Total War: Arena, a joint venture between Creative Assembly (the Total War IP) and Wargaming.net
Most of us likely know the kind of game wargaming.net produce. Some examples are World of Tanks and World of Warships. They have done other things (like a remake of Master of Orion), but with Total War: Arena, they’ve followed the formula made perfect in those first two.
Creative Assembly is the creator of the Total War brand, which started back around 2000, with Shogun, set in medieval Japan. Not my favourite, but still pretty good. Since then, they’ve expanded the line a lot, with different eras: Rome, Medieval Europe, Napoleonic Europe, and some do-overs with some years between.
To do a stab in the dark, not knowing 100%, this Arena game feels like an amalgamation of Rome II and one of the “World of x” games. You pick a commander, choose some units, go battle with 19 other people, win or lose you get xp and cash (more if you win, of course).
So, from what I've experienced so far, you get access to some of the best military minds of the Ancient World: Bodicca, Caesar, Hannibal, from empires that were big at the time: Greece, Carthage, Rome and Barbarians like the Celts and the Gauls.
The different empires have commanders to choose from, and a selection of units. Each Commander has an information page, giving quite a detailed, if brief, history. Each unit has one too. Both have upgrades on a tech tree.
Both wargaming and creative assembly bring many years of top notch graphics to their games, and this one is no exception. I haven't seen much blood though.
This has good, period-esque music. Traditional instruments, period style etc. Pretty good. Not that you notice it much outside the menus, because you know, marching armies, crashing swords and the screams of the dying. But it is there.
Even if you know how to Total War, or play other squad based strategy games, Arena still runs you through the tutorial when you first log in. All the basic stuff you need to know: camera, unit movement, special actions, high ground, etc. Anything else is pretty much all in tool tips, and I think there is an advisor system as well.
As much love as I have for both of these franchises, I'm not sure that I will love this one as much as I love World of Warships or Empire: Total War, or Medieval II. Those who love this constant battle style, will likely like this one too. Lots of different combinations of units, different players every map, different maps with different terrain. Some of the ambushes are crazy! (Like dogs in a wheat field. Goodbye ballista crew :( ) For me, although it has many elements i would normally love, this one just doesn't grab me. Maybe I would feel more excited playing with friends, rather than just randoms. This, like the other War of games, is excellent for team play. So many strategies to employ that are much too hard with random players.