Players don't even have to enter other fictional game types and settings. Our own history is full of interesting conflicts. Some of them have even inspired some of our favorite works of fiction (especially Game of Thrones). So when developer Creative Assembly introduced Total War to the PC gaming community in 2000, it was a dream come true for many of us history buffs.
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It's like witnessing and experiencing some of the greatest battles and wars you've ever read about in books. It's even better than the documentary because you can participate in all the action and even change the course of the game's history. Of course, the developers had to allow themselves countless liberties because these were games after all and they had to be fun. And yet, they are the closest you can come, see and conquer - all from the safety of gaming chairs. Here, all historical Total War games are ranked based on excellence.
11 In general
It's been 19 years since the first Shogun: Total War was released, and the game is still playing. Surprisingly, the graphics are nowhere near 3D, with most units looking like textured sprites. However, for the most die-hard and loyal fans of Total War, that doesn't matter. Then nostalgia took over.
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While the gameplay is dated (it was basically the same in Total War '19), the graphics and artificial intelligence (AI) of strategy games these days aren't doing well. Of course, that's to be expected, and it's enough to know that every other Total War game owes a lot to Shogun.
10 Middle Ages
After the success of Shogun, the developers simply had to continue Total War. So they did and it was modern in the first Medieval: Total War. It was a pretty obvious choice for their next setting; The Middle Ages in Europe are (relatively) well documented and full of great battles and political intrigue.
The graphics seem to have improved a bit - it came out two years after Shogun, which was to be expected. However, looking at these pixelated units can still hurt, especially when they clash in melee. Unlike "modern" Total War games, your medieval soldiers (or generals) turn into pixelated blobs that look like censorship when you zoom out on the battle.
9 throne of Great Britain
Fast forward to 2018 and with the current technology we haveTotal War Saga: Thrones of BritanniaIt also happened in the Middle Ages, but earlier, in 878 to be precise - shortly after the death of the legendary viking Ragnar Lothbrok. As a result, the growing kingdoms of feudal Europe engaged in a fierce power struggle to see who held the most land.
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Unlike its Total War predecessors, Thrones of Britannia has a smaller scope and a less ambitious setting. You probably already know from the title, but the action of the game takes place only in the British Isles (now Great Britain). Apart from the graphics, artificial intelligence and gameplay changes, it doesn't offer any major advantage over the previous two games mentioned above, whose sequels were better than Thrones of Britannia.
8 Rome two
To say that Total War: Rome 2 didn't do well when it was released in 2013 would be an understatement. Honestly, it was a disaster. The AI is annoying, the graphics are choppy and demanding, and the bugs, glitches, and glitches are just an insult to a full-priced game. Worse, it's supposed to be the successor to the first Rome - which was considered a masterpiece at the time of its release.
Why is it better than Thrones of Britannia or the first two Total War games? Well, he's improved a lot. In the five years since launch, the developers have fixed (mostly) the game's issues and even re-released the Imperial Edition of Rome II in 2018 with a graphical upgrade.
Total War: Attila is in many ways an improvement on the Rome II formula. It takes place one year after the brutal launch of Roma II and fights against the dark days before the fall of the Roman Empire. Of course, this includes Attila the Hun himself, who ravaged Europe and Asia like a plague of blades, spears and arrows.
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The gameplay of the battle and campaign maps is very similar to the nomadic mechanics of Rome II in Attila. The Horde mechanics introduce a new style of campaign gameplay, allowing you to focus more on combat and unleashing all kinds of hell on enemy settlements without worrying too much about borders or buildings. This new take on the formula later made waves in the Total War: Warhammer series.
For many fans of the Total War series, Empire: Total War (released in 2009) is as foreign as Warhammer. The Empire is a far cry from the pre-gunpowder hammer and anvil crowd of Total War. It takes place during the colonial period (roughly 16th to 18th century), when most European countries try to acquire as many third world colonies as possible.
For that matter, Empire is probably the best of all the Total War games. The campaign covers almost the entire world from end to end and can be quite chaotic and chaotic when it comes to managing international colonies. Also, Imperio's first introduction of naval warfare to the series is impressive and commendable, but the execution could have been better. Finally, Empire also explores the American Revolution - lots of great new stuff in this game.
Empire is ambitious... maybe even too ambitious for traditional gameplay, and it's often confusing or dizzying. Fortunately, Napoleon: Total War launched in 2010 and gave the Total War games a much needed focus. Instead of devoting himself to one world campaign, Napoleon focused on the campaigns of French generals and emperors in Europe.
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You can play as Napoleon Bonaparte (remember he wasn't short at the time) or his enemies. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars, it depicts both line infantry and gunpowder naval battles. However, it is a significant improvement over Empire.
4 Medieval II
Medieval is an immature game, and its era deserves more than a title anyway. This means that Medieval II: Total War is only a matter of time, and luckily, only four years passed between the original Medieval and the release of Medieval II in 2006. Of course, as expected, the graphics have been greatly improved and are now fully 3D. It may still be dated, but it's still good today, especially with the right mods.
Visuals aside, Medieval II is a lot of fun. Taking over a feudal kingdom in medieval Europe and launching a crusade to reclaim Jerusalem is just one of the many things you can do here. Sometimes you can also anger the Pope, marry your princess to some distant prince to form an alliance, or even overwork your peasants until they rebel.
Rome: Total War is the biggest step Creative Assembly has made in its series so far. Released in 2004, just two years after Medival's first 2.5D textured sprites, it revolutionized strategy games. This is the first Total War game with full 3D graphics that can fight battles on a maximal scale.
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Back then, it was so good that even the History Channel used the game in its history show about the Roman Empire. It is not only graphics that Rome is good at, but also diplomacy, campaigns and even the politics of the Roman Senate. Roma got everything right - it's almost impossible for 2013's Roma II to meet the same standard and set the same level of franchise innovation.
2 Shogun 2
It wasn't until a decade later that Creative Assembly decided to revisit feudal Japan, as they did with Shogun: Total War. And when they did, they created one of the best Total War games of all time, in terms of atmosphere, gameplay, scope, graphics, and even music and sound. To this day, Total War II: Shogun 2 is considered by many to be the best Total War game ever.
Shogun 2 is Creative Assembly at its best. The way they seamlessly blend the Japanese aesthetic with the user interface and how the battle details match the era is amazing. Get close to a mosh pit warrior and you'll even see individual soldiers and even samurai fighting one-on-one in duels. Not to mention the campaign gameplay is also exciting as you will eventually trigger sudden death mode and when your clan or faction becomes too powerful, the Shogun will declare you an enemy of all Japan.
1 three kingdoms
The developers seem to be pretty good at translating the history of the Eastern War into a Total War game. Like Shogun 2, Total War: Three Kingdoms (which just came out in May) was a huge success. It might even be enough to replace Shogun 2 as the definitive Total War game. The Three Kingdoms Discover the Three Kingdoms era in Chinese history during the Han and Jin dynasties when China became a battleground between several warlords competing for power and the emperor's throne.
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Three Kingdoms introduces many new features that refresh Total War's outdated campaign and combat formula. They abandoned the old and clumsy system of diplomacy for something more meaningful and less frustrating. Factions have also been replaced by warlords, each with their own unique military traits and abilities. Not last but certainly not least, the game also introduces a "romance mode" that adds a bit of fantasy where the generals act like the demigods depicted in popular Chinese movies. This is a total war experience that will blow away your other total war games.