This is truly another great game
Now like all games (and life) there are good news and bad news. Let us look over the good things that this game does.
We start with the newly re-invented strategy map. For those who are not familiar with the Total War games, there are two ways to enjoy this game, the strategy map and the battle map. The strategy map is where you move your forces, literally, govern your nations, plan your next attack and do some diplomacy. The battle map is where you go into the hearth of the game, and the hearth of the action. This is where you lead your troops in the battlefield against the upcoming enemy army, and thus forming carnage!
Now, before Rome, the strategy map used to be flat, 2D, but since Rome came at a new era where anything is possible, Creative Assembly re-invented the map to make it a realistic 3D map. Now players can witness by themselves the beauty of the landscape they govern, as well as see their units in action. What is cool about this new map is the realistic animations that have been done. It’s as if you where standing outside of the earth looking down at what happens below. There is always something going on. This makes for some cool looking effect, exploding volcano, floods, storms, you name it!
This new map its better for the player, since essentially when your forces are attacked by an enemy battalion, you can see what type of landscape your forces are in just by looking at the location that they where attacked. This makes for some good strategy since there can be literally thousands of landscapes to fight in. This also allows the player to play strategy and choose where best to fight according to the army that the player has. This brings me to the next subject, the battle map.
Now, if we have a realistic 3D looking map, then of course we are going to get a realistic 3D looking landscape on the battle map. Players will be trilled and sometimes encouraged to fight their battles instead of letting the “auto resolve” do just that, resolve the battle without the player going into the battle map. But let’s say you are a good general that likes to fight all your battles. What will you find in the new battle map? Well not a lot has changed. The controls and menu options are very similar to the previous Total War games. You still got your basic move forward and attack commands as well as your basic grouping and movement commands. But, there is always something new. It comes in the form of “special skills.” Now each unit has a special skill of their own. For example, archers can fire flaming arrows, or normal arrows, you tell them what to do. Trebuchets can fire flaming balls of fire, or flaming pigs! Pike men can form a “spear wall” to defend against an incoming cavalry charge. It all depends on the unit. Not all units have special skills, so be aware of those units.
You might be asking, “Special skills, so what?” Well these special skills allow the player to choose a better strategy when facing an enemy as well as give the player an advantage, well, a new way to fight their battles. But, be warned, special skills have weakness, so be on the lookout.
Now let’s go back to the strategy map, since it’s probably where you will spend most of the time playing this game. On the new strategy map, you can see your cities grow from a small village to a huge city! For each level of city there are new technologies and new units available. Of course, the bigger your cities are, the more this puts stress on your economy, so make sure to research some economy wise technologies as well as use your diplomats to make trade agreements with other nations. A big source of income is ports. The game allows for a lot of ways that you can manage your nations, simply choose the one that fits you. You can either strengthen your home economy by building huge cities and conquering the trade market, or raid the cities of other nations.
There are a few things that the game does well when it comes to non military units like diplomats. Essentially you will build these types of units as much as you build and army. You will need them so do spend some time looking at the various non military units and getting to know them. The way you move units as changed from past games on the franchise. You no longer grab one unit and place it in another nation as if where a piece in a chess game. Rather, you have movement points. So now, your unit has to march and you can see move as it literally walks to the desired destination. There are a few things that can slow or speed up your unit’s movement points. For example, roads make it so that units move longer distances, but mountains make it harder for your units to pass. This is the way all units move in the game.
The last thing I will say about the good, wonders of the world. There are special building scattered across the world that give the controlling faction special abilities. For example, the Pyramids of Egypt give the controlling faction a boost increase of population happiness. This brings me to my last point, the counsel, or for the Romans, the Senate. The game introduces a new Senate like feature for all factions. The Senate will give you quests which you must do in order to be on its good side. But, the rewards are satisfying, so be on the lookout for any quests given to you by the senate.
The Bad, which this game has quite a few:
The Senate: Sure it’s good to go on quest, but sometimes the senate gets on your way of conquering the known world. Maybe you don’t have the money or the manpower to comply with some of the demands, but the Senate doesn’t care and it will keep giving you orders until you simply decide to ignore them. Sometimes these orders are beneficial to you, but other time is just not good. So be on the lookout.
The AI: On hard settings, even the bravest soldier can find the AI to be quite easy. Of course, it depends on how long you have been playing a Total War game. Veteran players find it easy, while rookie players find it hard. But you can fix that by looking online for some mods that do work and do improve the overall difficulty of the game.
The Naval Battle System: Still no real good battle system for ships on the sea. No realistic battle map for sea battles, none at all.
The Clones: Most of the time while fighting on the battle map, the player will ask him/her self if they are watching a Star wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones. To make realistic units, CA decided to make them all look alike, clones of each other. So don’t be surprised by how many twins your population can come up with. (Of course, this was fix in their newest game, Medieval 2 Total War)
Diplomacy: Most of the time, you will get the feeling that you are doing diplomacy with a 10 year old. It improves a bit on hard settings, but not quite. Again, some easy mods you can download of the net can fix this.
The Right Down Ugly:
Bugs: From installing the game, to playing it, too many bugs. Of course you can always fix it with the various patches that are available now, but when the game first hit stores, if felt more like a beta version being released. A lot of players like me had difficulty even installing the game. Some can’t even play multiplayer games as it doesn’t work properly.
Well this is the end, over all I give Rome Total War an 8/10. It is an addicting game that players will love (or hate). You don’t need a high powered computer to play it, my three year old graphic card and three year old computer handles this game quite well, even on high settings. Since I was never able to play the multiplayer part due to bugs, I did not include it in this review. But I’m sure it is standard like the other Total War games, a chat room, you join games, and you kill your opponent. Multiplayer is a big part of the Total War franchise, so make sure you check it out.
Well this has been a nice public service announcement by Gallego, thanks for reading and enjoy the game if you ever buy it!