66 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2013
EDIT: I originally gave the star 3-stars, then got progressively angrier as I wrote it, and lowered it to 2. I would've left it there, except I reached a point where the game kept crashing at the same spot over and over again, and was reminded of the multitude of bugs and problems this game suffers from, and thus lowered it to 1-star. Regardless of the fixes coming in the upcoming patches, it is completely unacceptable to release a game before it is ready, and to make excuses for shoddy business practices.
EDITEDIT: Patch 4 update 10/16/13 at bottom
It's been about a week, and I still don't feel I can fully put into words my complicated feelings about this game.
So much of it, for me, is a comparison with previous games. Rome Total War was one of the best of the franchise, only superseded by Medieval II Total War, which was essentially the exact same game, but with more features and better graphics.
The best I can say for Rome 2 is that it's better than Empire Total War and Napoleon Total War, though that's not really saying much.
As well, it took this game for me to realize that, aside from Medieval II, Total War Shogun 2 was the best of the "modern" Total War games, with a truly engaging campaign map that was short and well-defined (25 years or so over 200 turns in the main game, 10 years over 200 turns in Fall of the Samurai) giving you plenty of time to work with your family members and agents and overall policy for your clan. Battles were actually discernible and fun to watch, particularly as each individual unit seemed to be able to lock on to an enemy or two, with some groups getting into mini-duels with a single opponent, often to have one of their comrades step in and abruptly end it with a quick stab to the other duelist. There was enough of an RPG element and a balance in AI (to some degree) so that you could predict which clans would behave stupidly, and which would maintain strong alliances.
Rome 2 doesn't deviate too far from this setup, and is much more like Shogun 2 than the original Rome Total War. But something about it just doesn't work.
For one, there's the passage of time. Shogun 2 worked because there was plenty of time to do stuff in a year's time in-game, so you could decide the fate of your clan within a period of just a year or two, or even draw out a war of attrition into something that could span a decade. In Rome 2, each turn has 1 year pass. Combining this with the incredibly slow movement of units on the campaign map, and you have a situation less like the first game and more similar to Medieval II's campaign map, where a journey which should take months ends up taking almost a decade or more.
Medieval II was trying to cram 500 years of Medieval history into a 200 turn game, and compensated by having the game mechanics operate on a 2 turns per year system (much like RTW). This means that characters and agents aged at a rate of 6 months per turn, which could make it ridiculous to have a King reign for 200 years and only be 80 or so. But in Rome 2, characters age with the turns, so the vast majority of your generals, admirals, named characters, and agents, will be well into their middle ages by the time they're accomplished generals, even if they are fighting in frequent wars.
Nothing in the game allows for this 1 turn per year to be even remotely realistic, and given that such an emphasis is now placed on generals (ie, you NEED a general or an admiral in order to lead armies) you may as well not even bother polishing and grooming them into being your game's Caesar or Alexander or Alcibiades, because they'll die of old age by the time they've got a full army and plenty of battle experience.
This effect was somewhat similar in Rome Total War (2turns per year), yet there you had the versatility of a Family Tree---it wouldn't be wise to focus on a single character, but you could polish and groom him and his children, and establish a veritable dynasty of men that you craft to be master generals or master administrators or master politicians, even going so far as to pass down ancillaries (like tutors, mentors, pet dogs, family heirlooms, custom armor, sacred artifacts) from generation to generation, and feel a genuine sense of loss if that family member dies without passing on the ancillaries.
In Rome 2, there's absolutely none of that. No family tree, no valuable ancillaries you could risk losing, nothing particularly special other than the exact same trees of traits you can pick for characters that contribute virtually nothing to the character. Whereas in Rome Total War, a character could have a foul temper, and have it affect his influence, or a mental illness which affects his troops' morale, in Rome 2, there's only room for 3 traits that come entirely at random, followed by skills that add to things like "zeal", "authority", and which contribute little to nothing to the character at all, particularly since they die of old age so quickly.
The campaigns themselves are another disastrous mess...
