#610 Rome: Total War

Posted: 12th February 2015 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

402nd played so far

RomeboxGenre: Strategy
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2004
Developer: The Creative Assembly
Publisher: Activision

Wow, has it already been 250 games since we played Medieval: Total War? I suppose it’s what you’d expect, considering that there are still two more coming up (Medieval: Total War II and Empire: Total War), but it doesn’t feel like we’ve been that long.

Still, aside from the expected improvements, the game feels like it should have slightly more appeal – the time period simply appeals more to it. This should be fun then.

Our Thoughts

To start off with – as much work as they might have put into the battle side of the game – the first part it explains and that it partially moves towards – it doesn’t feel the strongest, and it’s one of those things where other games do it better. But that’s not where the series is strongest – it’s the world exploration, the diplomacy surrounding it, and how your empire-building factors into the battle.

We skipped the battles from time to time. They took up more time than they were worth and the game plays as well as an empire building game. As such, this is the part we’ll mostly be discussing.

 Because the thing is, as we love Civilization and its similar games, there is something special about these world building games, and Rome: Total War brings in its own twist on the formula that makes it as engaging on its own terms.

While Medieval: Total War placed you squarely in charge of your own kingdom, not beholden to any, Rome: Total War places you in charge of one of Rome’s great families. Still important, but beholden to the will of the senate and the mood of Roman citizens. It adds a few further interesting elements to gameplay. First, you get missions to gain favour, as well as rewards, which focus early gameplay somewhat. Second, that influence should translate into senate positions, which I haven’t seen matter too much, but probably have a point. And last, when you get too powerful, defeating them and taking Rome becomes one of the final objectives of the game.

It feels like the range of buildings is a bit more expanded as well, with more options to focus on growth and happiness rather than just army building. The game feels like it’s been enriched here, compared to the previous entry we discussed.

Another mechanic that I believe was new as well is the influence of family. Family members – whether by blood or adoption – are both your city leaders (you can’t control them without a governor) and generals. They become important for control of the region, and training them is vital.

From this, the simulation is quite rich with loads of options. There’s plenty going on, although not so much as to be overwhelming. The integration with the RTS segments are done quite well – even down to different positioning for backups – although the controls are a bit too clunky sometimes to be completely fun – for us at least.

Final Thoughts

Anyone remember Time Commanders on the BBC presented by Top Gear’s Richard Hammond? The engine used for this was used for this programme was the same used in the game. Weird to think how an entire show (effectively a strategic gameshow) was based around the engine of a video game.

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