Total War: ROME II Review (Digital Steam version)

by

Total War: ROME 2 Box Art

Date Released: 3 September, 2013
Date Reviewed: 1 October, 2013
Players: 2-8
Length: 20 minutes
Replayability: None

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Introduction

SEGA’s Total War: ROME II has recently released for the Personal Computer (PC). Developed by The Creative Assembly (CA) in the UK, the game is set to be one of the biggest PC game releases from SEGA. Combing both real-time battles and sieges – both on land and on sea – and turned-based campaign strategy, the game offers the most grand and expansive Total War experience to date. Continue below to see how the game fared.

The Game

The game offers several modes of play, namely: Prologue, Campaign, and Battles. The latter two are online-enabled, both in co-op and versus.

Bring It On
[BRING IT ON!]

The Prologue serves as both a story mode and a tutorial, offering 3 separate story segments. After the game’s tragic introduction, you are thrown into a battle of Rome versus its southern Italian neighbours, in conflict over control of the peninsula. Unfortunately this is where the Prologue ‘ends’, at least for this player. Graphics are broken as soon as the in-game cutscene starts, with ugly and wrong models, broken collision detection, and terrible graphical presentation that is downright ugly. The first Rome: Total War game had better graphics. The game is terribly laggy with delayed controls, making it unplayable. Confusing design choices do not help either. Overall it is downright horrible and no sane person can complete it.

For positive mention, the voice acting, plot, and music seem good, at least in a cinematic sense, but these aspects cannot save a broken, ugly game. The only fun part of Total War: ROME 2 is the introduction cutscene, along with both the Hannibal trailer and the launch trailer on The Creative Assembly’s YouTube page. These latter two can be seen for free online.

The Campaign does not fare better than the Prologue. You get to pick several factions, with Carthage being improperly listed under Greek culture, and all of them are broken. All battles are flawed, but luckily they can be auto-decided. This just leaves a turn-based game similar to Sid Meier’s Civilization series. However, unlike Meier’s games, this game is confusing, in addition to feeling cumbersome with excess and pointless menus, and is filled with lag even with a decent PC that can run Total War: SHOGUN II just fine (which looks better, I should add). Even the graphics make it hard to see what exactly is happening. The building slots in settlements are also the worst the series has ever seen, being both confusing and lacking in detail, and even lacking in proper pictures of the buildings. Overall it is a boring, confusing, broken mess.

Battles on their own are just as broken and ugly as in the Prologue and the Campaign.

Pontus' Finest
[Pontus’ Finest]

Online play is pointless due to the game being wholly unplayable.

Downloadable Content

Three downloadable content (DLC) packs exist. The first enables the Pontus faction and is free. Pontus is a Greek state in Anatolia ruled by a Persian family. They seek to expand into former Greek colonies and into Greece itself, and suffer when dealing with other Persian royal families due to being seen as traitors ruling over an opposing civilisation’s culture and people. Bonuses are given when ruling over Greek populations. The second DLC pack is the Greek City-States Pack, which enables three Greek cities to play as (Athens, Sparta, and Epirus). Athens is commercial, Sparta warrior based, and Epirus agrarian. The third DLC pack is set to release soon and adds several Iranian nomadic factions to play as. These latter two packs are paid-for, with the Greek DLC being pre-order bonus in addition to being available separately.

Africans

[Angry African Guardsmen]

Conclusion

Overall Total War: ROME II is a terrible game in every respect that matters. As a film, it works fine, but as a game, it is broken. Refer to the cutscenes mentioned for an enjoyable time, but do not bother with the game. Supposedly it is set to be patched, but after 3 patches so far, the game is still wholly unplayable. Patch 3 actually made it worse. Maybe in the future more patches, DLC, and expansions can fix this mess, but do not get your hopes up. This game belongs in SEGA’s hall of shame along with Alf, Greendog, Bug!, Sonic Team’s Astro Boy (PS2), and Sonic The Hedgehog 2006. Bummer.

Total War: ROME 2 Conclusion
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Format(s): PC. originalreviews

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