A good strategy game is hard to find, especially in today’s marketplace. It seems that we are just flooded with games that focus on micromanagement, rather than the bigger picture. Luckily, SEGA has us covered with the Total War franchise and the time has come for a new game to enter the franchise and Total War: Rome 2 was born. With a new game comes new features, a more powerful set of tools that customize your experience and the historical accuracy and flat-out fun that we’ve all come to expect from a Total War game.
In Total War: Rome 2, you play as a Roman Commander in which you have to help your people overcome the many challenges the Romans faced from their early republic days in 272 BC to the full fledged empire period of 27 BC. You will have the opportunity to relive some of Rome’s most pivotal battles for dominance and expansion. If you ever wanted to put your sense of strategy and leadership to the test, this game will give you all you can handle. However, for those that may not have as much experience in strategy games, there is plenty of game here to dive into.
From the very beginning of the campaign, the pace of the game is intense. It leaves you in control of a small contingent of troops and an invading army to control. You’ll quickly learn how to move troops, keep your projectile troops to the back and how to attack. Before long you are trying to prevent a settlement from being over run and aiding your fellow Romans from the onslaught. It seems almost a trial by fire learning curve, but luckily the game does a great job at instructing you on what you need to do to get the job done, at least in the beginning. Once you start getting into some of the more complicated scenarios and you start managing the empire as a whole, as well as your individual army, it starts to get confusing as to how to properly manage your settlements. There is a delicate balance you need to maintain between public order and production to get the most out of your empire. If you fail to maintain the balance, you’ll find yourself easily overwhelmed by your opponents. While it makes sense that the micro-management elements of the game directly affect the macro-management elements of the game, more explanation could have went into how you can manipulate the system to your benefit.
While there is plenty of empire management in this game, the real reason everyone is playing this game is because of the combat. Keeping your army happy, protected and well-stocked is vitally important in Total War: Rome 2. Having unhappy soldiers lowers your morale and makes you vulnerable in battle so it is up to you to make sure your army can win the battle you send them off to fight. You can achieve this end by researching new technologies, building new specialized buildings and keeping your army stocked full of new recruits. However, just having a massive, stocked army doesn’t always ensure victory and this is where the game really shines. Combat relies heavily on surveying the landscape, taking advantage of opportunities and realizing your opponents weaknesses. Does your opponent have a disproportionate amount of missile troops? Mow them down with your Calvary. Maybe your opponent has a ton of Calvary, balance that out with your pikes. The list goes on but it emphasizes that keeping a balanced army will ensure that you’ll be able to face any situation you face. In addition to balance, controlling your army is very easy to grasp and the ability to just pick up and play is there. Newcomers may find the game hard to master, but they won’t have any issues just playing the game. The accessibility of the franchise is important and it is one of the things that makes this game great.
Multiplayer seems to be becoming a dirty word in some video game franchises, but luckily it is well done in Total War: Rome 2. You can elect to play the game with a friend in the Campaign mode or you can go head to head if that suits you better. If you choose to play together, you will have to work together to achieve the same goal. You will have to vote on decisions and agree on troop placement. One player can spectate while the other commands, but if you both want to command, you’ll have to do it together. This type of mandatory cooperation is not something seen very often, but it keeps the integrity of the game intact. It is an interesting concept and it will be interesting to see how this multiplayer mode develops over time. However, if you decide to go head-to-head, you’ll be given a lot more control over the game than you have in the past. The largest change is perhaps the ability to choose where in the Roman Empire do you want to battle. If you want to fight in the desert, choose Carthage or Alexandria; If a forest is more your speed, choose Gaul or Germania. You can literally choose the location of the battle and it is a lot of fun to play each type of terrain. If you pay attention, you’ll even notice some famous landmarks near the battlefield.
Overall, Total War: Rome 2 is an excellent game. There are a few minor hit detection issues and some minor problems with the AI, but there isn’t anything that we experienced that was game breaking for us. There were also a number of issues that effected large groups of players, but thankfully Creative Assembly has been working diligently to get these issues fixed with a serious of patches and hot fixes. If you already purchased the game, but found that there were too many bugs with the game, you should go back and take a look today. If you’ve been holding off on purchasing this game because of the issues that were present at launch, we are happy to report that this game is safe to buy. We really enjoyed our time with the game and we found it a worthy addition to the Total War franchise. If you have any interest in strategy gaming, this game is a must-buy.
This review is based on a review copy of the PC version, patch 2 of Total War: Rome 2 developed by Creative Assembly, published by SEGA
- Simple Gameplay
- Expanded Multiplayer
- Minor AI Glitches
- Still Being Patched