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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General Non-RPG » Any Total War players here?

Default Any Total War players here?

November 24th, 2006, 08:59
I just gave Medieval II a spin. It's a slightly weird experience, as I feel like I'm wedged somewhere between the grand sweep of history and the French Taunter sketch from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The fake French accents are hilarious, and it doesn't hurt that there are some minor bugs that causes the military advisor in battle to yell complete irrelevancies at times.

I'm not too impressed by the AI, though. It's still pretty unimpressive; doesn't make any use of terrain that I can see, and lets itself be flanked or even surrounded without doing anything to disrupt the process. I never was a fan of the exaggerated height map of the terrain, and they haven't changed that for Medieval II, which has led to some pretty silly situations like having my crossbowmen rain death upon the enemy sitting about a half mile down a cliff face (and the enemy just sitting there and taking it).

I'm playing as the French, and have managed to promptly overextend myself (Metz? What the hell am I doing in Metz?!?); if the English or the Holy Roman Empire attacks, I'm crisped bread product. So far, I like it quite a bit; definitely evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but unlike some of the reviewers, I think the little touches they've added do add a quite a significant layer of gameplay, more than just cosmetic. And many of the UI tweaks are very nice too.

All in all, it appears to be better than I expected. I hate to say it, but I'm enjoying it a lot more than either Gothic 3 or NWN2. If there's one improvement I'd like to see for the next version, it's the AI — even with everything else the same, it would pump even more adrenaline into the gameplay.
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November 24th, 2006, 09:26
I love the Total War series. One of my favorite parts about the games is the ability to make a story about the ruling family since they all have their quirks. I probably like it more than the warfare aspect, which I'm sure seems a little silly.

I also am playing as the french and for whatever reason everybody seems to hate me. The milanees, romans and dutch are all pounding my eastern borders. It's a little aggravating. Especially since I am trying to be 'Pious' and not resort to assassins but they certainly have no qualms against it.

I have seen the AI make use of some terrain but for the most part I'd have to agree that they are still embarrassingly stupid. I can brag to my friends about the odds I can win against but I can't let them watch how I win.
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November 24th, 2006, 15:23
If you want a good strategic map gameplay during the middle ages, try Crusader Kings (or any of the Paradox games for other periods), it's everything the Medieval II: Total War campaign is and much more (as well as a lot more realistic - feudalism is actually implemented). Combat is completely abstracted though - if two opposing armies end up in the same province they fight it out without player intervention.

I kinda liked Rome: Total War, but again the campaign map felt much too flawed - but once I found Rome: Total Realism my interested was greatly raised and I played a few campaigns.

As for Medieval II: Total War - I played some 50 turns as England before losing interest (why the heck is half the map controlled by "rebels"?!). Tried again as HRE, but only got some 20 turns into it before uninstalling the game and deciding to wait for a Medieval II: Total Realism mod.

The combat is really the only good part of the Total War franchise, but the AI rarely uses actual strategy or tactics which make them somewhat uninteresting as well, after a while.
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November 24th, 2006, 17:22
If by "good" you mean "realistic," I agree. However, if by "good" you mean "fun," I don't — I've had a lot of fun with the strategic campains in RTW and RTR, and the one in MTW2 is even more fun.

And yes, it would be cool if the faction system was genuinely dynamic — that is, if empires could split, forming new factions, or any independent region could end up as an empire. It would require a pretty radical rethink of the mechanics though.
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November 24th, 2006, 17:38
just started playing medieval total war 2 last night and i am enjoying it greatly. i too think the small improvements are more than cosmetic and though i've only played for 4 hours its my favourite total war game since shogun. empires can't split in this game? i rememeber in rome/barbarian you would have factions spring out of other ones more than just turning into rebels, like the ostrogoths coming out of the existing goth faction.

i don't think its possible for me to compare strategy/city building games to any other type of game i play mostly rpg's, since i pretty much play both for entirely different reasons and they each ofter their enjoyments for me. i don't see how a strategy game can ever be immersive since you are not playing 'a' character, but that is why it is strategy. some of my favourite/time consuming games have been strategy games but i also see strategy games as reading a 'non'-fiction book where you are learning about everything from all sides. where other games focus on the more narrative approach of fiction novels. any gamer who only plays one of these types of games i feel would be missing out on a bunch.
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November 24th, 2006, 18:14
I didn't play Barbarian Invasion, but I was under the impression that faction splitting was still scripted? That is, certain defined factions could split into other defined factions if some defined conditions were met. I'm thinking of a system where that would happen dynamically. E.g., that would model a region's loyalty to the central authority as opposed to a more local lord.
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November 24th, 2006, 18:36
gotcha, makes sense. but if that was possible for each faction would that be what you want? the rebels are listed as one faction but each rebel town has its own flag. so are you saying you would like each rebel faction that has a town to be listed independently since in all regards they do operate far more independently. i can't see the option of unlimited faction spliting however since that would mire the game in confustion, so there has to be some scripted aspects to it, right?

