on February 9, 2006
Not only do you get the full game but also the expansion pack for a reasonable price. The replay value of both titles alone definately justifies the expense. I cannot recommend this game enough. Even after almost 2 years on the market I can still pick it up every couple months and march my Legions to conquest.
Below are my comments for each game.
ORIGINAL ROME: TOTAL WAR
This is the game I've always wanted to play. It has such a superb blend of strategy and real time action. Ever play a turn based strategy game and want to really watch your troops battle it out and control the formations and tactics? Now you can. Of course there will be something people don't like, but there are many mods out there to tweak it to your exact taste. The Total War community is healthy in that there is a significant population tweaking and modding the game to your particular flavor.
Let me just say also I am not a RTS fan. I do not like "whomever clicks the fastest wins" games. Each single soldier is represented on the battlefield. It's truly amazing watching your Legions march across arid deserts, snow covered mountains to engage the enemy and clash together right in front of your eyes. Each battle is like a scene out of Braveheart or, more appropriately, Gladiator.
No other game can capture the scope of an immense battle like Rome: Total War can. Especially the battles consisting of many units, it's like an epic battle from your favorite movie.
It is not purely the battles, it has a strategy element in it to where you will manage cities, build structures and conduct diplomacy.
Overall, even if you are not a fan of Strategy or RTS games you will find this to your liking. There is so many good things about this game, it would fill many pages writing about all the pluses and things the developers did right here. A definate must have for any gamer.
The Total War community has given a lot of feedback to the developers on the improvements they would like to see. I'd say pretty much all of the biggies were addressed and added in Barbarian Invasion. Rome: Total War is hands down one of my all-time favorites and a game I can still pickup and play again and again.
There is a lot of upgraded features you would expect from an expansion...little better graphics, upgraded units and increased functionality. The upgrades to the AI are the most noticeable, in my opinion.
The Total War community waited over a year for this to be released and it is readily apparent the developers spent this time to deliver an outstanding expansion. The price tag is definately worth it as well. The time period for the expansion is set in the declining years of the Roman Empire so basically you are getting a whole new game with this expansion.
The new game element rearranges the map to take into account what has happened historically in the last three hundred years. The Roman Empire is split between west and east and all the old factions from Rome:Total War have been assimilated into the Roman Empire. An interesting historical note when the game begins for the Eastern Roman Empire is the Faction Leader Valens. His defeat against the Goths was considered a milestone in the decline of the Roman Empire (for both halves). Not only was his army defeated, but the Emperor Valens was also killed. Oh and the Goths will come for you...Oh yes, they will come.
The Parthians have been surplanted by the Sassanid Empire in the east, but essentially all the old factions have become roman provinces. Basically, it's the barbarian factions battling it out for the choice pieces of real estate.
The new expansion is noticeably harder depending on which faction you play. The Western Roman Empire is by far the most difficult which took a great deal of time to beat. Why is it so difficult? Barbarian factions with a few exceptions don't die when you take their last city - they become a Horde. This is challenging in that you can't just move through and conquer cities to annihilate the Huns, Vandals, Sarmatians,etc. You need to not only conquer all their cities but kill every single family member in order to wipe the faction from the map or they will just keep spawning as new Hordes. You must fight them out in the open which pits you against their horse archers. As you play you will find different strategies on dealing with them, but needless to say it's very fun and challenging. My personal method is the very liberal use of assassins and fortifying cities while I pick apart their horde until I get their family members eliminated.
Bottomline - 5 out of 5 and highly recommended no matter what game genre you typically lean towards. You won't regret it.
on May 11, 2006
While I am personally more fond of Rome's predecessor, Medieval: Total War, the latest in the Total War series is nothing short of excellent. Much has been improved on, especially the real-time combat and gameplay mechanics. The meek AI, underdeveloped naval combat, and drab visuals that marred Medieval have been done away with for the latest installation.
