The Last Roman campaign is the latest DLC from the team at Creative Assemblies for the current instalment of the Total War series, Total War: Attila, and it lets the Roman Faction get a taste for the horde mechanics that were introduced when Total War: Attila was released.
The Last Roman DLC features a cut down campaign map with a reduced number of factions, and it focuses on the timeline when the Eastern Roman empire sent an expedition into Africa to retake all the fallen Roman settlements and reinstate the Western Roman empire.
As the new Roman Expedition faction, your goal is to take enough settlements in the name of the Roman Empire and crush kill and destroy all who stand in your way. Thankfully the horde style mechanics have been tweaked slightly to allow your hordes the ability to switch into ‘Settlement’ mode at any time.
For those of you new to the Horde mechanics, previously you needed to allow 25% of your movement points to switch into Settlement mode, which boosts economy and troop replenishment. So now that this has been dropped, you can move your Roman horde the full movement allowance and then just switch into settlement mode before hitting the end turn.
As the Roman Expedition faction, you have two options for victory. You can play as the Eastern Roman Empires puppet and ‘liberate’ any and all settlements that you take in the name of the Eastern Roman Empire, or you can settle in them and convert from a Horde. This allows for a more traditional style mechanic, managing settlements, building armies and conquering in the name of the Emperor.
Personally, I would suggest playing the gracious liberator if you are rusty at managing large empires, because once you liberate – and collect your finders fee of course – your horde is then on its way to the next target. No need to worry about sketchy public order, or dodgy sanitation, or a piss poor economy – Nope, like Dory said, ‘just keep swimming’ to your next enemy settlement and kill all who stand in your way. I mean, I presume that’s what Dory implied…
There are of course other factions to play as in this DLC, which is where some of the cracks start to show in the formula. I chose to play as the mighty Ostragoth’s and was thrust into managing a very large empire whose army was a master class in over-extension and whose economy was a rival to that of modern Greece.
Now once I got everything under control economically and sorted out whatever the hell was going on with my armies, I started laying waste to all who wouldn’t form trade partnerships with me. Given the vast experience I’ve accrued over time playing Total War, it didn’t take me long to build archery heavy armies and pepper my way to victory one arrow volley at a time. This swiftly put me in a position of having 40 settlements, which unlocked the ‘Form Empire’ ability. Curious, I did my best Voltron impression and formed an Empire… which weirdly happened to be the Western Roman Empire.
So lets just take a moment to work through this. The Ostrogothic Kingdom historically had disposed the Western Roman empire and fought bitterly against the Eastern Roman empire until they were finally wiped out by them. As we all know with Total War Games, history doesn’t always line up with the game outcomes. But having the ability to convert my kingdom into the very people I killed to FORM my kingdom however, seems a bit backwards.
Not only that, but the only real outcome of forming this empire, was a name change. None of my buildings changed, or my factions religion, or even the available research tree. No, my faction simply changed name and I had the diplomatic option to encourage other factions to join my empire.
It just feels really strange to allow any faction OTHER than the Roman Expedition the ability to form the WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE. Vandals, Franks Visigoths, ALL staunch enemies of the Roman empire, all having the ability to magically turn into the Roman empire. Its a small fly in the ointment of what is a pretty great DLC, but the absurdity of it all really broke the immersion for me.
Gameplay wise, its Total War: Attila with a cut down campaign map and a reduced number of factions, so there are no real surprises here. Trading and diplomacy all are what you are used to in the vanilla campaign, which isn’t to say it’s bad, it’s just nothing really new here.
I had a great time being thrust into managing a very large empire on the brink of bankruptcy and civil war, followed with clawing my way back to being a faction that is feared and respected. The asking price for the Last Roman Campaign DLC is $15 dollarydoos, which is on par for Total War Campaign DLCs and it’s a pretty good bang for buck.
The new Roman Expedition faction is a great take on the horde mechanic, and liberating all settlements into being someone else’s problem is a great way to get back into the game – if you have had a break from the campaign map. There are a few things that don’t make sense unless you play as the Roman faction, but apart from that it’s a great chunk of DLC. Above all, it should give you about 20 hours of spear walling, fire arrow-ing fun.