascially what you get:

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You see the new empires? The new kingdoms, the new cities we’ll get? Imagine how cool an Assyrian city would look like in a Bronze Age Total War game. This is what a Bronze Age Total War must look. It is a desire of mine, but that’s me.

Conclusions

For new players new to Total War, this is an excellent start. It’s gone beyond what Total War has ever done before in terms of the time period. It is an easy, well-rounded game that provides hours of fun gameplay mechanics, and the campaigns are invigorating and extremely well-written events thanks to the brilliant writing teams at CA that have been making sure we are immersed into the era. There are some flaws, but it’s minimal compared to the positives here. I would say, pick this game up. You might be pleasantly surprised! It is also an extremely well-optimized game.

Overall rating

Design
8.0
Features
8.0
Performance
8.0
Value
10.0
Overall rating
10.0
The good
  • UI Design is excellent. Immersive Campaign. Beautiful battles
The bad
  • UI could be simplified in some areas. Campaign map could extend into featuring the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Mittani and the Hitties.

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About author

Madaaworld12

Ancient History fan and fantasy book reviewer/Gaming Youtuber! DM on twitter for review requests/blog tours. Youtube | alalhambrabookreviews.home.blog/

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