I contemplated staying up until midnight to give it a start through but failed due to retinal burn on Saints Row 4 mostly. I should have worked on my Netrunner decks or played a solo game of ASL or something instead of hitting the computer and burning at the eyes. Rome is going to be quite a time suck so I best get started right away though right?
I’ve gotten a couple hours in entirely with the tutorial (which is actually a really cool mini-campaign against the Samnites) and the feel of the game already is better than Shogun, and by feel I mean the combat between units– it is amazing. I don’t know if it’s just the way the Roman units fight (in this campaign it is very early Rome) but it is so much more visceral than the other versions of the game it’s shocking– units press together in a horrific mob and the slaughter commences. It’s a gorgeous thing to behold.
I’ve just scratched the surface region–what am I looking forward to over all? The last really good Total War game was Empire which was literally world spanning and had some fantastic combat. Moving from a period of time when pikemen and cavalry charges were still viable forms of attack to the era of artillery domination was amazing to see. While I liked Shogun 2– there was something about it that I just couldn’t get into. Possibly it’s the whole Samurai thing that feels tired to me– all these dudes in their ornate lamellar armor fighting each other just seems so clean and controlled compared to the rest of the games (which is very Japanese in a way)–in Rome, there are a few bastions of civilization surrounded entire by teeming hordes of hunter gatherer tribes and barbarian nations, wherein Shogun, everyone is dressed…so nicely. Also in Shogun, the battles seemed to go too fast– when two units hit one would rout extremely quickly compared to other games in the series. This gave you little time to react: I found myself pausing a lot more than any other Total War game. I was barely able to finish a campaign and only played multiplayer once. Since Rome 2 is heir to the greatest strategy game ever made–what am I looking forward too?
- Better graphics / animations — this goes without saying and it’s already there
- Bigger map /different stuff around — Shogun suffered because one clan was the next clan was the next clan– it all seemed the same. After seeing some of the phalanx fighting in Rome 2, this seems absolutely impossible in the new game that things will be too small or samey.
- Better AI in the campaign – this was my biggest gripe in Rome 1 and Barbarian Invasion. The AI just wasn’t too smart and you could win the campaign really easily (especially as an island nation). This has been getting vastly better in the newer games but always seems to need work
- No skill trees for characters — these were lame in Shogun. We’ll see what happens in Rome 2.
- Putting cities to the sword – due to the xenophobic nature of the period, the different societies weren’t too friendly to each other when conquering. One thing I loved in Rome was the ability to put cities to the sword to gain max value and reduce population (since extra population is usually very unhappy with everything). This allows control of revolutions as well as providing much needed cash. While this may not be realistic (Caesar did this all the time in Gaul).
- Better multiplayer — I’ve had issues connecting with my two friends that play the game for years now and it would be awesome if that were ameliorated forever anon.
Reviews so far have been positive, reviews of Total War players on reddit and the like have been extremely positive (knowing the burrs and all that naturally come with a Total War game) so here’s to 6 months of playing a single game on the computer!