The Total War Saga franchise combines careful strategy with the quick thinking of real time battles. With A Total War Saga: TROY, players now have the chance to be a part of history, reliving epic battles from Greek mythology. Setting a stage within Troy and during Greek mythology allows Creative Assembly to inject their own storytelling interpretations as most, if not all, of Greek mythology is mythical and there isn’t a definite representation of what occurred during the time period.
Getting to be a denizen of Troy allows you to interact with historical figures of the time period, such as Greek gods. Worshipping these gods will be an integral part of your survival and, unfortunately, won’t be free. While worshipping a god will come at a cost, in the long run it could be vital to your survival. Worshipping Poseidon, for example, might help your waterways whereas worshipping Athena could benefit your troops by giving them a bonus. Worshipping multiple gods is possible, but this threatens to blow through your treasure quickly if you get greedy. You could also feel the wrath of the gods if you can’t worship them properly, so don’t spend all your wealth on one deity.
To set the table for what players are getting themselves into, the Prince of Troy, Paris, abducts Helen from Sparta. King Menelaus isn’t pleased and, along with his brother, King Agamemnon, calls on heroes like Achilles to travel to Troy and rescue Helen from Paris. Players will be living the events of the Trojan War played out in real-time strategy battles, building an empire and a heroic backstory of their own. The game does a great job with the lore and story by having the characters voiced. The players of the Trojan War have been provided voices that fit their roles perfectly, which helps drive player immersion. King Menelaus, for example, is furious that the queen has been abducted and that comes across well through the voice acting.
During the story, you’ll play as one of several heroes that took part in the Trojan War. Each hero has different abilities and faction abilities that can help turn the tide of battle. Faction abilities could help you recruit more troops if you need them but be warned; faction abilities cost resources so there’s always a risk versus reward involved. Resources aren’t always easy to come by, either, and different troops may require different resources to be recruited. Players will also need to spend resources to upgrade their settlements, so balancing is required to survive and create a thriving empire.
During battles, you’ll have full control of your troops, but those controls don't work as well as I'd hoped. You’ll have to move one unit at a time rather than moving groups together. This can be a hassle for the bowmen and attacking troops, as they sometimes need a large area to attack. That said, you’ll be able to control troops during battle and give them orders, like what direction to move as well as whom to attack. The battles are simple to get into but feel like they’re tough to master. During the first few battles, you’re able to just give simple commands and the troops follow. However, when you get to later battles or change the difficulty, the opposing troops will perform different actions, similar to a real army making adjustments on the fly. You’ll have access to commands during battles such as commanding troops to move on weaker opponents or use your hero’s command to turn the battle in your favor.
Once the battles begin, weather will play a factor and can negatively impact your troops. Rain, for example, will slow recovery time, and players must factor conditions into deciding when to engage. The weather fell short for me in terms of graphical prowess as it's tough to tell that it is actually raining. Another graphical issue I noticed was how difficult it is to tell what group of fighters you're looking at during battle. It was hard to differentiate the bowmen from the ax fighters as the overhead view seemed a bit too zoomed out. That type of camera is used in all kinds of strategy games but it just felt too high in the air here. There are moments where TROY looks great, though, such as the introduction cinematic and the end-battle fight scene between two leaders.
As things progress, players will have the ability to claim land and settlements on the over-world map of Troy, which should be a consideration in your strategy. That map will allow you to keep an eye on your troops and precious resources, as well as determine the layout and formation of your army. This is vital to having success on the battlefield, as improperly positioned troops could doom you in battle before it begins.
A Total War Saga: TROY does a good job in retelling the events of the Trojan War by using interesting elements from Greek mythology as well as the Iliad. However, there were times where the controls felt a little stiff, such as troop organization. The game also doesn’t meet its full potential graphically. That said, battles are simplistic to play but difficult to master. Since there are different lead characters to play as, TROY offers plenty of replay value as well as a chance to enjoy some Greek mythology on each run. It's not a perfect game, but fighting the Minotaur is too cool to pass up!
This review is based on a code provided by the developer. A Total War Saga: TROY is available on the Epic Games Store August 13
A Total War Saga: Troy
- variety of heroes increase replay value
- Voice acting
- Simplistic battles
- Troop formation controls
- graphical limitations, especially weather-related
Steve Tyminski posted a new article, A Total War Saga: TROY review: The power of TROY