Published on May 4th, 2018 | by Chris O'Connor
Total War Saga: Thrones Of Brittania PC Game Review
Summary: Anglo-Saxons, Gaelic clans and Viking settlers battle for Brittania and the glory of forging a great empire. A change from the usual Total War games but a potential gateway to newcomers.
I need to state at the beginning here that my experience with Total War games has mostly been demos prior to this and from what I have read of others playing experience prior Total War experience will factor a lot into whether you like this game or not. It would seem if you like the standard Total War games… you may find this “watered down” or made easier… if like me you aren’t particularly experienced (and you don’t mind games that are challenging but not overwhelming) then it could be up your alley.
My first impression was that it reminded me of a cross between Civilization and Heroes of Might and Magic. The Civilization elements I believe are new(ish) to Total War games and see you building up the settlements in your lands and managing their production to an extent. You have the technology tree, diplomacy options and the general over view of the map (which look stunning). The Heroes of Might and Magic aspect is primarily in the forming of your army and the battles though Total War goes into a lot more detail with the battles due to the real time nature and the ability to issue orders as things go rather than turn by turn. It did take me a little bit to get my bearings, it’s not a steep learning curve but you may find yourself briefly overwhelmed at everything presented to you. The first few tasks you are set should get you reasonably acquainted with the game play and you can build on the experience from there. Experience that you gain can be used to improve your player through “skill points” these help your heroes improve in a number of different ways, from battle bonuses to resource gathering enhancements and other little tweaks that add up over your empire.
Major events are brought to your attention via a notification window and feature some lovely animated images that come across as a sort of cross between stained glass windows and medieval tapestries… with a lovely warm fire like glow to them. In a way it’s nice to bring the focus of conquest down from a global scale to just a portion of the world and this particular portion does have personal interest for me. It wasn’t until I was a few hours in to a play through that I noticed one of the family crests was a tree. “huh… I thought to myself… our family crest is a tree.. I’ll have to try and catch the name next turn.” As it came around, sure enough the name under that family crest was Connacht who later went on to become O’Connor and as my parents were told when they were holidaying over in Britain “descended from the last kings of Ireland”. So there is a chance my entire review will be biased because of an odd faint familial link to the history of the era.
As mentioned the game is split essentially between the battles and the maintenance of the kingdom. The maintenance portion can get fiddly and frustrating (though once you get the hang of it it’s not too bad)… but the battles are of course where Total War games really excel. Your advisor wisely informs you at the start of the battle that a cavalry charge from behind can turn the tide of battle and recommends maneuvering to take advantage of this fact. Indeed it can be quite effective and it’s always a bit of a thrill to watch as your troops sneak off to the side to take a position behind the enemy… just as they descend on your ground based troops… out from behind you charge upon them and break their will, crushing them and routing any remaining forces.
Sieges present their own challenge as you have an initial option of basically wearing the enemy down, attempting to force a surrender or you can bring in the siege machinery/weapons and assault the fortress which will typically involve breaking through the outer wall and then either destroying all the enemy forces or taking a victory point. After battles against armies or forts you generally have an option for how to deal with any survivors which will impact your total reputation. You quickly learn that reputation carries a lot of weight and may well be the difference between forging allegiances that lead to taking the crown and becoming merely an outlaw would be usurper.
Personally, I really enjoy the game, as I mentioned I do have a familial link to the location and the families of the time so I am probably a little biased by that. I also enjoy strategy games like this… some may say it is too easy… I’m quite happy to have a casual play so I’m not fussed if the game is “easier than other Total War games”. If you have an interest in the geographic area and the conquests that formed the modern region this is a worthy game. There are snippets of historic information to learn throughout including details of the different troop types and their origins. I’d recommend it but keep in mind that it’s not a standard Total War game, it’s apparently most closely related to the Attilla Total War game, but if you are ok with that and otherwise enjoy the series, I’d say it’s worth adding to your collection.