A Pleb Plays…Total War: ATTILA – Longbeards Culture Pack

Posted: March 20, 2015 in Ancient, Gaming

Joseph Crouch is back with more news on Total War: Attila, and this time he’s been playing with the Longbeards Culture Pack

longbeards

The Longbeards DLC has only proven to me that beards are the way to go if you want to decimate half of Europe.

I begin my new playthrough as the Langobards. They looked pretty cool, appearing slightly Viking-esque, a culture which I relished pitting against Atilla’s horde.

The playthrough begins with a short cutscene detailing the beleaguered nature of the Langobard’s plight. From what I gather, a tonne of infighting and cultural shifts fractured the culture and left the Langobards largely weakened. Cue the player, and the countdown to Atilla’s birth. The first “Mission” so to speak.

Prepare.

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Now, at the start of this game I spent a lot of time calling these dudes the LangoBeards, and I’m expending a lot of energy to refrain from calling them that, though I find the name endearing enough to get me quickly attached to the plight of “my people”.

I’m quickly informed by my favorite gruff advisor that whilst the LangoBeards don’t have much in the way of land, they make up for it by having the gift of the gab.  I’m then told that I should focus on building my ties with the neighboring Saxons, Franks, Gauls, Alamans, Thrungians and other European staples of the time, all this, before being told to crush the Vandals.

A few things worth noting are some of the units, in particular, my new favorites the “young wolves”; bare chested thugs who don a wolf’s hide and wield sword and shield, inspiring fear in other units and…in general look fucking cool. Seriously, I saw these guys and gasped like an excited child. Now I make sure I always have a couple of units in each of my army purely to see them charge the enemy. I was interested to use the clubmen in tandem with the Young Wolves as, in general, I really love the image of a charging bunch of guys wielding wooden clubs.  It’s silly, probably not for any obvious reason, it strikes me as quite Pythonesque.  I might be a bit damaged actually.

Naturally I erroneously go for the Vandals first without first properly looking into sweet talking some trade routes out of my brothers from other mothers. They’re positioned south-east of our position, just underneath my friends the Macromans.

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One thing I immediately notice is the appearance of a dialog box at the start of every couple of turns detailing a kind of “choose your own adventure” style sub-game. I don’t know if this is a standard narrative for all players, but I was given control over the actions of a little chappie called Y’bor. A few turns in and I’ve safely seen him off on an adventure, having to choose which parting gift to impart on him and later on choosing who to save in a confrontation. These little subplots in Y’bor’s journey go some way into assigning his skills as a general, albeit in a protracted way that’s tied to the narrative of your playthrough in a much more substantial way than the normal “go fight an army – yay you’ve leveled up”. I really enjoy the extra immersion this brings and feel like it’s the right direction for further entries to take.

Back on track, and I quickly learn the errors of my ways. A quick reload later saw me engaging in diplomacy like I should have done, and this time I didn’t meet an untimely end. This time, in a few short turns, I manage to get a good portion of like-minded provinces on side, establishing strong links to the north for trade and military alliances. This gives way into my subsequent conquest of Europe via words. For the next twenty turns I sweet talk everyone and ultimately declare war on the ever encroaching Western Romans.

My little, one province, two army LangoBeards done good. Done real good.

Currently, as of the 19th March, the Beards are working hard to stomp out the Western Romans to the east, whilst protecting the eastern provinces from the Hun. I’m now quite invested in my force of Beards and very eager to see what happens next on Y’bor’s adventures.

In general, the DLC isn’t just cosmetic, though I really enjoy that aspect to it, there’s also some welcome additions here, ones that I would like to see continued with in future DLC.

Total War: ATTILA is out now. For further information visit www.totalwar.com

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