(Pocket-lint) - There's something timeless about a good Total War game. The exact graphical fidelity and levels of detail might have improved over time, but its trademark blend of top-level strategy and battle management has always stayed true to the series' core.
The latest game in the vaunted series, Troy: A Total War Saga, takes players back to the time of myths and heroes, letting them take charge of the events that fill the pages of Homer's Iliad, whether that means Agamemnon's gathering of the Greeks or Hector's desperate defence of his city's walls.
We've been playing a bunch of it this week, so have gathered together a few things you should keep an eye out for as you get started in Creative Assembly's latest.
1. Go for Agamemnon first
Even if you're a Total War veteran, there are always new systems and features to get to grips with when the series puts out a new title, so our first recommendation would be that you swallow your pride and follow the game's pointers when it comes to selecting your first campaign's faction.
There are a good few to choose from, but Agamemnon has the simplest starting position and victory conditions (although the latter isn't a walk in the park). Start by taking control of him and your first campaign should guide you through some of the new additions without dropping you in at the deep end.
2. Then play around a bit more
That said, a lot of the fun replayability offered by Troy will come in the form of taking on different roles - control Achilles and his Myrmidons for some of that raiding, scorched-earth energy, or go for noble Hector to see if you can repel the greatest alliance chucked at a city's walls in a long time.
There are also lesser heroes to opt for, not least whiny Paris, whose indiscretion kicked the whole shebang off. Each has his or her own victory conditions if you're shooting for a true, Homeric Victory. These mean for varied challenges and strategies, which makes them the best way to shake up future playthroughs.
3. Don't stick to myth
Something we're finding ourselves getting caught up in when we play, although it might just be because we love a bit of Homer, is the inexorable pull of the source material.
When we see someone like Diomedes going on a nice raid into one of our hard-earned settlements, we don't think about putting a stop to his rampage, we remember that he was on the field outside Troy in the Iliad, so we'd better make sure to recruit him. That's fruitful in some ways but can also cloud judgement.
The game isn't a recreation of the story beat-by-beat, basically - it's still Total War, so make sure you make the best decision for your situation, not the one you think happened in your hazy memory of the myth.
4. Make the most of your heroes
Still, Creative Assembly knows that its game is set in a time of mighty heroes and legendary figures, so part of the fun of Troy is that you get to control these historic legends. Whether it's a pure fighter like Achilles, who can single-handedly turn the tide of a battle, or someone with more diplomatic nous like Agamemnon, and motivational prowess, be sure to read up on the descriptions of your heroes' strengths, to use them as best you can.
In battle, that means monitoring their Rage levels, a new mechanic that charges up as they fight, to unleash powerful abilities and, when the moment is right, trigger Aristeia, a sort of beast-mode that makes them an unbeatable tank for a minute. It could be what grabs you a victory.
5. Watch out for those pesky gods
Another facet of Troy being set in the time of heroes and gods is, well, gods. You'll want to manage your relationship with the gods carefully, because becoming the focus of one's ire can be a big issue for you.
However, it can also swing things in your favour if a god takes a shine to you - not least when Poseidon's wrath periodically wrecks Troy's walls with a furious earthquake. Talk about opportune moments to strike, eh?