One of my worries about modding the game (particularly to increase the number of turns per year) was the risk of too-fast growth and expansion. For example, Medieval II Total War was designed to be 2 years per turn, and so the growth of cities reflects the sort of gradual growth that would span centuries, even if named characters live much longer than humanly possible. No matter how fast you grew or conquered, you were unlikely to trigger such events as the discovery of Gunpowder or the recruiting of Plate-armored Knights by the 1100s, whereas if you decreased the years in each turn, you could see your nation conquer half of Europe with musketmen and cannons, and an expedition heading to America by 1200 AD.
Even in Rome Total War, whereas in real history, Rome expanded in fits and spurts, rapidly expanding during certain war periods, and remaining steady and consolidating their gains over decades, so that the breakdown of the Republic occurred by the 80s BC, in-game, you could easily consolidate your gains, and spark an End-Game situation as early as the 190s BC, and see Rome dominating everything west of Greece by 140s BC, facing off against the Seleucids or Egypt or Parthia dominating everything east of Greece.
Despite this, it appears my fears are somewhat unfounded in this game, not just due to the poor pacing and slow movement of everything, but due to two factors; AI passivity and the horrendous new Province/Settlement system.
The game AI is no better or worse than average for Total War, except that in the campaign map, everyone seems so idle and passive. More than 100 turns into the game, no one has ever declared war on me out of the blue, and of the dozen or so factions that have been wiped out, more than half of them were wiped out by me and my expansion. I feel that I could easily set this to last 500 turns, 4 turns per year, and little would change over the scope of the campaign without my interference.
This doesn't bother me -too- much, but this is a Total War game, not a Civilization game. This is a problem of trying to fit so much history into a single campaign. I feel that Medieval Total War did it best, by having three separate campaigns divided by era----early, high, and late. Even Shogun 2 did it, albeit with DLC and expansion packs, between Rise of the Samurai in the 1170s AD, Sengoku Jidai in 1575-1600, and Fall of the Samurai in 1867-1877 AD.
I feel like if the game had divided into three different eras of Roman history, they could have contained as much as they wanted to in scope, while making the game much more of an aggressive "Total War" type game.
As for the Settlement/Province system...
Rome and Medieval II Total War let you build any type of building in any type of settlement, restricted only by population growth and city expansion---you couldn't build huge barracks and mansions in a village of 400 people, but if it grew to 25,000 you could.
By Empire and Napoleon Total War, settlements were reduced to a pre-determined size, with only 5-6 building slots, requiring you to diversify your regions, so one settlement would specialize in infantry, another in cavalry, another in artillery, another in farming, etcetera. This continued into Shogun 2, with the added bonus of bringing back city expansion, opening up more slots for you to add to your settlements.
Rome 2 has the same thing, but has reduced it down to a sharp scale, to where most settlements will only be able to have 3 buildings, with other settlements able to expand to add another building slot with enough population growth, but there's no clear reason as to why some settlements can grow, and others mysteriously can't.
The map is divided into "Provinces" which consist of 2-5 individual settlements, all connected to one another based solely upon the arbitrary delineation of the game creators. Whereas Athens and Sparta were so fundamentally different that they spoke different dialects of Greek almost unrecognizable to one another, they are lumped together into the province of Hellas for the sole convenience of distance, with the island of Crete added along because the game creators said so.
What this means is that each settlement in the province is linked together. Whereas in previous games, unhappiness and squalor varied depending on individual cities, as is basic common sense, now it is distributed amongst the settlements, so if one settlement is rich and luxurious, and its neighbor is a slum-ridden wasteland, people will riot in the rich and luxurious settlement, because the game creators said so.
Speaking of unhappiness and squalor...
I really don't even need to say much, but for the sake of a review, I will. Perhaps the primary cause of the aforementioned timid and passive AI is the ridiculous heaps of squalor from improving virtually every building.
Much of this system seems to borrow heavily from Civilization 5, which as I mentioned in my review of it, actually PUNISHES and PENALIZES you for EXPANDING and GROWING your empire. It rewards stagnation and not building anything more than necessary to live.
