Total War: Rome II - Review

total War; Romw II review for PC  at GAME

Welcome To The Global Theatre Of War

Total War: Rome II takes the war to the world as you take control of one of nine nations (the Averni, Carthage, the Iceni, Macedon, Parthia, Pontus, Ptolemaic Egypt, Rome, and the Suebi). This is not the strategy RPG to which you are accustomed. Each nation has a face, a history, and eventually a place in your heart. You'll soon care about the history faces you come across as you pummel their armies and plunder their nations in the era of 272 BC.

At the onset you may find that Rome II plays a little bit lighter on strategy than previous games in the Total War series. Don't let appearances fool you as the complex strategies of Shogun and other titles are still present and required for success. What has changed is the fact that you can't simply build an army and take on any nation you want.

The power of your army is directly determined by the size of your empire. You cannot command your troops unless they have an accompanying general. The number of generals you can have at your command is limited by the size of your empire. It makes the game feel tighter and more controlled, while still maintaining the sense of complex wartime strategy.

Learning How To Fight

Controlling armies in Rome II feels almost like learning a fighting game character with multiple stances. Your army has "stances" ranging from fortify, which creates an outpost, to forced march, which moves your troops with a quickness. These stances come in handy because most of the battles in Rome II are fought on a massive scale. You won't have to pick off small gatherings of troops here and there as you inch closer to your goal. Instead, you march your army straight into the gates of Hell and take on the opposing army head-to-head in a clash worthy of the history books.

Total War: Rome II review for PC at GAME

One aspect of Rome II that really stands out is the life of your army, even during combat. It's very easy and clear to discern exactly what's going on without having to analyze the battle to death. When your army takes down another unit, they'll let out an enthusiastic cheer. If the sky above your troops is filling with arrows, you'll know they're under attack because their shields will be visibly protecting them. You can glance around the battlefield and know what's going on without having to worry too much about understand the nuances of the game.

Remember how the complexity of battle is still prominent in Rome II? That's seen by the advances in the graphics engine, as well as how each battle plays out. At the most basic level, if your troops cannot physically see an enemy, neither can you. You might think that's a common sense feature and actually makes things easier, but in reality it only makes things more complex. The smallest hill on the battlefield can change how the fight progresses. If you place troops behind this hill, the enemy can't see them and you can't see over the hill. This causes a fantastic feeling of anticipation as your troops push forward, not knowing what may be over the next hill.

One thing that was frustrating to deal with were the small remnants of armies. Once an area has been conquered, there may still be a few small units of troops that will attack random locations within your empire. These small battles do not have a significant impact on the game, but you still have to deal with them.

Total War: Rome II review for PC at GAME

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day

While the strategy RPG elements are a solid of Rome II, it almost feels like you're playing Sim City with a side of League of Legends. You'll have to manage the building of resources in your newly conquered regions, which isn't new to the series, but when you factor in the time it takes to conquer an entire region, this is not a game you can make much progress in over a few short hours. This isn't a bad thing, but players looking for instant gratification may want to look elsewhere.

There's a lot to be said about Total War: Rome II. It has a solid strategy RPG core but offers more than other games of that genre. The attention to detail is great, so you'll want to make sure your PC is up to the task. If you have the means and you're familiar with the Total War series, Rome II delivers even more than you may expect.

GAME's Verdict

The Good

  • If you're familiar with the Total War series, Rome II delivers the goods
  • A good strategy RPG with creative additions that add variety to the game
  • Gorgeous level of detail

The Bad

  • Smaller battles can take an inordinate amount of time
  • The level of detail is fantastic but you'll need a PC up to the task
  • Some may not like the feature additions, but remember, variety is the spice of life
SKU: Reviews-246267
Release Date: 05/09/2013