I used to love AOE, and then on a whim I tried this after playing AOE III for a long while. This series requires a lot more strategy, and I personally find a role playing aspect with the generals, and the family tree. The graphics are no longer great as they used to be, but the level of detail is still impressive. I remember when i first played this game, and zoomed in on the action. I couldn't believe that I could watch every single death in the battle. This is, in my opinion, the best of the Total War series, and if you enjoy RTS games, this is a must have. Unlike most of the other RTS games that are wildly popular, StarCraft, AOE, WarCraft etc., this game doesn't rely on someone building an army up in 2 minutes, and attacking someone who is a little behind. Those games do not require the same level of strategy as this one does when it comes to the battles. The most memorable battle for me, and because of this i still play, was when i forgot about a tiny little army of 100 or so men on a tiny little island became under siege and since i was concentrating on taking over the european continent, i didn't have time to send any reinforcements and was forced to fight. At the time i had yet to lose a battle, but against a much larger force 800 or more men, i was able to win. I lured them to a bottle neck with my general, and closed them off. The only reason i won was because it was their general chasing mine, and when i closed the bottle neck i managed to kill their general, and after half their force was gone, they fled. It was the most heroic victory i have ever managed to win. This game is great, and will continue to be for many years.