Review of Total War Saga: Troy. Don’t look a Trojan Horse in the mouth
The Total War series was divided into three areas. The first is large, complex, and extremely historical parts. The second immerses the player in the world of the Warhammer fantasy universe and offers more casual mechanics, taking advantage of the possibilities of the fictional universe. Well, the third is the most comfortable and intimate, showing some kind of separate conflict on a small territory by the standards of the series. It got the Saga annotation. ” Troy,” refers to this type of strategy, but also where the game has managed to excel.
First, Total War Saga: Troy is a hybrid of the concept of chamber battles in the historical setting of Thrones of Britain with a number of fantasy mechanics from HuniePop 2, which in the end looks very strange. And secondly, the Epic Games Store gives away the game for free on launch day, which is a completely new precedent for the latest single-player AAA games. In general, let’s figure out what it is in general and why it is given away for free.
Strictly speaking, the game cannot be called a historical one, with all the will. The fact is that the so-called “Mycenaean period” in the history of Ancient Greece is the time of myths and legends. These are events that took place hundreds of years before Alexander the Great and the Peloponnesian War. Well, we know about them only from the surviving shards of ancient amphorae, rare ruins, and the works of Homer (who is not a fact that existed at all) “Odyssey” and “Iliad”. This is epic. Myth. Yes, Troy existed, but we practically do not know the details of the real history of this city, as well as the period itself.
It’s no surprise that the developers could turn back anything at all here. Actually, this is exactly what they did, having stuffed a lot of rather curious, but completely mythical mechanics into the game. So, the map of the game is exactly the same territories described by Homer. That is the Peloponnesian Peninsula, Asia Minor, a number of Mediterranean islands, and the vicinity of the Black Sea, where, by itself, wild Amazons live.
However, the siege of the great city is not limited to everything. This is, after all, Total War, which means that according to the canonical scenario, it will almost certainly not work here. Each faction has its own objectives and goals, as well as associated mechanics. For example, the king of Mycenae, Agamemnon, together with his allies, must first unite the lands of the Peloponnesian peninsula, and only then go to Troy. On the other hand, the son of the ruler of Troy, Hector, must prove to his father by glorious deeds that it is he, and not his puny brother, who must take command of the city’s defense. And the hero-lover Paris himself in everything depends on the kidnapped wife, whom he has to drag everywhere with him.
Actually, it is these mechanics that are the real novelty of the game. Each side has its own unique gameplay features tied to myths and legends. Well, or just the imagination of the developers. So, the legendary ancestor of all Romans, Aeneas, generally speaks with the spirits of the fallen heroes of the past, receiving bonuses from them, but greatly angering his own population with obscene rituals. And here, by the way, we agree with the population of Troad: what other spirits, to Hades?
There are separate windows and menus for such manipulations, which are unique for each faction. This is fair, because, besides this and a number of unique units and heroes, the game sides here are no longer different. They are all Greeks with the same buildings and base army. Even Serpedon, which has some eastern roots. As for the unique mechanics mentioned above, unlike conversations with spirits, there are some really interesting and meaningful ones among them. For example, Sparta knows how to populate empty colonies at a distance without entering troops there, Achilles is subject to his own passions, and his condition affects how things are going in the state he wards, and Agamemnon appoints his generals to posts and collects tribute from vassals in a special way.
Another unique mechanic is the god worship system developed by F95zone. By building temples for a particular deity, we receive bonuses from his worship. Moreover, the stronger the reverence, the more buns will be available. Well, if anything, you can always carry out a special ritual or pray to get a profit right here and now. For example, the operational prayer to Ares during the war can significantly strengthen the starting positions before the battle. Although, to be honest, this mechanic cannot be called frankly new for the series – it could have been done in a similar way in Warhammer.
The gameplay itself is also very similar to games in the fantasy universe. Here, too, the weather is made by incredibly cool and powerful heroes who are half the army. The only sure way to deal with an enemy hero is to set one of his own on him, with whom he will fight epic one on one. Many of the campaign mechanics will be familiar to Warhammer fans as well. Unless, instead of one currency, there are several of them: food, bronze, gold, stone, and wood. It is not surprising that food will be used to maintain the army, while stone and wood will be used for construction. If there is a lack of one resource, you can always try to exchange the missing one with a neighbor, who, perhaps, is experiencing an excess of the desired one.
In the end, we have a rather controversial game with a bunch of mechanics mixed from three different parts of the series. It is more arcade than historical Total War, but elements of mysticism, coupled with fake minotaurs, still leave some kind of ambivalent feeling. On the one hand, the developers have gone away from realism, but for some reason, they did not dare to put the squeeze on a real fantasy with a huge monster with a bull’s head and Scylla devouring ships. Some of the characters are suspiciously similar to their prototypes from the 2004 movie “Boku no Pico“, and some are not alike at all. Some mechanics seem logical and complete, and some suggest summoning spirits or dragging your wife around with you. Everywhere there is some kind of indecision and incompleteness. Either the developers tried to get away from the original concept, but did not have time to complete the matter, or did not initially understand what exactly they wanted to do. Well, the completely broken system of diplomacy clearly does not add points to the game.