Started first campaign, decided to play as Elvis.
Hold on, that should read Paris
So much to explore... lots of nice new features. Liking the multi-resource economy, which makes it a lot harder to build stuff and upgrade settlements early on.
I'm back to playing Rome TW 2 again with as many mods and updates as are compatible. Love it. Something satisfying about getting the troop balance just right and handing the computer its Arrse.Well, I've returned to Troy and played it for the last three weeks. Completed a campaign as Achilles, and now playing again as Menelaus.
I think game mechanics for a faction are key, and first time around I played as Paris (I favour archers). It wasn't great. My early impressions were that the combat is too "same-y" - infantry heavy, archers have little impact and not enough cavalry to make field battles tactically interesting.
I've now changed my mind (and archers are effective enough, but not much use against heavy armour). Playing as Achilles, I build armies around the Myrmidons with archers in the second line, and a couple of cavalry for flanking / wiping out archers. Achilles becomes powerful enough (especially with a chariot) to make interesting in his own right; I once took an entire city just using Achilles.
Now I'm playing through as Menelaus, whose game mechanic is that he can recruit troops from anybody with whom he is allied. This makes it more important to secure alliances (I usually don't bother), and opens up a huge and fascinating variety, allowing you to sample the best of all Danaan units without having to play through as every faction. (Ithaca has some interesting specialists.)
I do wish the gods management piece could be less intrusive - it's useful and interesting in the early game, but once I've built loads of temples and got all gods to 600+ I wish it didn't require further management. (I've currently settled on a system involving recruiting heroes who are of either type "Defender-Protector" or "Warlord-Commander". Look for the "Generous host" upgrade; if you garrison them in a city with a temple, it gives +5 favour to that god. One hero garrisoned for each god, plus a Royal Decree +2 upgrade, means that the deterioration rate reduces from -10 per turn to just -3. Throw in the occasional bit of kit / ancillary and it's largely occasional background maintenance with priestesses and hecatombs in the mid- to late-game.)
So I've concluded the battles are more interesting than I earlier gave credit for. Slingers are the new archers. Javelins, which I rarely use in other Total War games, have far superior armour-piercing damage and make mincemeat out of enemy troops mashed up against your heavy frontline. Just have a couple of units of them and keep their javelins until there is a massive crush of enemy fixed - then let fly and watch enemy morale plummet.
Going to play through as Hector next I think; I've won the big battle for Troy as the attacker, and would be interesting to defend the city.
Considering this was a free game, I've already sunk a couple of hundred hours into it. The multiple economy should definitely be retained for all future Total War games - it's transformed the economic side and shapes your strategy. I've found myself knocking down and rebuilding over time, to adjust for shifting priorities of gold (purchasing best units), food or bronze (unit upkeep, depending on type), wood and stone (for those heavy construction projects). I've decided who to invade next, based on constantly being short of a particular resource.
And this is the first game where I've felt that territories are strategically critical. Securing a territory which allows recruitment of centaurs (there are only three provinces on the whole map) opens up cavalry warfare. Without one, the best you can do is chariots. Whether by confederation, betrayal or conquest, you can find yourself doing whatever it takes to grab that one vital territory...
So there we are. I think quality of your front-line infantry is more critical than in most Total War games; it's lovely to watch your carefully-upgraded heavy troops withstanding an enormous onslaught. Oh, and the variety of generals, and the upgrades each type offers, are far more nuanced than other editions and open up completely different gameplay styles.
In summary - at first I was uninspired by the seeming lack of variety in combat. Now I've given it consderably more time and changed my mind. Hooked on a Total War game, yet again.
Back to the fray