9 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Veni Vidi Vici - if you have the time,
This review is from: Total War: Rome 2 - PC (DVD-ROM)
The latest entry into the Total War series looks to hit a homerun. The graphics are tremendously well done, the interface is enhanced while still utilizing the layout that we're familiar with - one nice update is that unit information is more readily available. I've only played thru the prequel, but so far everything from formation buttons to unit AI seem like an improvement.
One great difference from the original Rome TW is that you do not have to complete a successful campaign as Rome in order to unlock the playable factions. You can jump right in as a barbarian horde.
Well, as stated before I had only played thru the prequel. Now, having technically played about 14 hours of gametime, some unfortunate truths have come to light. I say technically because that 14 hours was probably more like 8-10 of actual gaming.
As the game progresses, more or the map exposed, more factions encountered, etc, the game becomes something of a bloated mess. I literally end my turn, walk away and go fold laundry or something. With luck, no decision moments have come along - like any one one of the 30+ factions asking for a non-aggression pact or trade agreement. Otherwise I answer it and go back to household chores.
The level of agression is also much lower than in previous games. It works in your favor since you have to have a general to recruit troops, which minimizes the amount of armies running around, and the garrison troops are actually respectable, but you can't recruit a few quality troops to keep an eye on things. You also can't recruit replacement troops to send to the front without recruiting a new general to deliver them or sending your current general back to get replacements. Unfortunately it makes the game uninteresting strategy wise. You dont need to commit troops to defense - nobody is likely to attack your big, profitable, practically unguarded city.
The upside: It's a beautifully rendered game to look at, managing construction by province is a plus, and the game reminds you if you've forgotten something at the end of the turn (no more missing technology research)
The downside: Battles seem like a free for all, Faction AI is unaggressive, provincial management overall is unclear - especially managing happiness, and you can only have one agent per army. One big peave is you can only research one technology at a time - I think one technology research slot per completely controlled province would be reasonable. That makes technology development slow and largely irrelevant.
Dealbreaker: Clicking the "end turn" button is great for household chores or reading your mail, but you quickly become disenfranchised with waiting several minutes between turns.
Overall there are some interesting elements of the game, I enjoy the content material, but the playability is a big step back from Shogun 2. I don't see how they can fix this game with a patch or additional content.