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  • Author's Saving Throw: The Alans were roundly criticized at game launch for having no real factional identity of their own and being a copy-pasted Germanic faction, despite not being remotely Germanic. The "free-LC" update completely overhauled their unit roster, removing most of their infantry and every single "Germanic" unit in their arsenal and replacing them with Alan-specific units - particularly cavalry units, which turn them into the most cavalry-focused faction in the game (even more so than the Huns).
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  • Awesome Music: You will fear the impending might of Attila the Hun moments after you get into the game's main menu.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: No matter which faction is chosen (except the two Hunnic factions, as they can never settle down), the player's first strategic goal is to make a break for the sea, and to secure a seazone. Securing a seazone dramatically reduces the monetary losses due to piracy within the zone to around 10%, and sea ports can be converted to fisheries note , which provide a steady source of food (which is not affected by climate change mechanics) and income. Securing seazones are also vital in the Last Roman campaign. note 
    • On climate change, players who really dislike the mechanic will choose factions which start in or near deserts, where the mechanic has the least effect.note 
      • On a related note, players who can afford it would almost always try to have a Food Trader at every provincial capital, because it provides another steady source of food (which is not affected by climate change mechanics).
    • With the introduction of the White Huns, players who choose the Sassanid Empire will tend to make peace with the Ghassanids and focus on the war with the Huns, as they can do so much more damage.
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    • Artillery units in the game are rather overpowered for the time period it is set in. Get a few onagers and some units to hold a line, and the player can destroy entire armies by just whacking them repeatedly with burning or explosive ammunition.
  • Contested Sequel: While delivering many features that were sought by long-time fans, Attila is nonetheless not as popular by the numbers compared to, say, Warhammer or even Rome II after Creative Assembly eventually fixed it up. It's hard to place the primary reason exactly for this; possible factors include the fact that the setting is less evocative or well-known to most people, the art design can be regarded as drab and dull, the sanitation system can be seen as busywork instead of deepening building variety note , it could generally just be thought as a bit too difficult for many players coming from Rome II note , the game being not as effectively optimized as Rome II by this point in terms of performance, or it was just unfortunate enough to be released right after Creative's Assembly's public relations were at a low from Rome II.
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  • Demonic Spiders: The Plague of Justinian in The Last Roman campaign. It historically ended Justinian I's ambitions of re-unifying the Empire. As any faction, players are likely to tear their hair out if their settlements or armies become infected.
  • Difficulty Spike: Attila is perhaps the hardest of the series, with its new mechanics that add complexity to the game and the oppressive nature of the time period.
    • In a meta sense, the addition of the Empires of the Sands factions and the White Huns (Hephtalites) made things far more horrible for the Sassanid Empire than how it was at game launch.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Good lord, the Theme of Sicily. Despite being a minor, unplayable faction in the Age of Charlemagne DLC, they're insanely popular, with already several mods made solely to increase their rooster, and make them playable on the grand campaign. It helps that they have unique units (despite being unplayable without mods), and they're essentially part of the Byzantine Empire.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Occasionally, large attacking enemy armies on the outside during a siege assault on a capital will get very confused, and just walk around left and right in the same general area without getting closer to capital center until the time ticks to zero. While this is no doubt annoying if you wanted a climatic battle for the capital, it's pretty handy for when you fighting the battle with no assumed hope of winning it.
    • Pike formations attacking through another allied unit standing in front of them to protect them returns in Attila as in Rome II. Pikemen aren't quite as powerful as they were before, as is this "tactic", but it will still pretty much ensure pikemen will punch above their weight in a siege battle if they don't get filled with projectiles first (which the AI is unlikely to do).
  • Memetic Badass: Attila. The game (and its promotional videos for that matter) hypes him up as an unstoppable, apocalyptic badass destined to annihilate the world. After beating him in open combat for the first time, you will feel like a badass.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The announcement trailer. Attila's monologue and the accompanying visuals are chilling.
    • Blood and Fire DLC significantly ramps up amount of blood and general damage shown during battles.
    • Units hit by flaming arrows will sometimes catch fire, writhing in agony on the ground while screaming before perishing. It's a lot more gruesome than most of death animations in the game because of how drawn-out it is. Flaming ammunition is generally more effective, but at what cost?
    • You can choose to raze a conquered province, destroying the town there and presumably wiping out all the people that were living in it. From that point on, the settlement that was there will be nothing but dilapidated ruins and the area where it was on the map will be scorched and vacant. When Attila invades Europe, vast swathes of the map become like this. Looking out over where the Huns have been and seeing the dozens of abandoned cities is downright chilling. The landscape is so bleak that it makes you wonder if civilization isn't just going through a tough time, but truly dying. Worse yet is that a good chunk of the factions have been eradicated by then, leaving just you and Attila. The Huns may still be lurking around somewhere, obscured by the fog of war and not immediately visible to you...
  • Screwed by the Network: As compared to its predecessor Rome II, Attila is this, despite the Author's Saving Throw above. The lack of performance optimization (which was never fixed) severely undercut support for the game, and the game only received 2 expansion DLCs; Charlemagne even plays like a Rome II campaign.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Playing as the Western Roman Empire; even the game tells you the starting challenge is "legendary"; it is the only faction with Legendary as initial challenge in all Total War titles up until now.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Attila served as this trope after the disastrous release of Rome II. Eventually, once Rome II's Emperor Edition came out, Attila became the inferior of the two; see Contested Sequel above.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Is receiving extremely positive reviews from fans (to the point Total War Center, a site infamous for its hatred for Rome II, has been giving it huge amounts of praise), and is being considered far better than its buggy counterpart, and one of the best games in the series. However, once Rome II got fixed and optimalised, both games were re-evaluated and it was Rome II who won the crowd back, while Attila got left behind as the far less polished of the duo.
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