Reviews by Harcard


Rome II: Totally Worth

Harcard | Sept. 16, 2013 | Review of Total War: Rome II

I've been waiting for the sequel of "Rome: Total War" since Creative Assembly released "Medieval II: Total War" back in 2006. You no longer need to play supermods like "Roma Surrectum II" just because there isn't anything better...

To all those people saying things like 1>"huge step back" or 2>"the game is bugged", I say:

1- Go back to Rome TW (which I used to love so much) and enjoy its completely obsolete graphics engine, unrealistic/much fewer factions, lack of naval battles/landings, bugs and crashes, lame/unclear diplomacy, considerably less unit/character/agent abilities, battle exploits (like cavalry automatically beating the enemy by simply charging its flank/rear while already in combat),etc.

2- Name a game of similar magnitude that wasn't bugged when it was released (Blizzard games don't count. They don't have this kind of magnitude and, though small, they still had bugs when were released). It's true that there are some games which were unplayable when released ("Silent Hunter V" and "IL2:Cliffs of Dover" are a couple of well-known examples), but Rome 2 isn't one of them. There are things called patches that eventually solve most of the problems, and there are other things called modding communities that improve the game so much it becomes immensely better (compare "Rome TW" with "Roma Surrectum II" if you don't believe me.) You could see this kind of game as a potentially modified one...yes, you could complain about the price Creative Assembly charges for Rome II (55 euros in my country) but as a basic mod platform is pretty cheap and will last for decades, just take a look at the modding community of Rome TW, the game was released in 2004 and now, nearly 10 years later, there are still people working on it. Of course this doesn't apply to all games, but it does apply to Rome II (in fact, I think there are already a few mods being developed) the way, most mods are free.

Rome II is everything I expected it to be and more. -Graphics are absolutely astounding, I can't believe I can play Rome II at decent fps, considering the 3000/4000+ insanely detailed units + thousands of other detailed elements loaded in every battle (the only exception being 2D tree models arranged in cross so you think they are 3D when looking at them from afar and become 3D when you zoom in. But I guess it's all for performance sake so I can live with that)

-Tons of historical factions/regions/cities have been added in Rome II, a huge improvement over the original Rome TW. Most of them are unplayable, but maybe future addons/mods will change this.

-Diplomacy has, at last, become clear. Now you know why your allies turned on you or why that faction didn't want your trinkets.

-Naval battles, ship ramming and my favorite, LANDINGS...awesome features all.

-War machines and missile units are amazingly destructive (maybe a little too much), it's wonderful to see enemy units blown away by the blast of your ballista's projectiles or being decimated by your archers/slingers from a safe distance.

-Cavalry and infantry charges send men flying away or crush them into the ground (I miss the blood, though). Corpses pile up and dying men take their last breath beside their fallen comrades.

-Settlements are arranged in provinces, which makes macromanagement really fast and easy (micromanagement is still possible, of course, but not in the detail of "Rome: Total War"). I haven't counted them yet, but I'd say there are less buildings in Rome II (but not by many). I've finished the prologue and almost completed an entire custom campaign and I don't think more buildings are really needed (a mod could easily add/modify buildings, if you wanted more). Several management options have been included in Rome II, like provincial edicts or tax exemption, which help fighting unrest. (Word of advice, keep an eye on the squalor modifier a building produces and how this will affect your ENTIRE PROVINCE before building it. You must build temples/public buildings which produce public order to counter squalor. If you choose to only counter the squalor level in a given settlement, you might never succeed in keeping people happy as another settlement IN THE SAME PROVINCE could be producing the squalor that is affecting this one. Always think in provincial terms not in individual settlement terms as you would in "Rome: Total War".)

-New agent types and abilities similar to that of Shogun II.

Right now I can't think of more features but sure there are more.

Rome II has its issues II, of course. As I said before, who the hell expects a TW v1.00 to be flawless? I surely didn't.

-Simply put, AI borders pathetic both in campaign and battle maps and it's really unrealistic/annoying (I know future patches/mods will fix this as they have in other TW games.)

-Sometimes ships don't land properly and crew won't disembark

There are a noticeable amount of minor glitches throughout the game:

-The battle summary shows unit kills that haven't happened, -Some trees on the campaign map have texture issues. -Sometimes when a general kills another on the campaign map a "phantom" of that general appears. -Food surplus changes along with taxation when you apply tax exemption to a settlement (it has already been fixed, I think). -In rare occasions battles won't even autoresolve, the enemy general and his 2000+ troops are directly killed without any effect on your troops (happened once to me). -If you choose to sack a settlement after completely anihilating its garrison you don't occupy it, you just plunder it. You must then right-click on the settlement again and select occupy, which forces you to fight another battle against a very tiny force of...I don't know, zombies? I don't know if this is a bug or if CA designed it this way but you can always autoresolve the battle at the cost of nearly no casualties.

In conslusion, Rome II is a great game, a huge improvement over "Rome: TW" if you enjoy TW games, you'll probably love this one, and if not, well, who cares? It's just a game.