The Unfolding Saga: A Comprehensive Review of Total War: ATTILA – Age of Charlemagne


Total War: ATTILA – Age of Charlemagne, an expansion pack to the critically acclaimed Total War: ATTILA, catapults players into the tumultuous period of the Middle Ages, specifically the time of Charlemagne, the legendary King of the Franks. Developed by Creative Assembly, this expansion breathes new life into the Total War franchise, offering a compelling blend of grand strategy, real-time battles, and historical authenticity. In this extensive review, we will delve into the intricacies of Total War: ATTILA – Age of Charlemagne, exploring its gameplay mechanics, historical accuracy, campaign depth, visual design, and overall contribution to the Total War series.

Section 1: Strategic Mastery

1.1 Grand Campaign Map: Age of Charlemagne unfolds on an expansive campaign map, meticulously crafted to reflect the political landscape of Europe during the 8th century. Players navigate a vast terrain, engaging in grand strategy to manage provinces, forge alliances, and expand their empires while considering factors such as religion, diplomacy, and internal stability.

1.2 Charlemagne’s Ambitions: The expansion centers around the iconic figure of Charlemagne, offering players the opportunity to step into the shoes of this legendary ruler. Charlemagne’s unique objectives, challenges, and opportunities add a layer of historical immersion, inviting players to experience the complexities of governance and warfare during this pivotal era.

1.3 Faction Variety: Age of Charlemagne introduces a diverse range of playable factions, each with its own unique strengths, challenges, and starting positions. From the mighty Carolingian Empire to ambitious kingdoms and tribal factions, the variety of choices enhances replayability, allowing players to approach the campaign from different perspectives.

Section 2: Diplomacy and Alliances

2.1 Diplomatic Depth: Diplomacy plays a crucial role in Age of Charlemagne, reflecting the intricate web of alliances, rivalries, and power struggles of the Middle Ages. Players must navigate the diplomatic landscape, forming strategic alliances, negotiating treaties, and managing diplomatic relations to secure the survival and prosperity of their empires.

2.2 Faction Relationships: The expansion places a strong emphasis on faction relationships, capturing the intricate dynamics of medieval politics. Trust and loyalty are paramount, and players must carefully navigate the shifting allegiances and conflicting interests of neighboring factions to maintain stability and avoid betrayals that could jeopardize their campaigns.

2.3 Historical Events and Objectives: Age of Charlemagne incorporates historical events and objectives that align with the tumultuous period it represents. These events add narrative depth, guiding players through key moments in Charlemagne’s reign and the broader historical context, creating a sense of historical immersion that goes beyond traditional strategy gameplay.

Section 3: Real-Time Battles

3.1 Engaging Battle Mechanics: True to the Total War series, Age of Charlemagne delivers epic real-time battles that capture the scale and intensity of medieval warfare. Players command diverse armies featuring a variety of units, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, requiring strategic thinking and tactical finesse to secure victory on the battlefield.

3.2 Siege Warfare: Siege warfare takes center stage in Age of Charlemagne, presenting players with challenging and dynamic siege battles. The introduction of siege escalation adds depth to these encounters, as players witness the gradual destruction and transformation of settlement defenses during prolonged sieges, adding a layer of realism and strategic complexity.

3.3 Unit Diversity and Tactics: The expansion introduces a wide array of units, from heavily armored knights to nimble skirmishers, reflecting the diverse military forces of the medieval era. Unit diversity encourages players to experiment with different army compositions and tactics, ensuring that battles remain engaging and strategic throughout the campaign.

Section 4: Visual Design and Atmosphere

4.1 Atmospheric Design: Age of Charlemagne excels in creating an immersive atmosphere that captures the visual and aesthetic essence of the medieval period. The campaign map features detailed landscapes, dynamic weather effects, and historical landmarks, contributing to a visually rich and authentic gaming experience.

4.2 Character Models and Art Direction: The character models in Age of Charlemagne showcase meticulous attention to detail, from the regal appearance of Charlemagne himself to the diverse array of faction leaders and generals. The art direction captures the visual nuances of the time, with detailed armor, weaponry, and cultural distinctions that add authenticity to the overall aesthetic.

4.3 Cinematic Presentation: The expansion employs cinematic presentation techniques during key moments, such as major battles or significant events. These cinematic sequences add a cinematic flair to the gameplay, immersing players in the grandeur and drama of medieval warfare and political intrigue.

Section 5: Historical Accuracy

5.1 Historical Realism: Creative Assembly has always prioritized historical accuracy in the Total War series, and Age of Charlemagne is no exception. The expansion painstakingly recreates the historical setting, incorporating period-appropriate details in architecture, unit design, and cultural distinctions to provide an authentic representation of the Middle Ages.

5.2 Cultural Diversity: Age of Charlemagne emphasizes the cultural diversity of the medieval world, showcasing distinct factions with unique cultural traits, unit rosters, and architectural styles. The attention to cultural nuances enhances the historical realism, offering players a nuanced understanding of the complexities of medieval Europe.

5.3 Research and Technologies: The game introduces a technology tree that aligns with the historical progression of the Middle Ages. Players research technologies that reflect the advancements of the era, from military innovations to cultural and economic developments, contributing to the immersive historical simulation.

Section 6: Criticisms and Room for Improvement

6.1 AI Challenges: Some players have reported occasional challenges with the artificial intelligence (AI) in Age of Charlemagne, particularly in terms of strategic decision-making. While the AI provides a formidable challenge, improvements in its adaptability and decision logic could further enhance the overall gameplay experience.

6.2 Interface and User Experience: The user interface and overall user experience in Age of Charlemagne could benefit from refinements. Streamlining certain aspects of the interface and addressing occasional navigational challenges would contribute to a smoother and more intuitive gameplay experience.


Total War: ATTILA – Age of Charlemagne stands as a testament to Creative Assembly’s commitment to delivering immersive, historically grounded strategy experiences. From the grand strategy of the campaign map to the visceral intensity of real-time battles, the expansion captures the essence of the Middle Ages, offering players a chance to rewrite history during the era of Charlemagne. The inclusion of historical events, diplomatic intricacies, and cultural diversity enriches the gameplay, creating a dynamic and engaging strategy experience that appeals to both Total War veterans and newcomers alike. While facing minor criticisms, such as AI challenges and interface improvements, Age of Charlemagne remains a standout addition to the Total War series, solidifying its place in the pantheon of historically inspired strategy games. As players embark on campaigns, forge alliances, and engage in epic battles, Age of Charlemagne invites them to immerse themselves in the intricate tapestry of medieval Europe, where the fate of empires hangs in the balance and the legacy of Charlemagne is shaped by strategic prowess and historical insight.

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