Save State Gets Tactical This Week With Hot Brass and Total War: Rome II

Welcome to the Save State, where I found a way to be a part of the cavalry in two different eras this week. I’m Neal Sayatovich, normally your Fresh Look columnist, but I’m covering for Vincent Mahoney this week. To take on the role of Vince’s awesome Save State column this week, I ended up playing two very different types of titles.

They are Hot Brass and Total War: Rome II. This was also a chance to get to use my new gaming laptop, and I am not disappointed in the results. I started out with Hot Brass, a real time tactical shooter.

I was briefly in a federal law enforcement academy where I had to learn tactics. Hot Brass does a surprisingly good job in recreating the same sort of experience as tactics training in real life. This includes worrying about blind corners and trigger control. It also had a multiplayer focus so it might be something that Vince and I can play together at a later time.

As a single player game, Hot Brass is merciless. The first two missions went okay, then the following mission destroyed me. There are so many enemies and without someone there to cover you, it is easy to get shot while making an arrest. That is my only complaint with it. It doesn’t scale difficulty to the number of players like, say, Borderlands. So those of us who don’t have many friends will have to struggle to play Hot Brass.

Outside of that, I haven’t enjoyed a title this much in a while. The graphics aren’t intense, but the gameplay is quite engaging. It reminds me of playing Tom Clancy games when I was younger. When I was thinking of my second game, the Chief Editor told me I needed to do a title that was launched within the past fifteen years.

Total War: Rome II it is.

I picked up the Total War: Rome II Emperor Edition on Steam since I had been enjoying the original Total War: Rome. I was dominating the original version, but that did not translate to the sequel. My armies were constantly overmatched, and it was hard to get ahead. Eventually, I started to get the hang of it and succeeded by ignoring the senate missions and focusing on my own strategy. I did miss how the buildings and cities were laid out in the original.

I started with the Slavic tribes, and it told me my starting difficulty level was hard. I did not believe it, and oh boy was I wrong. The Slavic tribe only has one village, and each army that surrounded me was stacked with units from top to bottom. I bit off way more than I could chew by jumping into this tribe choice. I eventually restarted with Macedon, and the experience was so much better.

Total War: Rome II is different from the original in that you really need to slow down and be patient. In the original, you could easily take over multiple cities in the first few turns. In the sequel, it is very easy to overextend yourself and make a catastrophic error. Maybe I will try the Slavic tribe again once I have a better grasp of these new mechanics. While this is more brief than a typical Save State column, take the time saved and enjoy your weekend with whatever titles you feel like playing, although Total War: Rome II and Hot Brass seem like good choices to me.

Also, we at GiN are working on developing new content so expect that soon. And tune back in to Save State next time as Vince will be back in action.

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