As the years pass, developer Creative Assembly has not ventured outside of their flagship franchise, “Total War.” Oddly enough, it is one of the few companies that doesn’t have to because each game in the series has been a success.
That being said, how does the latest sequel, “Total War: Rome II,” stack up against other installments in what has been called the greatest strategy franchise ever created?
It stacks up pretty damn well.
As each iteration of the “Total War” franchise is released, Creative Assembly tries very hard to learn what does and does not work in each game. This progress can be seen as their games continue to receive critical acclaim, even in the era of the fast-paced action game.
Where many felt “Empire: Total War” and “Total War: Shogun II” fell short, “Rome” has picked up the slack and delivered a cinematic, visceral and cerebral game that continues to deliver the same quality of game that the franchise has provided in previous years.
|These are actual visuals that you can see in an in-game battle.
The biggest draws for “Rome” were the incredible graphics and the large-scale battles. The franchise is known for its epic scale, but this game puts all others to shame.
For the first time, players are able to combine sea and land battles as well.
Nothing quite compares to landing troops on foreign soil after a long sea voyage and marching through the streets after burning down the gates of the city.
Each individual soldier’s armor is unique and different, their faces dirty with grime and blood.
It’s difficult to review a game as intricate and multifaceted as a “Total War” game. It’s akin to writing a review for RISK.
What can be said about it is fairly evident. Apart from the gorgeous battle sequences, there are many amalgamations of gameplay elements from previous iterations of the game.
“Shogun II’s” research system has been applied to allow for nuanced country advancement. It also aids in the recruiting of crucial diplomatic and stealth units who can turn the tide of battle in a foreign nation.
|Even the campaign map has had a makeover.
Speaking of this, increased importance has been put upon settlement unrest and happiness. There are multiple factors already applied from previous games, but the algorithms seem to be more fleshed out and easier to understand.
Armies must be started from a city, but can be grown from anywhere within the nation’s territory. This is a vast improvement from previous games where the soldiers recruited had to travel from a city to join the rest of the forces assembled.
While those familiar with the game’s mechanics will find much improvement, those new to this style of game might be a tad overwhelmed by the multitude of bells and whistles. Luckily, there is a short prologue that teaches any new player all they need to know.
Personally, I will admit that I am not the best at these types of games in the long haul. I’ve always had some trouble with over-extension and over-taxation. “Rome” takes time to learn and cannot be easily mastered by anyone picking it up for the first time. However, they will be able to play it and enjoy it thoroughly.
The fact that an encyclopedia is included within the game to teach the player about buildings and units should tell anyone thinking of buying the game that they are in for some frustration at times.
“Total War: Rome II” is a masterpiece of years of tinkering and experimentation by Creative Assembly. It is by no means the perfect game, but it could quite possibly be hailed as the best “Total War” game made to date. With sweeping fields of battle that rival something seen on the silver screen, to strategies and civil gameplay to rival actual government planning, “Rome” delivers in every way it promised it would.