Geek Preview Total War Pharaoh Delivers Refined Warfare & Politics For Modern Strategists

Geek Preview: ‘Total War: Pharaoh’ Delivers Refined Warfare & Politics For Modern Strategists

Having already engaged in bloody warfare during 1200 BCE as part of an earlier preview of Total War: Pharaoh, Sega and Creative Assembly returned once more to give us a taste of what lies in wait when players take to the campaign mode during the Bronze Age Collapse. With 50 turns of Ramesses III’s campaign to chew through, it was an enlightening experience, to say the least.

The Total War series has always been about historical ages plunged into conflict and political intrigue, and this new entry is no different. The obvious setting of the Bronze Age lends itself really well to this premise, and the developers have taken care to ensure that this is an adventure well worth having for fans of the strategy genre.

For one, the campaign map in Total War: Pharaoh has more going for it than ever before. Controlling territories comes with the caveat of needing to plan things out in advance beyond rudimentary buildings and upgrades. Outposts of various natures can confer all sorts of bonuses to your nation, and knowing just how a territory will function in the grand scheme of things will make it easier to plan out defences and solutions in advance.

Considering that this is an era of uncertainty, that is a key part of the challenge awaiting strategists. The encroachment of enemy forces, including the Sea Peoples, can see mistakes punished and daring gambits pay off in equal measure, which brings the increased emphasis on strategic thinking to the fore even more. Smart outpost placements have saved our bacon more than once from marauding enemy forces, but that won’t always be the case.

And when things get too hectic and the battle horns sound, Total War: Pharaoh also brings some much-welcomed change. Managing an empire has never been easy, but there has never been more importance placed on the leaders and generals leading the charge. In battle, armies are only as good as the one in charge, and in Ramesses’ case, players will do well to focus on his ability to call upon the elite Medjay as part of his retinue. Pumping up the relevant stats saw a stark improvement in their effectiveness, allowing for specialised armies to be more effective in the more grounded warfare in Total War: Pharaoh.

The dynamic weather and conditions play nicely into the fights, keeping players on their toes constantly when it comes to manoeuvring forces and taking advantage of favourable situations. Add armour degradation to the mix, and it becomes a more engaging affair than seeing big numbers go at it every single time.

Dealing with other nations also requires smart use of diplomacy and politics, with Total War: Pharaoh going the more realistic route by championing the importance of tangible resources. Food, wood, bronze, and stone are always vital, while gold is more of a luxury currency that figures well into trading agreements. Understanding how to leverage the seasons to accumulate resources can make it easier to achieve better political outcomes with partners and enemies alike.

It is clear that Total War: Pharaoh has plenty going for it in the right direction. A ripe age of chaos that makes for excellent opportunities of gameplay and storytelling, quality-of-life improvements that ups the emphasis on proper strategy and tactics, as well as making sure that things just make sense when it comes to governing the people and an empire. While the series may still be overwhelming in terms of its scale and scope, this might just be the most refined outing yet, so you best prepare yourself when the game launches on 11 October.