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Retrospective Review of Rome II: Total War
Total War: Rome 2 is the latest installment of the Total War series. The series is arguably the king of Real Time Strategy(RTS), loved for its mechanics that allowed you to take control of a faction, work with your allies and dominate your enemies by military, economic and political means.
So as the name might tell you, the game is based at the beginning of the Roman Republic. The main focus of the game is the relationship and eventual wars between the Roman’s and the Carthaginian. but you can play as nearly any faction on the map. The main cultures ranging from Western Barbarians across Europe to Persian’s.
For those of you who have played a total war game before, its pretty much the same game as it always is, if you know what I mean.
for those of you who haven't, the total war series is old school pc strategy. your time will be divided between managing your cities, provinces, politics and diplomacy in the turned based overview world and doing all the actual land and sea warfare in real time strategy based battlefields.
One of the pushed features of Rome 2 was the concepts they had build around politics and power. with groups of influence vying for power within a faction, the idea being to create more of a political struggle internally as well as externally, adding more challenge to the same. But firstly, it’s so poorly implemented they may as well not bothered. And secondly, the mechanic is part of only a hand full of factions.
Graphically the game looks fantastic and runs fine. it feels, since the patches anyway, a lot better optimized than previous installments. The level of detail is truly amazing, the weather system is great and the addition of an action camera means you can get mind blowing cinematic shots, between actually commanding your army anyway. I personally see a lot of potential for some pretty amazing looking battle videos being edited and uploaded to youtube, although that hasn't actually happened yet.
Multi-player is back and with a fairly enjoyable co-op campaign. however, although its perfectly functional, the multi-player does seem stripped down in comparison to its predecessors. which there being less customization of type of battle, unit count etc.
Now, if you’re already a fan of the Total War franchise then you’ll be happy to hear not a lot has changed; it still feels very much like a Total War game. However, if you’re a big RTS fan in general then you’ll probably be disappointed that some of Total War Rome 2’s features have been “stream-lined”, which I’m pretty sure is marketing speak for “we took a bunch of strategy out of the strategy game”.
the current downloadable content for the game feels more like you were cheated out of content in the first place more than you're gaining by buying the DLC. the blood and gore pack is a must for updated amazing looking character models and it also gives the game a more realistic feel as your men fight tooth and nail to survive a fierce melee with blood flying everywhere. but the fact they charge you and extra £10 (or $15) to get content you should have adds insult to injury if you brought the game at its release day price of £44.
look, chances are you heard something about the game after the first few weeks of its release. it was a fairly poor, some argued rushed, buggie mess. that had a lot o the 'hardcore' fans who pre-ordered it angry. as some one who has been a total war fan the majority of their life, but didn't actually pre-order the games, I can understand where they are coming from. on the other hand they pre-ordered a game before any beta testing had been done, when all they had to go on was a few pre-rendered scenes that had been marketed to death. I understand their disappointment and anger, but I'm not going to pretend I care they feel they got ripped off.
we live in the 12st century, where the internet reigns supreme as a source for nearly all our information. particularly when it comes to games 'journalism' most reviewers, lets players etc. will have the game weeks before you do and will release videos/articles/blogs telling you about the game. pre-ordering shows a lot of faith in a publisher, but it is misplaced. if people, the hardcore fans particularly, had waited to a week before release to pre-order, they could have been easily informed about the issues and chances are that the publisher wouldn't have released it in the mess it was in if not for all the pre-orders.
so in short, when people speak negatively about Rome II make sure that they are actually talking about the mechanics and the execution rather than just complaining. now with the patches done, there is little that anyone should still be complaining about.
now that the 'issues' around its launch are accounted for, looking at the game retrospectively and as objectively as possible. All things considered, Total War Rome 2 feels more like a remake of the original Rome Total War than it does a sequel. it’s a good installment to the Total War franchise but not the best. certainly, not the master of all elements of strategy we we’re promised, and I can understand why many who pre-ordered felt cheated. but all in, you should still buy and play Rome II.