Review: Total War Saga – Thrones of Britannia

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Thro­nes of Bri­tan­nia is the 12th ent­ry in the stra­te­gy fran­chise Total War. In this review we check how easy the game is to get into for total new­co­mers.

Befo­re going into this review, we want to make some­thing clear from the get-go. We have litt­le to no expe­ri­ence with the Total War games, and this is our first time actual­ly try­ing out the series. So we won’t com­pa­re it to other chap­ters of the series and will just talk about the game for what it is and for how enjoy­a­ble the game­play is. And con­si­de­ring this was our first expe­ri­ence, we were plea­s­ant­ly sur­pri­sed by it.

Thro­nes of Bri­tan­nia is set up in the years after the batt­le of Ethan­dun, a not so long peri­od of time and cer­tain­ly not full of real infor­ma­ti­on, which means that most of what hap­pens in the game is a recon­struc­tion, some­what plau­si­ble, of what could have been hap­pe­ning back then. It’s an inte­res­ting choice for a rea­listic series, but that also gives the deve­lo­pers an oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn more about the his­to­ri­cal set­ting, wit­hout giving the impres­si­on that most of it is just a work of fan­ta­sy by the wri­ters. We can choo­se bet­ween 5 dif­fe­rent fac­tions (which inclu­de the vikings) and we’ll need to gain as many vic­to­ries as we can, not only in the battle­field but also in a diplo­ma­tic or cul­tu­ral supe­rio­ri­ty.

Diplo­ma­cy in par­ti­cu­lar rep­res­ents a very important aspect of the game: we all hate each other but we also need to co-ope­ra­te for our per­so­nal gains. And we also need to be care­ful to not dis­re­gard our poten­ti­al allies, or they may turn their backs on us whenever we need them most. Some examp­les of care­ful diplo­ma­cy inclu­de mar­ry­ing one of the daugh­ters to join the realms or lend a part of our army for their war, in the hopes they’ll do the same. Some­ti­mes you can also win by fame, by basi­cal­ly play­ing the game well enough and end up get­ting more fame than the others. That will even­tual­ly gain you an auto­ma­tic win, which ends up being disap­poin­ting, as it lacks any form of real exci­te­ment.

War with bru­te force is whe­re most play­ers will pro­bab­ly find the most fun, as it’s what the­se peop­le used to be some of the best at. When the time comes, you can choo­se to con­trol the tro­ops and their for­ma­ti­ons manu­al­ly or, if you don’t wan­na bother get­ting invol­ved, to let the AI play by its­elf and deci­de who the win­ner is. Batt­les take a long time to gene­ra­te (it’s also important to opti­mi­ze your gra­phi­cal set­tings and use the bench­mark fea­ture, to make sure the game will run as smoot­her as it can be) and you’ll need to be pati­ent befo­re you can get into the batt­le yours­elf. If it’s the AI to deci­de the out­co­me of the batt­le, several fac­tors will be taken into con­si­de­ra­ti­on: not only the amount of tro­ops and their for­ma­ti­on, but also stuff like the level of hun­ger and the respect that their com­man­der has. If you mana­ge to win against ano­t­her mon­arch, you may also attract the anger of their fri­ends. Pro­ving, once again, how diplo­ma­cy will keep play­ing a key role and must never be igno­red if you wan­na end up vic­to­rious.


Over­all, Thro­nes of Bri­tan­nia mana­ged to exp­lain the key fac­tors well enough to be appre­cia­ted even by a new­bie of the series. It is not per­fect by any means but it’s a gre­at star­ting point if you wan­na try to get yours­elf invol­ved in this series. It also mana­ges to work well enough on most PC sys­tems thanks to a gre­at opti­mi­za­ti­on (even if batt­les take a real slow time), so it’s defi­ni­te­ly worth che­cking out in our opi­ni­on.

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