Total War: Rome II Review
Total War: Rome II has had a lot of negative feedback from the beginning but have eventually recovered from the devastating release. There have been patches and fixes that has made the game fit for a good time.
So what is Total War: Rome II and how is the game now? Total War: Rome II is a turn-based strategy game with real time tactics. The turn-based strategy happens on a campaign map, much like being a commander on a real war where you move miniature pieces around on a campaign map. The real time tactics happens when armies collide on the campaign map and you get a better and detailed view on the battle that is about to happen.
You get to choose between nine cultural groups which are Hellenistic, Latin, Punic, Eastern, Balkan, Germanic, Celtic, Desert Nomadic, and Iberian. In each of these cultural groups are factions like Rome, Carthage, Macedon, Sparta, Egypt, etc. and on each of these, you can choose which clan or group you would choose to play on that faction. Each faction has their own unique units and unique aesthetics so you can tell the difference when two different factions collide.
I've spent hours playing this game. There were indeed times where bed time was sorely needed but there is that urge to press the one more turn button. The turn-based strategy in Total War: Rome 2 is as enjoyable as its real time tactics feature. You move set pieces on a campaign map and there are set positions you need to take in to consideration. You can't just go amassing your whole army and conquer the south and leave your northern shores undefended. Conquering a city with different cultures will affect the stability of the region because people with different cultures will go to a revolt faster than people with the same culture as you. There are ways to counter this though, like creating temples that will bring more public order or situating generals on an unstable populace to guard and defend against revolts. I would also like to mention that on the campaign map, generals can be given stances like ambush stance, raiding stance, etc. Example you give a general the ambush stance on a forest and an opposing general walks through the road that is within the reach of your general who lies in wait. You can initiate a battle and in that battle, your units will be positioned on ambush. Imagine a large army marching on a road with dense forest at both sides. Arrows suddenly rain down from nowhere and the marching army is suddenly taking casualties and is in a state of confusion. Cavalry then swoops in from the forest and melee troops lunge at confused soldiers. A melee breaks out and the few numbers your army has compared to the large opposing army, now has a larger morale and is winning
Generals develop traits depending on how you use them on the campaign map which is another great feature. I had this general who I assigned as my lead conqueror and he developed good traits befitting of a conqueror like having additional bonuses to unit morale in his army or increasing melee attack of units. This lead conqueror has developed a good warlike attitude and has also given that bonus to his men. I also had this other general defend a region and stay there to maintain public order. What happened is that this defending general developed a lazy trait over time. If you built a dock on a city and there are a lot of public squalor, your general might also develop a fitting trait that of a city with a lot of public squalor if he lingers there for a long time. This is a good feature which give the generals their very own personality that made them unique and invaluable.
There's really a lot of good strategy happening on the campaign map but the real action starts during the real time tactics phase of the game. On the campaign map, when two opposing armies collide, it enters the real time tactics phase. You control your army in real time against your enemy. Soldiers have variety and they fight against opposing soldiers like watching a war movie. What I find good here is you can win even while having the disadvantage in troop numbers. It all depends on your strategy. Placing troops at the right position and ordering them to attack at the right moment is key to victory. Flanking is crucial to turn the odds in your favor during a melee between two opposing units.
If you don't like playing the Grand Campaign and want to get into the action right away, you can create a custom battle and basically you get to set the battlefield to your liking. You get to choose which faction fights against who, select what units participate in the battle even how many soldiers will go.
The AI on normal difficulty is good enough for casual gamers. It did not bore me enough to say that it was too easy. You still have to be on your guard. The real challenge comes from higher difficulties but it's not impossible to beat. It's actually fun and you really must have good strategy and right positioning.
You can have thousands and thousands of soldiers on the battlefield and really see a huge battle break out(as long as your gaming rig can handle the load, that is.) The graphics of this game is amazing. It's so much fun to watch huge armies battle it out on the field. Don't get me wrong however, because this game is very optimized. I tried this game on a low-end PC with only 3GB of RAM and guess what, it played fine. You'll just have to tweak a few settings when playing on a low-end machine. Recently bought gaming rigs will have absolutely no problem running the game. It also has it's very own feature where the graphics automatically tones down when your machine is having a hard time running and then goes back to having great graphics when it sees that your PC can handle the load again. It's a great feature that prevents unnecessary crashes due to a lack of memory.
I find this a great historical simulation game for war. I feel like I'm a formidable commander-in-chief who commands generals and large armies. Overall, it's a great strategy game that is worth a try.