Take command of your own battalions and work with your team to dominate the battlefield
Capture the opposing team’s bases or completely decimate your enemies to win the match
Unlock new units and commanders from 4 distinct civilizations and improve them via upgrades
Total War Arena is a unique arena-based, real-time strategy game that lets you enjoy the thrill of medieval warfare in a multiplayer setting. The game pits teams of players, each controlling 3 battalions of troops that they have customized themselves, against each other on beautifully-designed maps in hopes of capturing the other side’s base. There are plenty of upgrades that you can purchase to improve your units or your commander, as well as many varieties of play styles that you can experiment with. If RTS games are your thing, you might want to drop by and check it out!
The game begins with a pretty comprehensive tutorial where you’ll be taught the basics of the game. This includes how to move your units in formation and without, how to attack the enemy, and how to win a match.
Once you’re done, you’ll be given 3 starting commanders to choose from – Germanicus from Rome, Cynane from Greece and Arminius from the Barbarian horde. Different commanders have different specialties and hence, will provide a certain bonus to troops that align best with their specialties. In some way, choosing a different commander will guarantee a different game experience since the play style required is markedly different. You can also switch between your commanders as you like or unlock new commanders to play as later on.
Each commander in this game will have command over 3 squads of units. Every squad will contain, by default, 100 troops. You can choose to command them separately or you can round them up and issue a command for all 3 squads. Your squads can be customized and upgraded as well. The troops in this game are also tiered. There are 10 tiers in total but you can only access tiers correspond to your commander’s tier (a.k.a. level). However, even if you have a tier unlocked, you will still need to unlock the units you want through the Tech Tree.
Now, in terms of combat, Total War Arena retains all the nuances of an actual medieval warfare. This means that formation, especially the direction you face your enemies, matter quite a lot in this game. You don’t want to be flanked by all sides and have your forces whittled down to nothing.
Being a team-based game, you mustn’t stray too far from your allies either. This is particularly important in the event of an ambush or an unexpected flanking maneuver pulled off by the enemy. You’ll want to be able to retreat and have your teammate cover for you as you do.
The terrain you battle your enemies on can also play a crucial role in determining the victor. Certain terrains provide your units with advantages, such as positioning your archers on higher ground; while others, such as forests or waterlogged areas, will penalize certain units. There are several maps available in Total War Arena and they are all small enough to ensure conflict between both sides within minutes of the game starting. The game also employs the fog of war, which allows players to utilize the element of surprise in their strategic plans.
Morale is also another vital aspect of the game. Shown as a white bar right above your squad’s health bar, morale will determine whether your troops will stay and fight or will turn tail and run from the enemy. Commanders generally are able to bolster your troops morale as long as they are alive, but if your troops are getting flanked or largely outnumbered, no commander, however charismatic, is able to have a handle on his/her troops by then.
Total War Arena isn’t just a “kill-all”-style battlefield. Instead, there are several objectives that your team can achieve to gain a victory. Aside from completely decimating the enemy forces, you can also capture the enemy base or survive with more troops until the match time ends. Currently, Total War Arena has two game modes – vs AI and vs Human players. Personally, I’d recommend starting with the vs AI mode at last until you have several tier 2 units unlocked – the AIs can prove to be quite the challenge!
Since the game is published by Wargaming, it’s not at all surprising to see that this game has an excellent and fair matchmaking system. The game, in overall, is fair to the free-to-play gamer too. Every unit and commander, and their associated upgrades can be unlocked using either normal game currency or premium cash. Naturally, it’ll take you a while to accumulate enough game currency, but that’s the only price you have to pay for the game – your time!
The high-quality graphics and music in this game are impressive to say the least. However, being a Total War free-to-play spin-off, I wouldn’t expect anything less.
In short, Total War Arena is like a dream come true for players who have always enjoyed playing war-based strategy games but don’t feel like spending money on games. The game is not only free to play (in a fair manner); the game retains much of the magic and depth that made the Total War franchise so popular among strategy game enthusiasts. So, if you are an avid fan of real-time strategy games, you’ll want to give Total War Arena a try.