- Platforms: Windows 7/8/10, macOS, Linux, GNU PC
- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Infinity Ward
- Genre: FPS
- Studio: Creative Assembly
- Release Date: February 14, 2020
“One of the most classical tales in history like we’ve never seen before. The Troy gets tactical and interactive with Total War’s engine.”
I love real-time-strategy games. On this particular branch, there’s nothing like the Total War saga.
Troy feels like a step forward for the franchise. It takes the series a thousand years back, but old-age military action is hardly enough to keep you excited.
Still, just like Homer’s tales, the studio does its best to immerse you into the game’s narrative experience.
And once you start diving into ints many mechanics, you’ll see why Troy is the best RTS game of 2021. We can’t dismiss this game for its Bronze Age setting. They managed to capture the historical period to perfection and bring it forward with smooth graphics.
Missteps and right-steps
As a long-time fan of the series, I realized Troy is quite stylish for the franchise standards. Cutscenes are not quite polished, though, but the rest of the game feels surreal.
Troy’s factions depend on their leaders. For example, Achille’s faction is strong but unpredicteble.
Soaring mountains, ancient Greek pottery, and Divine imaginary deliver a theatrical feeling. The color palette and the battle animations are also perfect. Then, the music only helps to transport me even further to the Bronze Age, where opposing generals are fighting over the ancient city of Troy.
There are some cracks in the ornament, though. The AI, for example, is not particularly smart.
There’re also some highlights. For instance, faction design and narrative plot are better than ever.
But before we go on, I warn you. This is not the best game of the franchise, that spot belongs to Rome: Total War. That is one of the best games ever period. Troy, though, adds similar features and lives in a comparable historical period.
That said, if you’re a fan of the franchise, I bet Total War: Troy is going a must-play experience for you.
Myth and legend
The Greek Bronze Age is a period of myth and legend. I get its color from The Iliad, The Odyssey, and many epic Greek tales serving as Troy’s source material. It rounds everything up with mud houses, rudimentary weapons, and essential economies that reminds us how far the game is taking us back.
If you’ve read any of that (and you probably did back in school), you’ll know betrayal, murder, and infidelity are around the corner. After some divine intervention, prince Melenaus runs off with Spartan queen Helen to Troy. It plunges Aegean into war.
Conquer through power or diplomacy
You can fight with whatever faction you want for the ultimate goal of conquering the island. Different figures -like Achilles- lead each faction, whereas each faction feels distinct.
Depending on what you choose, you get different goals, units, fighting styles, and campaing abilities.
Then, each faction can recruit beasts you would find locked up behind the Tartarus wall. But instead of half-men/half-beasts, there’s an extensive display of less poetic fighting units as if the studio was trying to figure out the fact behind the fiction.
For instance, you can have a wall of spearman holding the ground next to harpies, only that harpies are fast spear-throwing women with a battle-dress full of feathers.
Going deeper and deeper into the many layers of complexity of this game is exciting. Total War Saga: Troy is a mix of old and new ideas of the franchise. Some of the new add-ons are great, but others are unnecessarily complex.
The faction leaders, the heroes, can win the campaing based on conditions the game calls “Homeric Victories.” That’s an essential aspect of the game, as it highlights the role of each character of the Iliad.
As a result, each campaing feels like a new tale, a new book. Winning is more nuanced than conquering the whole map. Often, you’ll discover answering your king’s call-to-arms is not the best idea.
There’re eight factions in total, and Creative Assembly created a narrative-driven epic campaing for every one of them. Defeating the game often leads you to big alliances through conquest, diplomacy, or confederation. It’s a tactical conflict that turns Troy into one of the smartest RTS games in the market.
Ultimately, each faction must either defend or conquer Troy. You’ll need half of the map at your feet to cross the Aegean sea and take down your enemies.
The many layers of complexity
The map is vast and gorgeous. From its lush valleys to the scattered Cyclades islands, every corner is stunning.
As you discover new areas, ancient writing covers the surface as an omen predicting your destiny. And that’s just one of many details Troy’s interface carries for you.
On the world map, you’ll be managing your cities, your armies, your economy, and your diplomacy.
One of the annoying new features is the “Quick Deal” option. Foreign leaders spam requests for one-side deals, and that includes gifts. Once again, Total War can’t get a grip on diplomacy, so gaining enemies is much easier than making allies.
See, I can’t explain the mechanics of the game on paper. It’s second nature to me, but if you’re new to the series, I think it’s best to refer you to a tutorial video. By the way, if you’re new, Troy is a great way to introduce yourself to this RTS franchise.
What we came here for is the battles
Battles have a couple of new tweaks you’ll like. For example, the ability to hide light infantry on tall grass is quite neat.
The field battles can be great, challenging, and fun. However, AI is frequently a deal-breaker. How come older games like Total War: Shogun or Total War: Rome did better in this department?
“Era accurate” sometimes means boring and slow
That said, the Bronze Age was a challenge for Creative Assembly. Clubmans and slingers don’t always deliver the most significant action. That said, the clashes revolve around maneuvering light and nimble units against mighty spear walls. Bows and cavalry are a thing of the future.
Usually, you’ll have to run your army to the nearest choke point, place your Phalanx spear walls, and use your light infantry as cavalry.
Siege battles, though, are better left to the automatic resolve option. Or, better yet, you can surround a city and wait for them to surrender. That’s because you don’t have access to many siege units. Battering rams come late in the game, but punching a hole in the walls is not that exciting.
Other than that, you can use ladders to climb the walls if you feel like wasting entire armies. Without decent options to conquer a city, Total War: Saga turns more into a waiting game. Albeit that’s accurate for the era, it takes away the momentum you’ve built on your previous field battles.
Additionally, you’ll start the game with low-tier units. These hardly unarmed peasants will rout pretty quickly, so early bronze battles will crumble before you can even say “joust.” It’s another nuisance that makes many engagements feel chaotic and dumb.
The thing is Creative Assembly has done it better before. Rome, Shogun, or Warhammer 2 are where the series did best. Nevertheless, Troy has enough to stand on its own two feats. It shines more than it fails.
Troy drips with style, narrative plots, distinct faction, a diverse campaing objective. It’s a passionate take on the Trojan War tale and its iconic characters.
It has many flaws, though. AI and the economy are suffering from this entry. However, the developers could evolve this title with a few post-launch patches and fixes. I know Total War Saga: Troy has the potential to be amongst the best titles of the franchise.
Lastly, although it’s far from perfect, it’s faction-driven campaigns makes this game quite replayable.