One of the greatest strengths of the series has always been its ability to capture the truly epic feel of worldwide warfare, regardless of whether you are looking over the whole of Europe or watching rank-and-file armies advancing upon each other. This is especially true with the new 3D combat engine, which is vastly superior to Medieval's. The units are all fully modeled and animated, and the camera is much more maneuverable, allowing you to get up close. This isn't very handy from a command standpoint, but it really makes the battles come alive. Battles in cities and forts are also much more fun, since they are more balanced and take place in full-sized replicas of the cities you see on the world map, down to the individual buildings you or your opponent have constructed.
The mechanics of the strategy portion of the game are different. Instead of treating each provence as a whole entity, with units being able to move between them once per turn, units move relative to the physical distance they must cross on the map, with cities being the points of interest you must find. While this adds more strategy and realism to the game (since it will obviously take longer for an army to cross an African desert than the Italian peninsula), this makes the game move much more slowly and, I feel, detracts from the excitement and fun. Fortunately, the game compensates for this and does not require conquering the entire map to win; under the new rules of the game it would take a very, very long time.
The expasion, while not lacking in content, is slightly on the boring side. I believe my opinion may be slightly tainted since I am not as fond of the play styles inherent in choosing tribal factions which compose virtually all the playable ones in Barbarian Invasion. Still, after playing several full games of Rome, I found that the expansion did not offer enough new material to hold my interest for very long. Besides, there is plenty of fun to be had without the expansion, due to the wider range of factions and units.
Fans of the series will not be disappointed, which seems to be a rarity these days. Newcomers should be prepared for a challenge, but the game does a good job of breaking people in and letting them enjoy the game from start to finish.
on April 25, 2007
I'm not what would be called an intensive gamer. I buy maybe 2 games a year. This is the most addictive game I've played since the original Pirates came out for the Commodore 64 home computer. I would play that game for literally 6 hours or more at one sitting. This is just as bad. I'm 37 now and not 14 like I was then too, but I'm having flashbacks LOL! It helps that I'm absolutely fascinated with the late republic/early imperial period of the Roman empire. I've played the historical campaign of the original through twice. Haven't even touched Barbarian Invasion yet, except to watch the intro. Has the "4X" feel of a Civilization style game, but without all the micromanagement. New buildings provide benefits to population control, revenue, and combat units. Pretty basic. Where the game shines is in the tactical battles. You can literally zoom in on an individual soldier.
My only criticisms are that there aren't enough historical battles in my opinion, and that when creating a custom battle you can't choose the "rebel" faction. Also in the custom battles, the various Roman factions don't have access to all Roman units. I wanted to create a "Spartacus" style battle. I couldn't use "rebels", so I choose two Roman factions. Each Roman faction has access to one style of Gladiator, not all three. I wanted to make an army of the gladiator types, but I couldn't.
If you are interested in the historical background of the era covered in the game you might like Rome - The Complete First Season and Warfare in the Classical World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons, Warriors and Warfare in the Ancient Civilisations of Greece and Rome
on August 28, 2007
I actually purchased Civilization IV about a week ago, because I heard all kinds of hype about how awesome that game is. I was completely disappointed. I got bored of that game very quickly. I felt like I was a city planner or something, not an empire builder....
Then I decided I would give this game a try...wow what a difference. Ironically, this game is very similiar to Civilization IV, but with one HUGE difference, as well as several other improvements. I would have to say that in a way RTW is the same game as Civilization IV, but the FUN version, MUCH MORE FUN.
The HUGE difference I am talking about specifically is the EPIC HUGE BATTLES that you have in RTW. By comparison ---in Civ 4 --- the combat system is basically like moving chess pieces on a board, and the computer tells you if you won the battle. Interestingly, in RTW you also move "chess pieces" around on a board, but lookout --- as soon as you move your army chess piece onto a square with another army ---you go to battle mode: and this is the best part of RTW. Playing the RTW prologue (which is basically the tutorial campaign) I was really impressed with the large battles with over 200-300 units on each side. I had no idea though that this was just a scaled down version of the main campaign where you typically have armies of 1000-2000 units. Yes that is right, when you battle the more powerful enemies you will have battles with 1000-2000 on each side for a total of possibly up to 4000 units (but this could actually be much higher if you have a couple of large armies reinforce each other). Now the largest battle I have had yet has been about 1200 vs 1500, but that is because I have my armies spread out over a dozen different cities / areas. In total, I probably control about 15,000+ military units right now, and my empire is still in it's early stages. I don't even have the game settings for the largest possible amount of units, yes you can change this option in the options menu if your pc is powerful enough to handle the EXTRA large battles.
