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Total War: Rome II Review

Since their inception, the Total War games have been the benchmark as to just what PC strategy games can offer, cementing themselves as the go to game for historically accurate scenarios alongside some huge and in depth battles. With Total War: Rome 2 it is more of the same, yet again delving into the Roman era circa 272BC and letting you control not just the Roman army but many other factions, all vying for territory.

The main campaign is split into two areas, the first being the map, which is very RISK like in its presentation, giving you a huge area to spread your armies through, hosting numerous forts and cities. Even though war was very commonplace during these times, the Romans were also a civilised race and Total War: Rome 2 also caters for this with a larger focus on diplomacy and trade. This is reflected in the numerous campaign objectives, you can go the cultural way and ally yourself with neighbouring provinces, slowly building up the library’s and such, the economic way is all about opening trade offers with the surrounding cities or you can go for the military win, getting you empire built with brute force. Either way you go about it, it is a long journey, taking time not only to build armies but also concentrate on areas like tax control and also upgrading and managing your villages and hamlets as the last thing you want is a rebellion whilst you are fighting on a far off land. Though initially daunting, the layout of the menus are very easy to follow, plus with an alert noting what you may have missed when ending your turn, the game really tries to look after you and make sure nothing has been overlooked.

Once you have made your decisions you then turn over control of the game to the opposing sides, who then move their pieces around the map until your forces meet. It is at this point that all that careful planning and building of your army pays off as you are about to go into battle. Now at this point you can either let the game auto fight or you, with the AI taking into consideration the strength of your army, or you can participate and have a hand on approach.

The main battle screen is where the most fun was had, granting you a full view of the battlefield, with you acting as a general to the proceeding real time battle. Be it on land or sea, you can place you units and carefully work out the lie of the land, taking into account forests, towns and even hills that may block your view or paths that can be used to make your men walk quicker. Once in battle, controlling your troops is a very easy exercise, with either clicking the units or highlighting a group of them and then commanding them to move, or you can go a little deeper and alter their formation or send other orders like quick march and rapid fire, resulting in more ferocious attacks but at the cost of exhaustion.

The sheer amount of units available is staggering and to make matters more confusing to the unlearned they all have their correct names though thankfully the icons and banners that these troops carry will give you a hint as to their function, be they pike men, cavalry or ranged plus, there is an encyclopaedia that you can call up at any point, a small window popping up that will detail whatever it is you need to know. It is this information that will often lead you to victory, learning the strengths and weakness of each unit.

Due to the historical correctness of the game there is a wealth of knowledge and information to take in early on in the game, alongside the encyclopaedia there is also a tutorial campaign that is ready and waiting for newcomers, making the transition to the main campaigns a lot less daunting, guiding through the basics of troops control and then moving onto the main campaigns, where there is still assistance in the way of talking heads that pop up whenever you select a new item.

With the main campaigns hosting a variety of factions to try out the single player area of Total War: Rome 2 will take some time to get though, plus you also have Historical Battles that place you in real scenarios to see if you can act in the same way as the great generals.

Though the screenshots make the game look great, you will need quite a powerful PC to get the most of the game, with the dramatic zooming in to view each battle taking place or using the cinematic camera tend to be a real struggle for my poor old graphics card, however it is not just about the looks and I gained just as much enjoyment from the game using the more traditional bird’s eye view, letting me see all of the action from high above.

Not having played the original games I am unable to comment on past titles and compare them in any way, but if you put in a little time, Total War: Rome 2 turns out to be a deep and satisfying strategy game that offers unsurpassed real time battles on a grand scale.


+ A great balance of turn based strategy and real time action
+ Fantastic battle views
+ Hundreds of different units to command.


- A lot to take in if you are a newcomer even with all of the tutorials.

Edited On 04 Sep, 2013

( 3 )
Kaysar's avatar
Kaysar 3 years ago
This game has been tormenting me to buy it for awhile now. I may see if I can grab hold of a demo as I'm not fully convinced it will run on my PC. Been a fan of nearly all of the Total War games so hopefully this will be as good as many of the others
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
Apparently they have good low setting options for older PCs. I am tempted but it looks like one of these games that will be massively time consuming.
Kaysar's avatar
Kaysar 3 years ago
Don't tell me that! I recently bought a Humble Bundle and I'm struggling to find time to play the games on that (Dead Space(s) and the Sims 3). Then throw in Animal Crossing and the soon to be released Pokemon games (before PS4!!!). Have they perfected cloning yet?

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