Similarly here, all the basic buildings enable basic services (Farms produce food, field camps produce militia troops, consecrated sites provide order bonuses and culture spread, ports provide basic ships and trade), but the more you upgrade them, the more they penalize you in terms of squalor or food.
EVERY food building (farm, animal herds, fishing ports) will produce tremendous squalor as higher levels. Squalor contributes DIRECTLY to unhappiness in this game, as opposed to being a percentage of unhappiness that would come together with all the other factors.
EVERY building that isn't food will consume large amounts of food to build, which in turn means you'll need more food buildings, or else you'll have starvation across provinces, which will lead to steep declines in happiness anyway.
So basically, you're PENALIZED for naturally growing and expanding. Not rushing through anything (you need to research higher and higher level technologies to unlock certain buildings), not cheating to add tons of gold to build the higher level buildings quickly, not doing anything to exploit the in-game system; you are PENALIZED for ACTUALLY PLAYING THE GAME.
This causes madcap situations like having your lush, well-fed, barely-taxed home region fall into anarchy and rebellion while a region you are freshly conquering is happy and joyous because you've just started building and you've got your full armies stationed there.
Playing as Athens, I had secured all of Greece and Macedonia, made the lunge into Sicily and Italy, and was pacifying northern Italy, wiping out Rome, when suddenly I get the word that Hellas (Athens, Sparta, Hierapytna) was miserable, and public order was plummeting by the double digits. Squalor? Massive. Build up farming and markets? More squalor. Build up a fishing port, a trading port, or a naval port? More squalor. A barracks to train soldiers? More squalor. A brand new plumbing system to help clean up squalor? LESS FOOD. How the hell do stone aqueducts cost FOOD? They're made of STONE, not meat!
And there's no real explanation as to what actually affects public order in any real way. Whereas in previous games, you could see each individual settlement information, see how religion/culture penalties stacked up with unhappiness over high taxes, stacked up with squalor and/or boredom or unrest over having an army occupy them, and understand why the settlement is in turmoil, and MOST OF ALL, know exactly what to do to alleviate it.
For example, you could check a settlement to see that squalor was contributing to 80% of the unhappiness, and the tax burden contributing to 30% (leading to a -10% public order rate), you would know to build buildings that dealt with squalor to attack the big problem first.
In Rome 2, you're informed of the benefits and problems caused by taxes, culture, etcetera, even from high slave populations, but a whole other variable is left there as a general "Who the Hell Knows" in the form of "Provincial Instability"
What causes it? Who the hell knows. In the aforementioned situation, Hellas was built up, and well-fed, with taxes at their absolute lowest settings. Provincial Instability combined with the massive Squalor and plunged Hellas' public order down more and more every single turn, until it revolted and was quickly put down. From there, Provincial Instability briefly disappeared. Meanwhile, most of my armies were in Italy, and Italy was at full 100% public order, with NO provincial instability despite being recently conquered, and virtually identical to Hellas in terms of building diversity.
Again and again throughout the campaign, "Provincial Instability" strikes provinces entirely at random, with no explanation as to what is causing it. I can be completely at peace, with three client states under me, and plenty of food coming in, very low taxes, and coffers bursting with tens of thousands of talents of gold, and suddenly a region will stop growing due to low public order and eventually revolt unless I send one of my armies to boost the Military Presence score.
Speaking of military, the new system seems to go straight to Marian-era private armies, where generals recruit soldiers directly. You need them to be in a certain settlement with the right barracks or workshops to get the better quality units and weapons, but ultimately you can't train a small task force to just hang around without appointing a general to it, and you can't leave a full stack of versatile heavy infantry to defend a border town; garrisons are automatically deployed when attacked, and you need a general-led army in town to add to the defense.
The new Unit Cards are also horribly done. In every previous game up until Shogun 2, they used mini screenshots of the actual video game unit, as it appears on the field. In Shogun 2, they went for stylized drawings of the units, or stylized pictures resembling daguerreotype photographs for Fall of the Samurai.
