Its ok, not not the mind blowing experience we were promised.
As an expansion pack you can expect some good graphics, good game play and good sounds. Notice the good part. This game doesn’t live up to the very high expectations that we had for it, but knowing Creative Assembly (the creators) it isn’t that bad. The graphics are pretty but the unit designs are nothing special. As usual you find the colors of each faction are all identical, no variation whatsoever. That means that the Western Empires units are all red and yellow, the Goths are all orange and black and the Celts all green and red. Luckily most of the unit models aren’t bad.
The game play is the most important part of this game for any Total War fan. Like in vanilla RTW the diplomacy is shallow without the abilities to really convince your neighboring nations of anything other than trade rights, alliances, map information, etc. This is a disappointment because CA promised better diplomacy in-game. The enemy AI is borderline retarded. Although it is noticeably better than RTW’s, Barbarian Invasions AI defiantly tries to pull some brilliant military maneuvers like charging their general into a wall of spears or running their units parallel to your battle-line. Disappointing yes, but on Very Hard difficulty levels the AI will annihilate you if you are new to this game and even offer a very, very difficult challenge to the experienced Total War gamer. Diplomacy and effective management of your empire will take a while to master if you are new.
The coolest new feature, in my opinion, is the advent of religion. Each faction can chose between generic paganism (multiple gods for each faction), Christianity, or the eastern Zoroastrianism. Each cities unrest and well being is directly tied to the religion of the settlement. For example if you capture a city where 90% of the population is pagan and try and build a church, you are going to have a rebellion on your hands.
So now you know. Generally good game that has a few disappointments (but that’s what modders are for). You will have a fun and most likely life consuming experience playing this game. So go and burn Rome to the ground.