Gaius Julius can kiss my Gluteus Maximus- Rome 2 Total War Review

Posted: October 21, 2013 in Strategy

Zamboangamer has been meaning to use that title for a very long time now and we finally have the review for Rome 2: Total War, A latest in the Total War Series that goes back to a time of ancient empires without the cloned soldiers that the original RTW featured.

Rome 2 Total War is one of the most hoped and anticipated games of 2013. Upon its release however, things did not go out with a bang as they should and Zamboangamer is also a bit disappointed in this. Zamboangamer has never wanted this post to point out the flaws of games. But it’s the truth

I will tell you why exactly why you should wait longer to get the game than it’s release date and while this post is a month late. It still holds some valuable truths to why you should not get this game.

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First off, Rome Total War 2 is among 2013’s most anticipated PC games. It is a direct sequel to Rome Total War which featured 3D graphics and armies on a massive scale,a pioneering move at it’s time. Throughout the years the Total War series featured more improvements, bigger battles and empire-building.

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Ah Rome, the city of the seven hills, home to emperors and mighty legions. Once a underdog republic that became one of the greatest historical influences of the world. It is Rome, and as Zamboangamer has played the Julli family from RTW, then it is befitting that I play its legacy too since the Roman Legions are mighty. There are other factions to play with such as the Greek City States (a DLC with everyone’s favorite Spartans) Macedon, Egypt, Persia, Carthage,Gaul and other tribes and empires which were expand from the original game.

Let’s talk about the economic aspect of the game. Mighty armies need taxes fro equipment and food to fill their stomachs. Without both the army cannot stand. Taxing the population is a must for building armies but you risk revolt from overtaxing them.

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You will have to build buildings on your major settlements and cities to help fund the economy, trade routes on land and sea are valuable for bringing the needed funding. You increase this with diplomatic relations with other factions (soon to be conquered).

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The economic side of RTW2 is simplistic in its approach as taxes are defaulted. Choosing between buildings can go a long way as your city upgrades. You do need some decision making from time to time as certain building bonuses are present. Do I need more funds from this or increase public order? Should I make more recruitment buildings or tear down one to make room for the temples? These questions make it fun to play. It won’t take much of your time at first. But as you expand your empire this will have to be addressed as you go from macro to micromanagement.

Capturing land now requires some effort as there are provincial bonuses to be had once you unite the province itself. Rome needs two more minor provinces up to the north in order for edicts to be issued which benefits your faction in several ways.

Diplomacy on the other hand is a tricky business. Playing the Roman Faction is tough since the A.I will be aggressive in trying to conquer you so be prepared. Your first enemy is the Etruscan League which will become more numerous if you want to fight up north to the south, Carthage will be your main rival and Greeks to the east.

Most of the time as you increase your wealth factions will want to get trade relations with you up and running. This could work to your advantage if you need certain resources not available to your nation now. The A.I is fickle with diplomacy and I think this needs an update just like the other components of the game.

There is also a political system to explore. Remember this as you progress through the game because it plays a semi-major role. Rome itself has 3 factions which are controlled by a senate. The more you get people to support you the more the senate and the other factions in your empire get jealous and may attempt assassinations on your family members.

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The Goals or Quests for Rome follow a pattern that is likened to history. Complete these goals for bonuses and recognition. You find as you expand your empire, these goals are usually completed easily.

Now it’s on to the good part the War itself!

RTW 2 has improved from its predecessor Shogun 2 Total War which was another sequel from STW. There is a uniqueness to the soldiers that were cloned from the original RTW. Soldiers sport several armor sets complete with individualized faces. It is a joy to see them, Zamboangamer has even researched that a super fan who died due to cancer was given a tribute by being one of those soldiers. Now I just got to find him.

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Zamboangamer is delighted to see a Roman Legion once more. the unit detail is amazing to look at and you will really feel them marching of to war and doing battle. Unit cards are based on the battalions that you command. They somehow are irritating since they take some space on the screen, luckily they can be minimized. Battles are more of the rock-paper-scissor type of games that Total War Series is known for. Spears beat horse, horse beats bow, bow beats swords and swords beat spears. Two identical units will have to be better in numbers and equipment to win.  The moral factor stands out to rout the enemy or you so be careful not to let stragglers escape such as the enemy general or try not to get your own killed.

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Unfortunately its the battles that also disappoint me and here is why. the FRIKKIN A.I, I can easily conquer armies even on hard mode and that seems unfair. The enemy will start of sending skirmishers and just be peppered down by my own units. I have experimented on this A.I for a long time since it’s release and I feel it is my right to tell the other gamers not to get this game till they fix and update it. So we might have to wait further.

Naval battles are now included which were not featured in the last game. I only knew Triremes up until this point, but it turns out RTW2 gives new units to play with. These ships are mostly rammers and naval combat turn out to be more of skirmishes that are less enjoyable than the land battles. They are also depending upon your empire to be more or less frequent. Rome is more land based so other factions such as Carthage, Egypt or the Greek City States can really get naval wars up and running.

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Overall RTW2 might not be for most players due to its early and buggy release. Creative Assembly is doing its best to make the game better, I just wished it didn’t release the game so early with all of these crashes,glitches, errors and unsatisfying A.I. Till then its back to Cloned Soldiers or Japan Feudal Wars before coming back to this. How far do we go for Rome then?

Graphics: The Graphics are gorgeous eye-candy which feel cinematic in its experience. Slower computers (like mine) may have a hard time enjoying it. But it is still a joy to look at. The game camera can get into those moments with a cinematic mode. Battles are definitely something to look forward to due to the carnage. No more cloned soldiers is another plus factor of the game.

Sound: The ancient music mixes Roman, Celtic, Greek, Eastern, Egyptian moods which is an eargasm. I did want Angela van Dyk to sing a new credits song since its a trademark. Sound effects really get you to the battlefields as sword clash and orders are shouted onto deafening screams of enemy troops charging in.

Gameplay: As discussed earlier the game is buggy as heck. You have to wait for further patches to better the game. Don’t believe in all the hype ads and youtube vids for now.

Lessons: Rome was not built in a day and so should this game be.

Historical games are a good way to practice thinking and research. This game is full of it so get your pens and papers ready.

Study the lives of the people in the ancient age. They are just as the same as you and me now in our modern age.

Till the next Zamboangamer Review

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Comments
  1. Excellent review, it’s a shame that there are enough flaws with the A.I. and such that it warrants a non buy. As you say though they will probably fix most of the issues hopefully. I only have played Rome total war the original but I thought it was pretty great of course.

    Man that was awhile ago but still… I like what I’m seeing though as far as visuals and the game sounds like it has some good intentions with the added elements that they’ve put in, they just must patch some.

    • They improved on the original formula Minotech, yes indeed, the A.I was always the issue with Total War games. Shogun 2 Total War did improve the system a bit though. Hopefully they are making the updates right now.

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