The drawings here are so cheap and lazy, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between certain units. If it weren't for the names popping up when you hover over them, you'd barely even be able to tell the difference between Hastati and Principes, Hoplites and Pikemen and Thorax Pikemen, Javelinmen and Slingers (?!), and so on. At some point, you don't even bother recognizing the units by name or armor/weapons, but by broad shapes in the UIs---you know this is a ballista because it looks like a bow, you know this is a cavalry trooper because it has a horse-looking thing in it, you know this is a higher-level legionary because the helmet is shaped differently.
The UI as well is an utter mess that hides valuable information in slide-up tabs that appear when you click on settlements or armies, and which hides the Event Log in a decision I cannot even imagine making any sort of sense at all. You have to manually open the event log most of the time, only to find that it is unevenly spaced with the rest of the UI, causing it to take up a huge part of the screen.
Then there's agents. Much like Shogun 2, they charge money to do their jobs that you hire them for to begin with, and by and large they're mostly useless, meant either to assassinate one another or give minor bonuses to your own army.
The last major issue with the campaign is the factions system. I've only played as Athens thus far, so I can't speak for how well it works with divided nations like Rome and Carthage. Much like Rome Total War, you play as families (properly named now, House of Julia, Junia, Cornelia) which end up controlling the entirety of Rome, so there aren't multiple Roman factions on the map, which is good, I suppose, and better represents the coming civil war.
But what I don't understand for Athens at least is the whole point of having factions which are apparently hostile to one another, and to which I am actively a member of one, along with controlling the entire nation of Athens.
Basically, there are "Oligarchs" and "Magistrates". I didn't get to choose, I was automatically made a Magistrate. I had to suffer the Oligarchs trying to assassinate my own generals and family members, sometimes succeeding, and my having absolutely no control over their actions, save to try to do the same to them.
Except, like I said before, I CONTROL ALL OF ATHENS. Meaning I can appoint Oligarch faction members to the heads of armies. Even armies only 100 men strong. I can then send that tiny army straight into the Sahara desert and wait until they die of attrition, or the Numidians get sufficiently enraged by my trespassing that they attack and kill them. Literally nothing stops me from doing this because there is no repercussion, no benefit, no sense that this factionalism is even affecting my campaign at all beyond aggravating me by having experienced generals suddenly drop dead or get put out of action for 5 years, wounded from a botched assassination attempt.
Now, to the battles.
In true "vanilla" Total War style, they are fast, wild, and typically over quickly. Completely out of the norm for Total War style, units now don't even bother to stay in formation when fighting, opting instead to go Hollywood-style one-man-army Drunken Titus Pullo Breaking Rank And Forcing Lucius Vorenus To Have Him Whipped For Disobeying And Assaulting Him. The worst part is, the Hoplites actually have a Phalanx formation, and can move in phalanx formation. Though if I order them to run, they will immediately break Phalanx formation. So I try to keep them walking. They STILL break phalanx formation as soon as they reach the enemy line.
I've already seen the term "Blob" used to describe these battles in Rome 2, where units simply pile on to each other, with seeming disregard for physics, into massive balls. I haven't seen it happen frequently, though that may just be because enemy units tend to rout quickly, long before I can pile in enough troops to make a blob.
Literally no previous Total War game from Rome to Shogun 2 has been this bad in terms of unit spacing and formation. In all those games, units maintained formation as much as their discipline and training allowed, and if soldiers were standing side by side, filling a small area with their bodies, you could not cram in MORE soldiers to stand next to them like you can in this game.
Winding down with one of the major complaints, graphics. It looks pretty, though the decision on coloring seems to be odd, depending largely on lighting. Compared to Shogun 2, soldiers are in bright, bold colors, sometimes incongruent, looking like a line of ketchup and mustard bottles for a Roman line.
As well, the campaign map is massive, and apparently more detailed than Shogun 2. I only assume so because, while Shogun 2's campaign map runs smoothly on my high-powered computer all the time, Rome 2's campaign map is constantly refreshing textures when I move the map around. I can center in on Greece, move over to Italy, have Italy's textures appear flat and pixelated and quickly rebuff to their high quality settings, then scroll back to Greece and have its textures appear flat and pixelated as well, before rebuffing to high quality. Aside from this, everything runs smoothly and quickly.
