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Total War: Rome 2 Review

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While SEGA has been doing rather peculiar things with their sonic franchise, they have been doing all the right things with their Total War series. The series has shown time and time again that RTS titles can be just as different as the next genre. While we are still waiting for a Total War: Warhammer 40k (with the acquired Warhammer license and Relic Entertainment) we get a sequel to one of the best Total War titles, Rome. Total War Rome 2 takes what made the original game so successful and transitions it to higher end PC rigs to offer a bigger and better world to immerse yourself in.

You play as a general belonging to one of a few nations from the good old days. You will work your way up through the ranks commanding many armies to siege upon your enemies. Money, power, resources, and even slaves are all at your disposal. How the world views you and your actions will dramatically change how they will act. Divide and conquer and be ruler of Europe.

As with many RTS games, the story is not the greatest and what keeps you playing is the gameplay. To this day, Yuri’s Revenge has the best story for a RTS game and very little titles can live up to that reputation. However, Rome 2 is a whole different game this time around. Your army management is done in the overworld and you will be having to do much more than just building armies. Managing your other resources like money and production will be a chore. You cannot please everyone and while lowering taxes will yield less money, your people will be happier.

It is stuff like taxation and slavery that make this game shine. I am sure that seems rather odd to read so let me explain. It is common knowledge that taxation and slavery are two of the biggest acts of “villainy” one can commit both economically and morally. After all, America has had its fair share of both. You need money to fund your war efforts to keep your people safe while seiging other cities and occupying them. These all present their own problems because taxation will cause your citizens to revolt and so will an excess use of slavery. What you do with capture enemy armies affects your own cities as well as enemy and ally cities. Choosing what path to take is a genuine struggle, that is not something easy to do in a game like this.

Rome 2 wonderfully delivers on the gameplay. It takes just as much strategy in the overworld interactions as it does in the battles that will take place. The battle controls are solid and easy to learn. You will mostly just be maneuvering the camera though, after to designate orders the game kind of runs itself. In a game like Rome 2, a game playing itself is not a bad thing. You cannot control every aspect of a battle, that would be boring. Unpredictability is key in the Total War series. Rome 2 has plenty of that. If you are not careful, you could lose half your army and spend thousands to rebuild. I guess that is what I look forward to the most. Games that are easy to predict or too easy to play, are just not very fun in a sense of getting something accomplished. When you win a battle in Rome 2 with 10k troops, it feels great. It helps when the atmosphere is so damn good too.

Cities have a variety of upgrades to offer. Not in only the city buildings, but the units as well. Some cities will have access to troops you won’t. Then they may have different upgrades that other cities don’t have. Because the choice of building upgrades is so varied, it helps to have “specialist” cities to get the most out of the game. With the right management, your nation can be unstoppable. Going the military route is not the only way to win though (unless it is the mission). The game offers a lot of challenge to new and veteran players. Quite frankly, it delivers on so much I cannot talk about all of it in this review.

Rome 2 does suffer from some mechanical issues. The troops are not very detailed compared to the environments and even though the AI has been altered from release, it still has some issues conveying orders. The enemy AI also tends to act out in peculiar ways and it takes away from the experience. The learning curve is pretty steep even in the prologue missions. That is a game heavy into strategy and it will most likely deter people from continuing to play it. Hardcore fans will find much more pleasure in Rome 2 than newcomers. Barring a few small issues with AI and graphical glitches, Rome 2 delivers on strategy and is the pinnacle of its genre. I give Total War: Rome 2 for the PC a 9/10. You can pick it up on Steam and related sites now.

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