Reviews by Etaren


A Worthy Successor?

Etaren | Sept. 13, 2013 | Review of Total War: Rome II

I spent a long time looking forward to this game, and I was not disappointed. I'll get back to that later, but first the bad things. Bugs and the sorts for instance. I've mostly played the multiplayer campaign with a friend, and the waiting time between turns are horrendous. The AI processing time takes a lot of time. At the start of a new game, when no factions have been wiped out, we could wait for 10 minutes before a full cycle of turns. That's the most "game-breaking" one I've been subject to, so let's leave it at that and start looking at the game.

The graphics are fantastic, both on the campaign map and in the battles. Zooming in on the soldiers is amazing as you can see a lot of different faces, helmets and shield markings for instance. The details are great.

The battle maps are great as well, you really feel like you're fighting in the area that your army is positioned. If you fight in the vicinity of a city, you can see the city in the outskirts of the battle. The cities look stunning when you fight in them, the only thing that drags it down for me is that you can't have walls in certain cities, the "minor" ones. That in turn makes it easier to expand, not forcing you to have war machines or siege engines to take the minor cities. But that is more of a game mechanic kind of thing.

Speaking of the mechanics, Total War: Rome II has been simplifying things, a minimalist UI with simple choices for cities. It does the job, but it feels a bit empty. And as I noted before, I really don't like not being able to have at least palisades around the minor cities. There's no family tree either, which takes another aspect out of the game. In short, it feels a bit hollowed out, made easier for the mainstream consumer.

I do like the battle mechanics however, it's intuitive and does require strategy to be successful, at least on the higher difficulties. Ship combat is great and it feels just the right amount of "fast-paced action". I also like the abilities your generals can learn, different abilities for the three different attributes. And although the traits and household items are fun, it can sometime feel a bit like "filler" items.

Tradition is a new and very fun concept though. The more an army fights, the more experience it gets, and every level the army can gain a new tradition. They can be known as great spearmen with a grand camp following, making them more effective with spears and lowering their upkeep. Or they can be known as something else, there's quite a lot of different traditions. It makes you really connect with your generals and armies.

So one positive, one negative to finish the review off.

  • The variety of the maps you battle on

  • The amount of time it takes to finish a full turn in multiplayer