Except for loading times.
Even basic, small-scale battles take twice as long to load up as battles did in Shogun 2, despite there being no noticeable difference in memory or graphical strain on my system, and the dreaded End Turn can take as long as 2 minutes, even early into the game. It makes it impossible to become immersed in the campaign gameplay, as each turn wastes away, with bogged down End Turn times forcing you to either watch the computer units meander about aimlessly, or find something to distract you until it's your turn again.
Another review of the game by Rowan Kaiser from ArsTechnica perfectly sums up this experience:
"In most grand strategy games, the motivation to play "just one more turn" is the most appealing part. In Total War: Rome II, "just one more turn" is a threat."
****PATCH 4 UPDATE****
I hadn't touched the game since October 6th, but boredom overcame, and so I looked to finish my grueling Athenian campaign, currently post-turn 300 because the victory conditions are obscenely long, and by which standards even the Roman Empire wouldn't reach (I currently control about as much land, if not more than Rome at its height, which consists of some 120 settlements, when I need 140 for victory. Alternately, I need 90 settlements and 20 trade agreements for an economic victory, but GOOD LUCK GETTING 20 TRADE PARTNERS THIS LATE IN THE GAME).
Basically, the only changes I've noticed are cosmetic. The biggest change from Patch 1 was that the End Turn time was sharply reduced, and loading times between battles or loading saves is similarly reduced. Some icons were fixed, or expanded upon to provide better information, and naval units now have symbols representing their upgraded hulls.
Despite the reportedly hundreds of changes made, my earlier statement (and the title of my Civ5 review) still rings true for this game---shiny new expansions and patches can't fix a rotten foundation.
- If there were ANY improvements to AI, I haven't seen them yet, or I may have to start up a whole new campaign, because the Campaign AI is essentially DOA---literally no faction declares war on me, the player, and they are ALWAYS begging for money in exchange for meaningless Non-Aggression Pacts (meaningless because they never declare war on me anyway), or trade agreements they break off turns later due to losing their trading port, or a general hissy fit. Similarly, they seem completely, blissfully ignorant of your or any other AI's movements.
It seemingly makes sense for the player character to not be able to see the entirety of the map right away (it would cause utter hell on End Turn times, as well), but a staple of the series has tended to be that AI would recognize when their borders were weak; it would build up armies or keep them close by to borders with other factions. This is given even MORE opportunity in Rome 2 by allowing you to walk through other nations' lands without having to declare war or seek military access, though by doing so you anger the nation and risk provoking conflict.
But since the AI never declares war on you, you're free to squat 6 armies on top of an enemy city and watch as they mewl and do nothing. They don't even bring up their own armies to try to passive-aggressively urge you to leave. As such, if you're planning to take over every settlement owned by a faction, you can freely move your armies into position to blitz them within 1 turn, and the AI won't do a thing to stop you, or even pretend to be concerned.
Yet by the same (lack of) logic, the AI will break off trade agreements with you if they feel you're getting too rich or too close to economic victory.
- Battle AI. I firmly believe that so long as those EFFing flags are there, the battle AI will remain fundamentally broken at the basest level. In prior games, siege battles had a "flag" in the form of a town square, but the AI was seemingly more focused upon actually fighting out a battle---their main force would besiege, attack your defending forces, then if they had backup or reinforcements on the other side of the settlement, would slip in from the rear and take the town square WHILE KEEPING your forces occupied.
Instead in this game, practically the exact opposite happens; the force deployed to attack your defense forces will SIT and WAIT for their "secret reserves" to slip in and snatch the town square, allowing you full momentum to bring virtually your entire army to smash that backup force, then sit and wait for 50 minutes as the enemy besiegers stand there and wait for the now-destroyed force to steal the victory for them. Most of the time, they will send a few siege engines to at least try to attack your forces, but if the first wave fails, they don't even bother trying again. And this is a NEW PROBLEM---enemies would ALWAYS attack in siege battles for as long as they had siege equipment! The battle would automatically end in victory for you if the enemy's siege towers and/or battering rams were set on fire and destroyed; it even encouraged the AI to build more ladders, since they could never be destroyed.
