Creative Assemblies’ Total War Attila was released in February 2015. It is a part of the Total War franchise- a game of real time battles, and turn based map conquest. It was the highly anticipated successor of Rome 2 Total War. It revolutionised the franchise, introducing narrative gameplay to emerse the player into the early 5th Century AD.
As a game focused on the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Total War Attila centres around the Mediterranean. The start position of the Eastern and Western Roman Empires (395 AD) are broadly accurate, and challenge the player to deal with historically accurate threats. While the West will be concerned with Germanic and Celtic incursions, the East must consolidate their position quickly before the Sassanid Empire invades.
So how does the gameplay reinforce the historical narrative? Well, this is where the faction mechanics shine. The East are incentivised to play financially, while the poorer West are pushed to hire foreign levies and foederati forces, in order to defeat their enemies in a cost effective way. Most other factions are pushed to claim, settle, or destroy specific Roman regions. Similarly, there are minor objectives which, while not compulsory, guide the player to follow the historical events of the period.
The gameplay flow works well, with the representation of climate change reducing fertility, whilst the increasing threat of the Huns creates an atmosphere of strain which encompasses the period perfectly. The largest drawback is the AI (artificial intelligence) – which is uninspired and targets the player, however this is easily fixed via the large modding community this game supports.