i also wanted to comment that the music in total war games had been getting worse in my opinion. but i think medieval 2 may be on par with the original shogun or possibly even better as i haven't gotten very far to make that assesment.
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November 28th, 2006, 11:01
As I said, it would involve a major rework of the game mechanics; it's not something you could just tack on. I've no doubt that it'd be doable, though. Also historically closer to correct — medieval, feudal Europe was more or less like that, with independent principalities sometimes banding together (or forced) into larger kingdoms, then fragmenting again. Any princeling could aspire to being a great power.

I've got this pretty cool chart that shows European countries on a timeline from the late Roman empire to the 20th century. It's quite interesting to see countries rise to dominate the political landscape, becoming true superpowers, then often disappear quickly into relative obscurity. Sweden, Lithuania, Serbia, and Denmark all had their day, for example. I'm sure it would be possible to make a TW style game that simulated this type of gameplay, where you could start from some obscure province in the Carpathians, subjugate your neighbors, then extend your influence until you ended up the overlord of the continent. TWM2 isn't it, which isn't to say that it's worse.
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November 30th, 2006, 15:36
I'm playing M2TW at the moment. I like the added interaction with the pope and various missions. The game is amusing, but a big flaw is that they have kept the strategic AI that refuses peace even when hammered. It seems like the AI mainly bases its decision to attack upon whether you control certain provinces on its wantedlist, while local and global military strength plays a very minor role. The AI also doesnt seem to have the sense to go for the rebel settlements.

A good example: Milan decides to attack me (France) rather than take neighbouring rebel-held Florence and Bern. In spite of them only having two stacks of infantry, and me being number one both in army size, technology, number of regions, and economy…

The game also suffers a bit from the curse of mixing tactical and strategic gaming. Campaigns simply take too long if you manage all the battles, but your armies will underperform severely if left for the AI to manage. It is better than MTW1 when it comes to this though as battles are pretty fast.

Originally Posted by KazikluBey View Post
If you want a good strategic map gameplay during the middle ages, try Crusader Kings (or any of the Paradox games for other periods), it's everything the Medieval II: Total War campaign is and much more (as well as a lot more realistic - feudalism is actually implemented). Combat is completely abstracted though - if two opposing armies end up in the same province they fight it out without player intervention.
As for Crusader Kings I'm unable to recommend it even though I am a major Paradox fan. It has a sensible feudalism model (similar to what PJ wants actually) and fun (Romance of 3 Kingdoms-like) person management. This is unfortunately offset by lots of crashes, weird occurances like Muslims taking Prague and being ignored by the christians (and the muslims in turn ignore Christians in the Holy land) and the devs have tried to rectify the problems with rather ad-hoc methods that dont work. Actually defending your vassals from others tends to be a pain in the arse if they border other countries, so I end up taking control of border provinces myself. CK is simply an unfinished game.
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November 30th, 2006, 16:26
@Zaleukos — Weird, Milan only attacked me (France) when it already had Florence; by that time Bern had gone to the HRE though. And then the Venetians sank my returning crusader fleet and attacked Milan (by that time held by me), the bastards.

I agree that the AI ought to be more aggressive in going after rebel settlements though; you can gain a huge edge by going on an all-out land grab in the first few rounds. I'm playing at the hardest difficulty settings, and have only lost a settlement two or three times (and had no trouble getting them back). At least in M2TW (unlike RTW) the AI actually attacks as soon as it can, rather than just camping outside the settlement so you can break the siege at your leisure.

But it's not so easy that it feels dead easy: the Danes just declared war on me, and they've been quietly expanding all over the northern part of the map, and with my hands full with Sicily, Venice, and the HRE in the east and south, things could get quite exciting. And it seems some guy called "Genghis" is riding his pony across Eurasia; it'll be interesting to see what *that* means.

(BTW, I *like* that the campaign is slow. I don't feel in any hurry to finish the game; I quite often play just a couple of rounds per session. At this rate, it ought to be another month or two before I finish with the French — and at that point I'll be looking forward to playing one of the Muslim factions… the Moors, for example.)
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November 30th, 2006, 16:41
PJ: I think there is a bit of random variation in what the AI goes after. In that France game the pope eventually took Florence.

Do you see the AI have his family members walk all over the place (including enemy territories) without any extra units, as if they were on a bloody peregrination trip?

