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Total War: ATTILA Review

 CHEATfactor Game Review by:  Joe Sinicki Reviewed on: PC 
 

Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Total War: ATTILA. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.

If the Total War series was a restaurant, ATTILA would be it's newly hired, fresh out of culinary school chef. It keeps the recipes mostly the same but spices it up here and there with new ingredients that new customers won't give a second thought too, but those making return trips are sure to appreciate. It may be very familiar but the latest installment in Sega and Creative Assembly's long running war series feels like a much more thought out and complete experience that atones for some of the misses in Total War: Rome 2. That being said, this is still a difficult game to jump into if you're not familiar with the previous games and not every aspect of the game feels like its been given the ATTILA overhaul.

With the latest in the series, Total War doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, and it really didn't need to. It capitalizes on what the series does well, and always has - minute strategy sessions leading to huge epic battles. As you'd expect, ATTILA succeeds wildly in this and it's as fun as ever to zoom in on the battlefield and watch your plans come to bloody fruition. While there were some frame rate issues during my time with the game, they were mostly whipped out before long with patches and I never saw a game breaking bug during my entire time that I've been playing the game. I feel like I say it every time but I'm constantly impressed by how well each Total War game handles the truly massive amount of things happening on screen during these epic battles and Atilla is no different.

 
...enough to scare off would be new comers to the series.
Total War: ATTILA Review Screenshot
 

New to this iteration is the choice in just how you'd like to play Total War's campaign. By choosing to start out as the already established Roman Empire, Total War: ATTILA feels grand right from the start. You're immediately thrust in charge of the entire empire including the micro management of city resources, family struggles and diplomacy. It's the way most returning Total War players are going to be most familiar with and it was a relief to just get right to the good stuff (if that's what you're into). Be warned though, the Total War series has always been a management screen heavy experience and diving head first into a strong empire seems to bring out the worst of it, and it's enough to scare off would be new comers to the series.

That's not to say that Creative Assembly hasn't taken a major step in cleaning up the user interface with the newest game in the series as it's done a great deal to clean up how messy some of the previous games menus were but the game still suffers from menu overload at times, especially when you're deep into the game's campaign. By the time you've really built up your empire you're focusing on upgrading so many different things and making sure each resource is handled the right way, and that's great for those who play Total War for the management system but for me it took away from the battles, the real reason I'm always excited about a new Total War game.

If you're like me, you may want to try out one of the Hun campaigns that the game is named after. Instead of starting as an established and complicated empire, you take command of a roving band of nomadic warriors with no borders to worry about and no real political system to speak of. You'll still be making decisions that effect the lives of your tribe, but they deal more with survival than conquest (though there's that too). Say what you will about this not being a “true Total War” experience but I quickly fell in love with this mode as it made me think not of how I was going to beat the game and it's quirks, but how I was actually going to manage to keep my troops alive. The game throws a lot of unique scenarios at you and the changing seasons will make things even harder as parts of the map become uninhabitable quickly. I had to rethink my strategy quickly and it made the game that more exciting.

 
...unfortunately it's often not done right.
Total War: ATTILA Review Screenshot
 

It's disappointing though that ATTILA doesn't fix some of the series bigger issues with diplomacy. If you've never played a a Total War game before, the diplomacy system plays a huge part in how you're game is going to play out and when it's done right, it can be a huge difference maker, but unfortunately it's often not done right. Say I, as an established empire had a friendly relationship with the small town at my borders and they need a resource, which I have in abundance, so I initiate a trade that offers them a great deal of what they're looking for. Why would they refuse the deal? What's worse, they rarely ever give you a reason that the deal was declined, and even when they do; it's in the form of a ludicrous counter-offer.

You can also jump right into the historic battles mode if you want to jump right into the game's battles (otherwise, expect some long games). The game also includes the typical multiplayer and skirmish battles that the series is known for. For what it's worth, I had the biggest problems with frame rate when I was playing multiplayer, even with the auto-resolved battles feature turned on.

Total War: ATTILA feels like a step in the right direction for a series that was quickly losing steam under the weight of it's own features. It may not fix all of the problems the series has become known for, but it does being the process with huge steps. It's less convoluted and the gameplay choices will often make you think more about surviving than beating the game's quirks. It may be hard to jump into as a new user, but Total War: ATTILA is more than enough to atone for the issues in previous games.

 
Overall:  8/10 Presentation: 8 Gameplay: 8 
Lasting Appeal: 9 CHEATfactor: 9 
 
 
CHEATfactor
 
CHEATS USED: One Turn Construction, Mega Gold, Reset Food, more
 
Regardless of which way you decide to play Total War: ATTILA, the trainer from Cheat Happens features a great mix of cheats that can supplement the way you play. Many of the cheats, like one-turn construction and mega gold are ones that we've seen before with other strategy games (and even some previous Total War games) but that doesn't make them any less impactful for the experience. As I played as the Huns more often than not, I loved the heal unit, reset food and unlimited movement cheats as they gave me more of a chance against the bigger empires.
 
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