Glaives, pikes, bardiches, halberds, partisans, spears, picks and lances. Javelins, arbalests, crossbows, longbows, claymores, zweihänder, broadswords and falchions. Flails, clubs, morning stars, maces, war hammers, battle axes and, of course, longswords. If you ever played a fantasy RPG or one of many historically-themed action or strategy games, you'll already be familiar with an impressive array of medieval weaponry. The medieval arsenal has had an enormous impact on games since their early days, and their ubiquity makes them seem like a natural, fundamental part of many virtual worlds.
A school gym in England, mid-'90s, and two local rugby players await orders. One is small and wide and called Adrian, and one is tall and weighs about 20 stone. He's Big Dave. Adrian has been getting flattened by Big Dave all day but he keeps getting back up. It's the rugby training in him: you bloody well get back up if you're knocked down. But this instinct is starting to annoy the people he's in the school gym for, the people making the sports game. They're trying to motion-capture for a rugby game and would rather Adrian lay still. They should be careful what they wish for.
The current generation of consoles aren't powerful enough to host the Total War series, says developer The Creative Assembly - but it's optimistic that the next generation will be able to, and the Horsham studio has a plan that could see its successful strategy series finally making the jump.
Winning a BAFTA and shipping a massive expansion, celebrating a quarter of a century in the industry and managing to be one of the few outfits expanding against an increasingly bleak economic backdrop - that's not bad work, all in all, but the team at The Creative Assembly aren't exactly ones to shout about their success.
Jan 27th, 1868. A snowy plain just outside of Kyoto. The battle of Toba-Fushimi is about to take place. A small battalion of Imperial soldiers shiver as they face down a force of the Shogun's finest warriors advancing across a handful of rivers, hopelessly ineffectual at preventing the samurai from their coming attack. Hundreds of these majestic samurai warriors riding on noble horseback are drawing near. Playing as the Imperials, I'm hopelessly outnumbered. Traditionally, I wouldn't stand a chance. But these are hardly traditional times.
From the trailers released so far for Fall of the Samurai, you could be forgiven for thinking of the ill-fated Satsuma rebellion that made Tom Cruise sad in The Last Samurai, but while set in the same period of turmoil, Fall focuses on the earlier 1869 Boshin War, a civil conflict that barely lasted two years. A brisk timeframe to contend with as you struggle to determine the course of Japan's embrace of industrialisation.
But don't go thinking Fall is going to be a couple of scant missions and some new DLC outfits. This is a proper old-school expansion pack with all-new toys, a different beast entirely from Shogun 2's campaign. This was a period in Japan's history that saw it transform overnight from a feudal agrarian society into a steam-powered industrial powerhouse. To represent the lightning pace of development, turns on the campaign map take up a mere two weeks. Better pack an extra pair of mittens, as that means Winter now lasts a morale-shattering six full turns.
There were a few surprises at this week's BAFTA ceremony – such as Civilization V outgunning StarCraft II in the strategy category, and the realisation that Gemma Atkinson still has a career of some description – but whether or not you agree Mass Effect 2 is a better game than Heavy Rain or Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, there was a lot of quality and variety to salute among the many worthy candidates.
They say it's called a revolution because over time it always comes full circle. And that saying applies perfectly the Total War series.
In 2000, Creative Assembly sent tremors through the strategy genre with Shogun: Total War. A Civilization-style game with Red Alert-style live battles? Impossible! But it wasn't. What it turned out to be was the start of a consistently brilliant march through history, controlling the armies of the Romans, the medieval kings and queens, and even Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington.
Moonlight bathes the rolling hills and forested glades, glinting off our serried rows of troops. Up ahead, a white castle gleams from the top of a steep hill, torches flickering distantly under the sloping eaves of its distinctive roof, a pale sentinel watching over the valley; our objective.