But since only settlement capitals have walls now, the vast majority of siege battles are essentially village defenses like in prior games where your settlement didn't even have a basic wooden palisade up. Here, the enemy AI is entirely fixated on that EFFing flag. Every single siege defense battle I have played, from day 1, to patch 4, has consisted of the enemy rushing ALL their troops forward against one of my lines, throwing ALL their infantry and cavalry into my units, IGNORING THEM, and trying to rush PAST them to get to my EFFing flag. This has caused victories which saw my garrison forces of less than 1000 win heroic victories against enemy forces 4 and 5 times larger, simply because the enemy ran into my spears, and kept trying to run, rather than bothering to stop and fight.
All these factors coming together, combined with the release-day bugs, the reportedly 40% larger (than any prior TW game) budget, and the breath-taking arrogance from the marketing side, makes this whole game, even now more than a month after release and 4 patches adding up to hundreds of megabytes of more data, an unmitigated failure of game play design.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2013
Alright, so i played original Rome Total War when i was still in 7th grade and loved it. I played Shogun 2 and it became my most favorite game of all times (i'put 722 hours into it). So needless to say i was very excited about Rome 2; i even pre-ordered it, which i never do. So long story short, with high expectations and hopes that i had for this game, it failed. I played as Roman fraction and pretty much conquered the whole map, so i think i can now give a fair preview of the game.
1) I hated the fact that they got rid of family tree! Com'on that was one of the best features of the game. In a way it used to create a personal relationship with my generals, choose heirs, faction leaders, give elite armies to the best and send bad apples to their doom. Now you can't do that, i was very upset about that. On top of that, Generals in Rome 2 die very fast so i couldn't even get a chance to remember who is who and which general leads which legion or fleet. In Shogun 2 my generals lived pretty much the whole game,sometimes even original faction leader even made it from day one till victory. In Rome 2 they come and go and they seem to be expandable since there is always a never-ending pool of new candidates waiting to take their place. Also generals don't give before-battle speeches, which i always looked forward to.
2) In previous Total War games it was all about epic battles of thousand of warriors with glorious and bloody fights to the death and mountains of corpses on battlefields. Rome 2 is not the case, I give 0/5 stars to this aspect of the game. First of all, the actual battle, the graphics, fighting styles of soldiers is a HUGE downgrade and a step backwards from Shogun 2. Though soldiers look apart and not like clones, they fight like clones and the enemy routs almost right away. Ok here is an example (i play on medium difficulty). I fought for the enemy town last night with about 2.5k strong army (regular army, not my elite units army) vs 6.5k strong barbarian force. I win, killing 5.5k of them in the process because they routed almost as fast as my eagle cohorts approached them, losing only 57 soldiers in the process. C'mon! Fight lasts about 5 mins, with enemy constantly routing almost right away,while i barely loose any soldiers in the process. The ONLY time i felt challenged and began to worry about my legions is when i reached Imperial level and senate has started a civil war with me, creating 6 rebel roman legions against me. Civil war was a fair fight, when i started to lose soldiers by thousands and had to relocate all my elite legions to wipe out the rebellion. After that it was a steam roll all over a gain. I am sure if Persians will send a 20k strong army against my 2.5k V Augusta legion (2.5k strong) i will wipe them out. Rome 2 combat aspect of them game is not even in the competition with Shogun 2 epic battles. Also you have to lock down your formations, and if you do your soldiers act retarded. They get stuck in the town or they attack the wrong unit if you tell them too. So you have to unlock formation, which makes my legions look like a giant blob of unorganized, undisciplined peasants that fight in the street brawl.
