Overall - 85%
I'll make this as simple as possible: If you like the idea of controlling a Roman Legion and conquering in the name of Rome, you will like Expeditions: Rome. If that doesn't sound like fun, then this game won't be for you.
Expeditions: Rome marks the third game in Logic Artists and THQ Nordic’s Expeditions series. Was ancient Rome the right choice, or should they have chosen a different area? Check out our review and find out.
Expeditions: Rome Review
Expeditions: Rome starts with you making a character before tossing you onto a boat fleeing Rome. Your father has recently died, and foul play is suspected of leaving you in a dangerous spot, so your mother sends you out of Rome so your father’s enemies won’t also kill you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for you to find out how dangerous the world is as pirates ambush your ship. Finally, after you mop up the baddies, you arrive at the Legion camp in Asia Minor, where the game really begins.
You and your team of allies are assigned as a sort of special forces team. You go in behind enemy lines and destroy ships, supplies, or anything else your orders demand. Through this, you prove your leadership and combat abilities quickly. After an entirely predictable ambush, the former Legatus of the Legion is injured, leaving an opening to command a legion. You go from potentially being killed in Rome to controlling a Legion in only a matter of in-game hours. How the Legion performs now falls to you.
While your Legion rests up at camp, you and your team move around the map, looking for enemy camps to take out. Some missions require finesse and stealth, while others require brute force. When you find an enemy camp, you can send your Legion to claim it. They have to win in battle, which is where you come in. There are critical moments in the fight where you need to decide the Legion’s next move. You personally don’t participate, but the results are entirely up to you. You get three options and have to pick from there.
Each choice can potentially get one of your generals killed, force you to lose more units, or cost you morale. Bad morale means troops might desert, which clearly isn’t good. I was playing on normal, and it became much easier after the first few battles. The Legion starts off rough; half the units are hurt or missing, there’s no true leaders, and terrible morale abounds. By the time I left Asia Minor, my Legion was unstoppable. I had upgraded my tactics to include artillery, added new cavalry charges, and ultimately replaced all the generals leading the battles. Right as I took Asia Minor for the glory of Rome, the senate recalled me home and my Legion disbanded.
Politics in Rome is another part of the game. Your Legion gets to rest while you enjoy the city of Rome to an extent. Your enemies are still prevalent, but no one would dare kill you in broad daylight with your victory. The big decision before entering Rome is whether or not you will disarm. When you reach The Rubicon, you have a choice to make à la Caesar. Do you disband and disarm, or do you march into Rome as the victorious Legate you are? The choice is yours, but know there are many campaigns to go when you get to Rome for the first time.
While your Legion is easy to control, fighting with your allies in direct combat is a tad different. It’s a top-down tactical style where you go in turns. Your team goes first, then the enemy goes, and so on. You have a certain amount of Action Points, and you can use those to move and use abilities. If you run out, the character is stuck unless they have a tactical item. Killing militia restores your action point, meaning you can easily chain multiple kills in a single turn. Bringing the correct units into a fight can make a complicated battle simple or an easy battle overwhelming. The game is generous in giving you easy targets to refill your action points, thankfully.
Now and then, you need to lead your forces alongside the main army to ensure a victory over the capital. These battles can get hectic. You control your forces and artillery while your NPC allies fight your enemies. I’ve had battles with easily 40 units running around on the battle map. It can become hectic fast when facing fire pots, poison, archers on walls, traps, and other obstacles. While the battles are fun, I wish I could speed up some of the enemy and allies’ turns. You have to watch each movement, and that adds up quickly.
When you aren’t fighting, you are exploring. This can be on the map or in some towns, temples, and other small areas. The map has chests and loots for you to pick up as you move around. There are also random encounters such as ambushes, snakes and spiders, traders, healers, and many other things. One thing I do like about the game is how there is no highlight button. Instead, there are hidden items and chests in the world that net those with a keen eye for extra supplies and loot. And those of you with the best eyes might even be able to snag the Spear of Achilles after solving the riddle.
I did have a few problems with the game. As you take over land, the enemy will try to take it back. The maps aren’t huge, but figuring out which city will be attacked can be annoying. I’ve lost settlements because I couldn’t figure out where my Legion needed to be to defend it. A marker on the map would be excellent. It suffers from the problem of finding lower-quality weapons at higher damage. I might talk a big game about that Spear of Achilles, but typically halfway through a Campaign, I have the next level of a weapon I can’t make yet. That means my legendary weapons are unused, which feels wrong in any game.
I didn’t have any crashes or frame drops. However, you will find a few animation bugs, a character or two dropping through a floor, and the occasional bad play by the enemy AI. However, the enemy will avoid obvious traps and artillery shots most of the time.
I’ll make this as simple as possible: If you like the idea of controlling a Roman Legion and conquering in the name of Rome, you will like Expeditions: Rome. If that doesn’t sound like fun, then this game won’t be for you.
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