To make things even more fun --- you also can siege a city or be sieged --- complete with fortified walls, siege weapons, onagers, scorpions, ballistas, archers shooting through the port holes in the walls, having ladders that your infantry climb up to battle on the ramparts --- just think of Lord of the Rings where they have the battle at the keep, you know when Aragorn, the erm horse guys, and the elves are outnumbered and they have to defend until Gandalf arrives...the battles are kind of like that, but ok, the graphics / special effects aren't as fantastic :) Now yes the graphics are fairly basic --- but given the choice between best graphics and small battles and simple graphics and HUGE HUGE battles, I think most people would agree the later is more fun. I mean come on, we have all played the RTS games of the past where you thought you were a bad mofo with 300 units...well now just imagine 3000 units.
the other thing that I like about RTW vs Civ4 is the city management is much more user-friendly and understandable, and yet still complex enough that you have to pay close attention to it because it can literally win or lose the game for you. So this game is not just pump out as many units as you can and destroy everything in your path---but you also have to be careful about managing your cities right or you could go broke. I actually failed the prologue campaign (which in itself is quite long) because I didn't manage my economy well enough and I eventually went bankrupt and couldn't afford to replenish my armies.
My current game is going pretty well though I have been the dominant faction for most of the game and I just recently invaded and took 3 egyptian cities! FUN!
The only bad thing I could say about RTW is that it is very addicting....I haven't been able to stop playing it since I started....
I haven't even installed the expansion yet....
and there are several expansions for this title....
and there are several mods....
I haven't tried multiplayer yet, but I don't feel any need, the single player so far is very entertaining.
on December 27, 2007
I really enjoyed Medieval Total War and love the period of classical Roman history so this game seemed like a perfect fit. And it does deserve much of the praise it gets on this forum. For some background, I haven't even played the expansion because the original is so good (and seeing the Roman empire fall and helping barbarians rise to inaugurate the Dark Ages seems like I'm doing an historical disservice!).
What I have to remark on first is the incredible look of the cities. I am telling you the truth, you will hardly be able to tell that you are not looking at the actual ancient city (assuming you have a good quality system). Most other games will show the cities as small with a couple representative structures and that's about it. This game has huge cities with long winding roads, tall imposing structures (that realistically can block arrows and catapult shots), huge imposing walls, and vast blocks of insulae (apartment buildings) that I think would be about right for the historical number of inhabitants in these ancient cities. On a sidenote, in the strategic gameplay, the population of cities is grossly understated, but at least the city appearances are realistic.
The terrains are also very detailed and appear quite realistic. It literally feels like you're stepping on another continent when you engage hostile forces in Africa or the other locales.
The number of forces and the strategic complexity of the battles is also second to none. You position your forces for battle and see the opposing chariots or archers or whatever rushing at you and you feel like you're watching a History Channel documentary. The sheer size of armies, even on the reduced setting most people will probably use, also adds to the sense of realism.
Conquering and defending cities is also quite enjoyable, as you can use the gigantic nature of the city to run anywhere in it you choose and can make choke points about anywhere (preferably at the walls). You have to be careful when attacking, inching forward gradually so you don't expose an isolated unit to the combined forces of the enemy, and being sure to protect your flanks.
There are a few small complaints I have.
I wish the soldier actions were more realistic and varied. You can see them not actually making contact with their swords when they get close in battle. And most of the forces look like they're at a Teamster meeting, standing around in lines waiting for the soldier in front of them to die so they can start halfheartedly hacking away at the enemy. However with the number of soldiers involved I can understand why this would need to be limited.
The automated city defenses also are a little lame, especially for smaller sized cities.
The AI is pretty stupid as well so you're not likely to get much of a challenge out of playing the Roman factions. But you can unlock the others by beating a Roman faction campaign (or getting the hack from the Internet).
When elephants run amok they seem to be a little too random and a little too low in energy.
