The latest addition to Sega’s longest running franchise has finally launched on Steam. Different from the previous releases in the series, Total War: Rome II picks up most of its traits from the ‘Fall of the Samurai’ series that was released a few years back. If you are familiar with Shogun 2 or any of its DLC, you will find Total War: Shogun II to your liking. One thing about the Total War series is its ability to captivate the player for hours on end. You still feel compelled to continue playing even after completing the single-player campaign. The addictive gameplay is what made the franchise so successful.
The single-player campaign allows you to choose a faction at the beginning of the game. This produces a nonlinear experience; it gives the player enough flexibility to tailor the campaign to their liking. And even if you start a new game with a faction that you have already played, the gameplay experience is never the same as the last. This makes the game unpredictable each time you play.
There is more to Total War: Rome II than just conquering your opponents – there is a diplomatic side to the gameplay where you can form alliances and cultivate relationships with other factions. This includes opening up trade routes for making money and aiding other factions during time of war or vice versa. Rome II also has a very expansive politics system where you can sway the opinion of the people and political figures. You can even assassinate political figures in order to sway public opinion in your favor. The political system allows the player to think outside the box to accomplish objectives without causing all-out war. Some players may find the politics system a bit confusing at first, but once you understand its features, you’ll find yourself using it often.
The attention to detail is absolutely mind-blowing when the graphics are set to the highest settings possible. You can see the intricate detail of every single soldier in your army. Gamers will be amazed by the amount of detail shown on-screen, especially when you use the cinematic camera view for the first time to watch your armies march into a city, .
The game has a feature where you can watch your army siege cities and slaughter your foes. However, if you are the type of gamer who would rather not command battles, there is an ‘auto resolve’ option that will do it for you. Smaller encounters don’t need player intervention, but commanding your troops does result in a more profitable outcome.
Each unit should have a general to lead them. While generals are not required, they are definitely recommended. Having a general can greatly improve your odds in combat. Every battle your general wins will grant him experience that can be used to upgrade him with new talents and skills. One interesting feature is the ability to examine your general and see a backlog of every battle he has won and lost. Keeping your general alive is important, especially if you want him to become a ‘seasoned’ leader. The more experience he gains, and the more battles he wins, helps to strengthen his abilities.
A seasoned general can be the difference between victory or failure when leading your army into combat. Generals will die on the battlefield, but they can be replaced when hiring new mercenaries at a later time.
You can have as many armies as you like. This also includes hiring generals, recruiting soldiers and even hiring mercenaries. Recruiting soldiers from nearby towns/cities is highly recommended over hiring mercenaries. Mercenaries are units that you must pay during each turn (whether it’s during combat or not), so you must pay for them continuously. While it may be time consuming to recruit soldiers, they are permanent members of your army and they don’t require constant upkeep to serve you. Mercenaries are a good alternative if you’re desperate, but they can become very costly in the long term.
Gamers might remember from previous releases of Total War that you could build fortified walls around your cities and towns. This is not the case in Total War: Rome II. Only main capital cities are fortified with walls that must be sieged. This does limit the amount of time spent capturing cities because some don’t need to be sieged. This change has been the subject of controversy in the Total War gaming community since the game launched. Some players find the inability to siege cities a bit upsetting. I personally don’t mind the change. Sure – being able to siege cities would extend the gameplay, but it’s not like it was really needed either.
Total War: Rome II includes a new feature called ‘Fog of War’. This feature allows the player to hide their units in tall grass, brush and dense forests. If your units happen to be outside your opponent’s ‘point of view’, the enemy will not be able to see you. For example – placing your units on top of a hill will give you a better vantage point to see your opponent(s). But if both sides are far enough apart, neither side will see anything. This feature is brilliant; it enhances the gameplay by introducing new strategies.
Total War: Rome II has some of the most photogenic graphics ever seen in the franchise. Your units look stunningly authentic and the backgrounds are gorgeous to say the very least. The sounds manage to impress the entire time you play and the soundtrack is simply incredible. Plus, Rome II continues to impress with every new patch.
Total War: Rome II can easily take ‘Best Strategy Game of the Year’ because of its in-depth gameplay and realistic graphics. Gamers looking for a new strategy game will be impressed by Sega’s latest release in the Total War series; it’s one game that no fan of the genre should miss.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
OS: XP/ Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8
Processor: 2 GHz Intel Dual Core processor / 2.6 GHz Intel Single Core processor
Memory: 2GB RAM
Graphics: 5 12 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible card (shader model 3, vertex texture fetch support).
Hard Drive: 35 GB HD space
Additional: Screen Resolution – 1024×768
Developer: Creative Assembly
|The graphics are visually appealing and easy on the eyes.|
|Authentic sound effects and a well composed soundtrack heighten the experience.|
|The diplomatic system, as well as leveling generals, really adds to the game’s appeal.|
|Total War: Rome II is easily one of the best releases in the Total War series.|