As for the campaigns thats a matter of taste. I am a rather impatient guy and need to feel that I am making some sort of progress in a game I'm also more into the grand strategy side of things. The TW games are decent enough when it comes to mixing strategy and tactics (only Master of Magic and Master of Orion II do this better IMHO) to keep me interested in spite of that character flaw of mine
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November 30th, 2006, 18:18
But I *am* making progress. There's a new building finished practically every turn. ;-)
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December 1st, 2006, 06:45
I'm also a huge fan of the Total War series, but only recently. Rome: Total War was actually the first and so far the only that I've played… but I plan to get Medieval II very soon. I love the battle, especially defending the cities (archers on walls, etc). It may not be extremely realistic but in terms of huge battles and good realistic graphics, the total war series is probably the best for RTS games. I'd put my Total War game right up there with the top 5 of all time (near the Warcraft series and Age of Empires series).

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December 1st, 2006, 13:21
Sieges feel pretty different in M2TW than RTW. It feels a lot easier to bash through gates, and a lot harder to capture walls; taking cities feels a good deal harder (and bloodier) than in RTW. It's also more satisfying and more "tactical;" battles can go off-plan pretty quickly. A part of the reason is that the unit AI seems to deal with walls better than in RTW; they run on, to, and from them more intelligently, and the enemy's combat AI is also more active in getting units on and off walls as dictated by the situation.
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December 1st, 2006, 18:29
There was a seige in M2TW where I had to attack right away since a large force was headed my way and all I had was 1 gate ram. when they destroyed my ram I sent a militia spearmen unit right next to the gate and believe it or not they sent men out to fight my spearmen, at which point I flooded the gate with everything I had… That was on normal difficulty.

Other than that I totally agree with Prime Junta.
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December 1st, 2006, 19:20
I'm glad they made some AI improvements then. I can't wait to play it!

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December 1st, 2006, 20:26
my biggest problem with the game is graphics. they are much better than rtw but the power they demand is high. whereas i was able to play gothic 3 smoothly on all med-high settings. i can't play the larger cities or castles in m2tw without turning nearly all the settings to low. it would be very heplful when they release the patch to give you a 'slider' to change building quality. as of now there is no way to my knowledge to change building quality without a 'global' effect.

despite all that this is my favourite total war game, and i've played them all save the 2nd addon for rtw. the non military aspects to the game have seen by far the most improvement. the merchants are definately my favourite agent as they are a great way to explore, keep an eye on things and bolster your coffers. i finished an english campaign rather quickly. and moved on to hungary for their calvary archers. they have proven way more difficult as from the begining 2 'italian states' have sought my lands, one after the other as well as russia who didn't even weight 10 years before coming after me. oddly the byzantines have been my only ally the whole game not to backstab me. they have their hands full with the dominant mongols who i am currently on a crusade against, with spain being the only other catholic nation to join, heading through the conquered lands of egypt towards jeruselem. all this while russia, milan, and now denmark and poland are trying to pounce on me.

on a side note im glad to see the danes given more territories and power in this game…being half scandanavian myself.
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December 2nd, 2006, 19:32
@curious, that's probably a CPU bottleneck rather than a graphics bottleneck. Each soldier on the screen has individual AI control, which is very CPU-heavy. Try setting the unit size to small; it will probably help.
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December 3rd, 2006, 01:53
well i can play huge battles in the open so that can't be the case can it? also if in a siege battle if i face outwards of the castle city it runs smoothly but as soon as i turn the view past the walls it starts to lag. could it still be a cpu bottleneck then? my cpu is 2.6 p4 and over 3 years old…
personally i think it has to do with the 'size' of my video card. because the speed of my video card is very good. i have the 6600 gtoc which supports shader model 3 i believe and has the fastest memory too. i think the only faster agp card is the 7800gs, but obviously there's some with more ram.
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December 10th, 2006, 13:07
I finished the campaign as the French a bit ahead of schedule; now playing as the Moors. It's a very different experience — I rule in the open where I can use my highly mobile light cavalry and effective archers to greatest effect, but taking cities is a lot tougher. It's also quite exciting to be at the receiving end of a Crusade; I've fought off the French (twice), the Milanese (three times), and the English (twice); the Danes and the HRE are next in line for punishment. Ironically the only Catholic faction I'm happily trading with is… the Pope.

While the Moors don't seem *quite* as polished as the French, they've done a very solid job with them nevertheless. I hope there will be a Total Realism mod somewhere along the line, though.

The AI seems a bit boneheaded when attacking cities, though. I've defended a few, and for some reason they very rarely attempt to bash down the gate; instead they attempt to storm the walls which is really dumb as the defender has a huge advantage: I've decimated much stronger armies with nothing but militia spearmen this way, simply by parking them on the walls at the ladders and siege towers.

They also don't make use of the strategic advantage given by siege artillery — i.e., storming on the same round as laying siege.
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