It is no secret that I am a big fan of Creative Assembly’s Total War series. I’ve been playing it since I was a 12-year old, playing senselessly with Medieval: Total War and being incredibly mesmerized by Rome: Total War. Since then, every title, whether good or bad, gets into my library.
Not that I’m proud of it or anything
The next installment, Warhammer: Total War, will delve away from the historical setting, diving into magic and mythical beasts for a change. For those looking to get introduced to the franchise before diving into Warhammer, here’s a list of the Top 5 Total Wars.
Number 5: Rome 2: Total War (2013)
Wait, the newest game is the last in this list? Yup. Sadly, the release of Rome 2: Total War was marred with letdowns and disappointments. Creative Assembly wasn’t able to deliver the promise that mouthwatering fans were expecting (know why with Number 1). But in its sad state, Rome 2: Total War is still an amazing game. The graphics are definitely in its top shape and the scale of building an empire is as time consuming as imaginable.
Sadly, the game still has its concerns and it would be wise to play the next entries before diving into this title.
Number 4: Empire: Total War (2009)
One of the first photos of the game. The idea of being able to participate in naval battles was very appealing at that time as it was a first for the franchise.
Tragically, it was the precursor of Rome 2: Total War — it was released in shambles. Horses refused to charge, formations were similar to controlling idiots rather than trained professionals, you get why I mean. But Empire is the manifestation of Creative Assembly’s grand plan. We were treated with naval battles, a first for the Total War series, a significant presence of gunpowder, and less micromanagement. The map spanned five continents, crossing the Antlantic and bringing the fight into the Indian peninsula. It was large and worthy of its name.
I would have included Napoleon: Total War due to it being a better game but the scope is very limited compared to Empire. Focusing on just small snippets of the map after Empire: Total War is a very huge letdown. So there’s that.
Number 3: Medieval II: Total War (2006)
After the success of Rome: Total War, Creative Assembly rode the waves with the release of Medieval II: Total War, with just one title in between the Medieval games. Medieval II focuses on the Middle Ages where Maces are a thing and Knights are the heroes of lore. Improving upon Rome’s engine, the game was, at that time, an immensely impressive title. It’s the single and only game where you can see knights, bowmen, and footmen, battle it out in bloody glory. Oh, and it also featured blood without having to download it via DLC, a current practice by recent Total War titles.
I still have it installed in my three PCs as it is one of my go-to games when I am incredibly bored. The game still has an active modding community and it’s not that weird to see Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings themed mods.
Number 2: Shogun 2: Total War (2011)
This was actually one of the first ‘leaked’ photos of the game. I was so impressed that it was one of the main reasons why I built a computer.
If I have to recommend a Total War game to a stranger, I would likely advise him to play Shogun 2. The reincarnation of the first Total War game, Shogun : Total War (2000), is equipped with 11 years worth of graphical and computational upgrades. It’s definitely less in scope, concentrating only on the island nation of Japan. It’s combat mechanics are akin to that of a rock/paper/scissors match, with a lot of tactics and maneuvering mixed in between. It’s easy to play, very well balanced, and fine-tuned. You can see the developers pushing this game hard in terms of design (both audio and visual) and most importantly, it is very fun.
I also have it installed together with the one of the best expansion packs ever created in the history of video games, Fall of the Samurai.
Number 1: Rome: Total War (2004)
The trailer always gives me the goose.
The game that started it all. Creative Assembly’s vision for a war game was recognized in Rome: Total War. We have thousands of 3D units smashing each other’s brains coupled with a bombastic soundtrack. At that time, it was a dream. No other grand strategy game came close (except Civ). It is still playable even with today’s standards but the graphics might off some people. Nonetheless, Rome: Total War, with all its merits, deserve the top spot in any Total War list.
Hopefully, this Top 5 list can get you onto the tracks with Total War: Warhammer. With rave reviews coming in, I just hope to be impressed.