Rome II Review

Written by Rick Lane

September 2, 2013 | 15:48

Companies: #the-creative-assembly

Rome II Review

It's also important to emphasise just how diverse the game experience is between factions. Playing as the Iceni tribe (Britons) after an extensive Roman campaign almost feels like a different game. Units are completely different; skirmishers, spearmen and charioteers over heavily armoured, heavily organised melee troops. The tech tree is entirely removed from that of the Romans. Even how each faction accesses new units is different. The Romans gain new units completely from military buildings, whereas the Iceni can gain new units types from buildings as diverse as farms and smithies.

Rome II Review
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And of course, there's multiplayer too. In terms of the offering, this is largely unchanged from Shogun II, comprising of cooperative campaigns, competitive campaigns, and one-off battles. However, one massive change is that, for those individual battles, you can select a battle map from anywhere on the campaign map, just by clicking on any point in the Roman Empire. Essentially that means it's pretty much impossible to experience the same battle twice.

Rome II Review
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It's an enormous game, and for all that bulk is pretty well polished. There are some problems, of course; boarding armies and agents onto ships is incredibly fiddly, as they can only board and land on beaches. On the other hand, armies don't actually need to board ships anymore, and can just jump in vessels of their own whenever they need to cross the ocean, albeit at the risk of being obliterated by a proper navy, making that initial complaint rather moot. What certainly isn't moot are the stability issues. Twice the game crashed right in the middle of a siege assault, the absolute worst possible moment for a Total War game to crash.

Rome II Review
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Even when such crashes occur, there was only a few minutes of doing this, before the game was booted right back up again. While Total War had its roots in Shogun, Rome has generally been the most fondly remembered entry, considered the high point of the series and the game's natural home. Rome II had an awful lot to live up to, and it does this with the easy confidence of one of the game's own Champions standing in front of an entire army, sword drawn. It's truly an extraordinary creation; vast yet intimate, complex yet accessible, diverse yet cohesive, and vastly different while still recognisably Total War. Say goodbye to your life as you knew it, because the Romans are coming, and things won't ever be the same.
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    96 / 100

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