Archive for February, 2015

A Pleb Plays…Total War: Attila

Posted: February 27, 2015 in Ancient, Gaming

For Suppressing Fire’s first foray into video gaming, we turn our heads to the man of the moment, Joseph Crouch, and his experiences with the fearful hun…

Disclaimer: This review will run as an every-man’s recounting on what I like and dislike about the game. I operate on a mostly ignorant kilter, with regards to previous entries in the Total War franchise, and the history behind each scenario, as such, you’re going to get pure, unbridled pleb speak.   

My first experiences with Total War: Attila are happy ones; I eagerly start the prologue campaign as some incredibly dramatic music entreats me onwards, promising the same glory I had relished in previous entries.

Suddenly I’m acutely aware of how I faired whilst playing Total War: Rome II; the feeling of many crushing defeats, but the somewhat half-hearted victories. In the few days I had poured into Total War: Rome II, I had managed to unify my Iceni horde and march them across France to ultimately take Rome for themselves, through a combination of luck, reloading and half-arsed social manipulation.  I had managed to take Rome. I felt good. Powerful even.

If my first ten hours into Total War: Attila are anything to go by, this is a game of attrition. A game of being pushed to the very limit and feeling desperate. This makes for exciting stuff! The basic set up being that the Huns are these super Mongolian raiders with no time for anyone…(I mean it, I tried to trade with these bastards and one of them said that I was effectively forcing his just eaten meal back up.).

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In playing the prologue section of Total War: Attila you are treated to a well crafted “mini-campaign” that presents you with any given scenario that you might find yourself up against in the main theatre of war and allows you to get to grips with each of the systems in play (trade and finance, factions, edicts etc.).
You are placed in control of a small tribe of, what I am led to believe, are called Visigoths, quite literally on the verge of being annihilated by invading Ostrogoths and an unknown band of raiders – the Huns. My band of ‘Goths have one stronghold left and are forced to defend it with their lifes!
There’s a few things I’d like to point out within this first scenario:
Firstly, the graphics are…much improved, I wanted to veer away from this kind of praise, but it needs to be said. The settlements and buildings in general are a lot more convincing and go a long way into immersing you in the battlefield. Shacks have smoke billowing from atop, fences and other objects are destructible, and in general you get a sense that the tiny little ‘Goths you’re moving about have some form of impact on the world around them.
The sound design is something to be celebrated too, Based on my dealings with Total War: Rome 2, I had already come to terms with the effectiveness the mix has in immersing you into battle, this time around however, things have changed. The clang of metal against metal, the screams of a wavering troupe of pikemen and the thrum generated by a group of ‘Goths hashing it out over burning corpse ridden battlefields is palpable, well executed, rip roaring stuff.
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The main thing I’d like to get across is this:
I had “that moment”, y’know, where the penny finally drops and you’re like “god…this game is goo…GREAT…I can’t believe how fun this is”. It came during my first siege, after my ‘Goths managed to quell a slave uprising and finally amount some form of rag tag band of ravagers. I had encircled…some kind of big town…bitterly for four turns, until the time was right and I was effectively told to attack by a stroppy A.I. How proud I was when on the fifth reload, I had finally worked out how to use the siege engines effectively and brought fiery ‘Goth thunder down upon the foul Ostrogoths. (The tutorial definitely showed me how to do this, I don’t pay attention when I’m waiting to destroy Ostrogoths) Destroying their watchtowers with hurlers and routing their feeling forces with my cavalry made me feel fantastic, and eventually I had pushed them from outer walls, through the lowlands and shacks, right up to the inner sanctum, where a lone group of pikemen awaited a speedy death.
Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I feel like it’s mostly The Creative Assembly’s fault.

This game is fantastic and you would do well to see it as part of your steam library.

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OS20016-2

Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter

Paul F Crickmore

Osprey Publishing

Available Now

Review by Brad Harmer

Developed by the legendary Lockheed ‘Skunk Works,’ the F-117 Nighthawk was a phenomenal technical achievement. Featuring cutaways, detail plates and battlescene artwork, this book tells the incredible story of the design of the machine, from the revolutionary materials used to the highly advanced computer technology that was employed to make the Stealth Fighter invisible to enemy radar. Written by the world’s leading authority on the aircraft from Lockheed’s ‘Skunk Works’, Paul F. Crickmore, this book reveals the impact the Stealth had in combat over Panama, Yugoslavia and most notably the Persian Gulf.

This book starts off with a nice, solid intro, and some fantastic paintings of the Nighthawk, both in action, and displaying its multiple variants and some of its paint schemes.  Some books like this can often make the reader feel like they’ve been thrown in the deep end, and are already drowning in the stats and technical details.  Thankfully, this isn’t the case here, and the introduction gives the reader a good grounding, and at no point attempts to “blind with science”.

One of this books strongpoints is the excellent anecdotes and stories shared by the test pilots who worked on the Nighthawk’s early development.  The accompanying photos are similarly enjoyable.

The book kicks up a gear when the Nighthawk is finally deployed for combat and ends in a very exciting report of their involvement in Desert Storm.

This is an excellent book for fans of modern aviation and modern warfare, and – in an unusual (but certainly appreciated) twist – is readily read and enjoyed by a casual or new reader.