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Rome 2 total war thunders onto the battlefield like past predecessors: with same issues.
on September 4, 2013
I am writing this review based on the sept. 3rd 2013 release build. I spent approximately 10 hours within the game on the release day, playing a long roman campaign on hard difficulty. I wish to share my experience and my concerns and point of note. I have played all past total war titles back to shogun 1. My computer is I7 3770k, 770gtx sc, 32gb ram, and a agility 2 ssd. Below I share what I perceive are the pros and cons of this series. I will also update the review in a few months time as patches and tweaks are released. You can skip to the conclusion at the bottom if you find this to lengthy.
- returns to the roman era, featuring many more factions, hundreds of different units, and a massive world rivaling empire total war global scale.
- new reworked agents that offer more intrigue with new actions. New Army stances that allow expedited movement, fortify a spot with new barricades and traps or create Ambush scenarios.
- detailed and intricate melee with the best motion capture in a total war to date.
- diplomacy is improved. client states absorbed can be given war targets and will help putting down slave rebellions. AI is active in seeking non aggression pacts and expanding trade.
- campaign map is lovely. I actually did not experience any bugs related to the world map such as movement. Good.
- the big war-elephant in the room is the speed of battles. Battles are over often in under 5 minutes. This is a complicated balance issue but it seems to include weak morale, movement of AI making decisions, and some deliberate designs by creative assembly. Battles instead of being somewhere to savor the fine tactical nature are instead two rushed blobs colliding. Very rarely can you flex your general know how as one side routes before you can respond. Battles are resolved faster then even shogun 2, which were already the most decisive in the series. This is a very bad thing.
- end of turn length gets minute+ long late game. Turning off show ai moves helps but you still get to twiddle your thumbs as 100 faction emblems cycle through.
- performance on systems, as to be expected day 1, was not the best. Massive fps drop in larger battles with units. This game was supposed to be gorgeous but looks rather plain and performs ho hum on my higher end system. A visit to official forums will see a torrent of people experiencing poor performance. Even supporters of the franchise are expressing performance concerns.
- i do not like the new general abilities. I feel like they break alot of the unit on unit interactions. Nearly every unit as well has an ability or more then one. So we are talking multiple activate-able abilities from each unit card and the general plus moving armies. This leads to higher micro management and looking for buttons to press then watching the battle unfold. Some abilities imo should effect an area instead of 1 unit which is weird and some things are spammy like warcry which wrecks and enemies morale.
- ai not advanced enough compared to past titles. Again it does stupid actions like running units up hill across entire map. It does not wait for ai reinforcement, does not maintain army cohesions. Runs around in baffling fashion. Unit cohesions turn into messy blobs... Just disappointing overall.
- day 1 bugs present. Worst i encountered was losing the ability to scroll on the world map permanently in mid game. I also suffered 1 turn hanging and requiring reloading past save. Also had a crash. Better then empire total war, not much though.
- no blood in the game. Likely a blood dlc planned, but imo without it makes the game look very plain compared to shogun 2.
- some quirks with units like centurions only chucking spears on a charge. They should be chucking spears as soon as enemy approach not waiting for player command. Lots of tiny things like this And i only have played roman faction.
Rome 2 is the biggest and most complicated total war to date. There are many nice improvements and advancements added to the game for those veteran graybeards of the Total War series. I wanted more total war with refinement and a evolutionary step up the ladder of war gaming. However some design choices seem to have harmed the battle side of the game. Also, day 1 issues again plague a release with graphical performance and balance.
For fans, this is not our first rodeo of a total war release. Over the coming weeks and months CA has the task of patching and balance fixes. This is not a easy process and will take a lot of time. If you bought any total war game post release you likely played a feature complete and optimized game. As a potential customer evaluating this new product, expect to be patient as these revisions are made and polish continued with new dlc.
Rome 2 sets a good foundation promising epic scope and glories yet to come. I would however not suggest this title, in its current state, to anyone new to the series. I would expect people to be put off by some of the complexity of the campaign map along with current battle mechanics. Fans likely already purchased and know what they have gotten themselves into. It is now up to creative assembly to address the many problems inherent in the game and encountered in community.
I will update my review in a few months time as I did for Empire total war.