So, The long awaited latest addition to the Total war frenchise is finally here! One of the game I’ve anticipated the most since it was announced, and even before that. The original Rome: total war is still one of my favorites in the series, even though it’s 10 years old.
SO, how does the latest installment hold up? Well, my feelings about this game are currently mixed. On one hand, this game can, and probably will grow to become the best game in the series. On the other hand, the game still has a lot of problems. Expect an updated comment on this game a few patches down the road.
First of all, I want to say that I really enjoy this game, even at it’s current state. The way the campaign is setup is great, multiplayer seems to work fine and the overall “feel” of the game is great. After writing this, I have to admint that I haven’t had the problems a lot of people seem to be experiancing with the game. It actually runs ok on my 3 year old system even at fairly high settings. I’ve notices some graphical glitches and some drips in frame rate but that’s to be expected on my current system with these settings. One note though, I haven’t noticed any improvements with the latest patch, that was soposed to adress some of these issues. I’ve also seen complaints about loading times. I have the best loading times I’ve seen in a Total war game, but I’m running the game from an SSD. I did the same with Shogun 2 and had much worse loading times in that game, so not sure where that’s coming from. I’ve also read reports saying that the AI behaves strangely; some people says it’s to aggressive, some says it’s to passive and so on. Overall I would say the battle AI is a bit more prudent than in previous game, and I’ve seen it do a few weird things, but nothing that really stands out as stupid. I’ve heard similar things from some of the YouTube channels I follow, so I’m not sure if the AI is worse for some people and better for some, or if some people are just lucky or unlucky depending on how you look at it. There is however some AI related bugs. I think it should defend it’s cities more on the campaign map and not perform suicide attacks, so in conclusion the campaign AI needs some work. I’ve also heard reports that it doesn’t build siege equipment properly, but I’ve only had my larger scities attacked by rebels (except for some amphibious assaults), so I can’t really tell if this is true or not.
People also have other complaints, but I’ll get to those later. I still like the game, despite it’s current state. Hopefully things will improve during the next few weeks.
Now let’s talk about the game itself, not just the flaws. You start out as one out of a dozen or so playable factions. Unlike Rome 1 where you could play any faction destroyed in a previous game, you’re stuck with a set number of factions like in Shogun 2. I don’t think this is a bad thing, even though I can see one reason for doing this is to be able to make DLCs in the future. Hopefully a bit more work is put into each faction for historical accuracy and campaign goals to make up for this. Each faction has a set of traits and a pretty distinct set of units. Depending on what faction (and for Rome and Cathage, family) you pick, you’ll get slightly different objectives. There also seem to be a lot more missions and “chapters” during the campaign to keep you going forward.
The graphics are nice, but not outstanding at the settings I’m currently using. I can’t run at the highest settings, and I’ve heard reports of some people having issues with the textures. I may add some comments on this a few patches down the line. The only real problem I’ve noticed is some flickering when zomed out during battles. If, in the future, I can run this on settings seen in the previews of the game, I expect to rewrite this part entirely.
The audio is pretty much what you can expect from a total war game. good music ( I think they are still using the same composer from Rome 1). and sound effects good overall. This time around it’s mostly English speakers doing voices. The pre battle speaches are gone, but if you listen during the early stages of the battle, there are still some short speaches going on.
Well, here is the part where I can’t make up my mind. The interface is way different from previous games and some will probably call it dumbed down, but I’m not sure about that. The UI on the campaign map feels simplified compared to previous installments, but I feel you still have access to the same information as before, it’s mjust more accessible once you get used to it. I however, wish they would have made some more work on the building and unit cards, to make them easier to distinguish from one another. What was wrong with using images of building instead of the icons they are using now?. This is also true for the battle interface. Some unit cards are difficult to distinguish from one another and could be made more distinct. Overall it feels like the controls are easier though.
ISo, how does the game play compared to earlier titles? To be honest, I’m not quite sure what I think yet. I like a lot about the campaign, and also about the battles, even though the battles feels a bit to fast. I’ve heard that this will be changed in an upcoming patch. The game has 1 year turns like the original Rome, something that some people won’t like. A nice feature in the campaign, that I really like is that you get some historical objectives. I could go on and on about good and bad things about the gameplay, but I won’t since this is a first impressions article.
I can’t conclude this right now. For now, If you have the game and can play it, enjoy. If you don’t have it yet. Wait for a few weeks and see what happens.