3) Technology tree is ok, simplified, but takes longer to get to the cream of the crop. And by the way it's really hard to research war technology to get the best units of the faction, because first, you need to research civil technology to reduce squalor, corruption, unhappiness and all that crap. Because if you don't, you will have a full blown peasant rebellion across the empire. So i have a feeling that designers of the game switched purpose of the game from combat to administrative work. Trust me, i almost finished the game and i am still not 100% sure how to keep my people happy. The balance of happiness is very complicated in the game. First of all, if you improve your buildings, lets say barracks to legionary barracks so you can finally get your hands on Praetorian Guard, you will increase your unhappiness from -4 to -12, that's a big jump and people start to get unhappy. So i upgrade my shrines to gods to get the order back. Now i have shortage of food, people get even angrier, so upgrade my farms. Now they are unhappy because upgrade of farms increases squalor from -4 to - 12. Now imagine this going on across every province across the empire. I can upgrade every town and village from level 3 to 4 but i cant, because unhappiness to whatever will be -300% and all my provinces will be engulfed in peasant rebellions. I can't upgrade all my farms from level 3 to 4 due to squalor but i need food for high end buildings etc, etc. It's very tough to find a balance within the game, so every turn i have to tweak things here and there, province by province to find the balance. I spend 75% time in game trying to find the balance of happiness, food and money; with only 25% in sucky combat aspect of the game.
4)AI is absolutely retarded. Like i said before, it routs almost right away even on harder difficulties; though Roman faction seems to be OP at the moment. Instead of creating large armies actually worth fighting, AI creates a bunch of 1-4 unit formations and tries to suicide attack your cities (same for fleets). Speaking of fleets, they seem to be pretty useless because in order to transport your army across the sea you don't need a navy. All you have to do is move them to water and all of the sudden a magic transport fleet appears out of nowhere that can successfully act as a navy force. Also i would like to add to retarded AI. It does a lot of stupid things, like it's armies get stuck around the structures, invasion force from the see gets on shore and not doing anything, and my personal favorite - enemy force runs around the main gate for 40 minutes during siege. Worst AI i've seen so far.
5)Politics feature is broken. I just finished the game and still have absolutely no clue how it works and what it's for. It gave me a couple of events to make a decision on while my faction was still a republic but that's about it. After faction turned into Empire i stopped paying attention to political menu all together because it was dead. If my emperor died of age, another general from Julius family magically popped up from the sky and took his place. But yeah, that's about it. Rome Total War politic system for Rome was much,much better.
6)I have a very powerful machine with NVIDIA 680 GTX graphics card and i have pretty bad game play experience with the game. I play on medium ( Very Good graphics in-game options) and though most of the time the play-ability is ok, i still see graphic failures and low FPS across the game. CA promised to work it out, but i think they should have fixed all this crap before they released the game.
8) Almost forgot, no more in-game cinematics to make the game more lively and eventful. I always loved those, like ninja trying to kill his target and stuff like that. Just plain old rinse and repeat.
7)There were couple of things that i liked in this game. One is new legion and fleet system. Every time you create an army or fleet,it gets a name and a number, for example "Legion I Itallica", "Legion II Augusta" and same with fleets. Your legions and fleets gain experience and you can chose new traditions as they progress. If your legion is destroyed in combat, it's gone forever. So i have more fussy feelings towards my veteran legions rather them coming and going generals that lead them into battle. Second is province system. Now instead of having hundreds of separate cities to conquer you have provinces. It's 2-5 settlement strong living area with a capital within it. So province is like a city, all settlements share the same good and bad effects (like squalor and stuff like that). So instead of baby sitting city by city, you can manage 3 - 5 towns all at once balancing out different structures for whatever you need at the moment. Diplomacy is improved a little, when in Shogun 2 enemy just refused to accept defeat, Rome 2 enemies are more reasonable, though not always very reasonable. Still, it's an improvement. But other then that, i can't think of anything else.
This game feels more like beta test rather then game ready for a release. Hopefully CA will patch it up with time, but i ain't gonna play it again for a while; i'd rather play Shogun 2 instead. So, to sum it all up, the game is ok and i somewhat enjoyed it, but i see it as a failure. Game designers striped the game of most fun and popular features, and replaced it with something that is not even in competition with previous Total War Games that i've played. It might improve with new patches, but for now i am quite disappointed. If you want more detailed review of the game, Angry Joe got it all nailed down on YouTube (Total War: Rome II Angry Review).