There seems to be a negligible benefit from building more advanced Roman swordsmen after the legionary cohort (in fact with the hugely increased maintenance costs it really makes more sense to build only legionary cohorts). Historically the power of the legion rested with the fluid 3 tiered hastati-principe-triarii formation, and it would have been nice to see that in this game, rather than swordsmen simply hacking away until death for all units of all technologies.
In spite of these deficiencies, I definitely would recommend this game to any strategy and/or history game afficionado.
on April 6, 2008
This review speaks to both Rome and Barbarian Invasion. There are some differences, but the gameplay is essentially the same.
I'm a long time fan of strategy war games going all the way back to the first Strategic Conquest game by Delta Tao. I love every flavor of Civilization, from Sid Meier's to Stardock, and games like Stronghold. So, I was looking forward to playing Rome because I thought it had elements of all of those classics. And it does. You have to build and maintain cities, raise armies and duke it out on the battlefield.
But it just didn't grab me. Not in the way those other games did. For one thing, I never could figure out what made one city a happy cash cow and another city a money pit full of pissed off plebes. It seemed to have more to do with population than with infrastructure or tax rates (certain buildings give moral bonuses; higher tax rates make people unhappy). It just seemed kind of random. The only way to conquer a city and not have a riot on your hands for ten terms seemed to be to enslave the population or exterminate them. Me, I don't even like to step on a Sim Ant when I can avoid it.
I played Rome: Total War through one time as the Romans and Barbarian Invasion through three times; once as the Saxons, once as the Romans and once as the Horde...actually I never finished the Horde game. I was just over it by that point.
So, as with most games, it's going depend on what the player enjoys and the sort of game they like to play as to whether or not Rome is for you. By this point, the game is old enough where you can find it fairly cheap on E-bay or Amazon, so it's worth checking out. I think part of my problem was reading all these rave reviews, I had big expectations that weren't quite satisfied. Hope you get more out of it.
on March 8, 2007
This game really is the ultimate world domination game, i have rarely seen anything that can compete with it. Its faults are few, but one of the most irritating things to me is when you send units to attack fleeing enemies, they automatically run behind the enemy and chase them off instead of taking the shortest path possible to cut them off and annihilate them. Diplomacy is also stupid. Otherwise, the graphics, the gameplay, the battles, the units, the multiplayer and custom game modes, and everything else is awesome.
on March 28, 2011
My son, age 10, loves to play medieval battle simulation games. He enjoys all of the Stronghold series, Settlers series, Age of Empires and so forth. So when he came home from school one day commenting about Rome: Total War and how he could command thousands of troops - very different from the other games that only allow hundreds :) - I told him that he had to wait for his birthday or do chores around the house to earn the money to buy it. Well, he searched for it on Amazon and found it for download at $3.99! WOW, what a bargain. So, we bought it and he cleaned up his room and the livingroom.
I was a bit concerned about the PC configuration since he doesn't have a dedicated video card, but the game worked just fine. Also, we had no problems at all with the installation, unlike some reviews that I read on the internet. Within 10 minutes he was up and playing. Here's his computer's configuration:
- Windows XP Home SP3
- Pentium IV 2.8Ghz
- 1.5GB of RAM
- 160GB HD
- Onboard video: VIA Chrome9 HC IGP Family
- Onboard audio
- Onboard LAN
Hope you enjoy!
If you enjoy the idea of building an empire and micromanaging (if you so desire) all the cities in your empire this is the game for you. I bought it on the heels of Medieval Total War II and in a lot of ways I like the Rome game better. I seemed to have less trouble picking up the play of this game (though it may be that my experience with Med Total War II helped out). If you buy it I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and thanks for taking the time to read my review.
on February 10, 2007
This game is pretty good I guess. I enjoyed it but if you are planning to buy it keep the following in mind.
1. Be prepared to put a lot of time into this game
2. This game requires a lot of micro management (building up towns, maintaining diplomatic relations, improving trade and production)
3. If you are looking for an action game, try a different one. The battles are outstanding and there is an option to play "Historical Battles" (like a quick action function) but the main focus of the game is to create an Empire and the battle aspect seems to be only a fraction of the entire gameplay.
Very well put together. I highly recommend it.