Overall - 90%
Total War: Rome 2 brings new elements to the Total War universes while improving on the older areas of the games. It doesn't matter if you are winning handsomely or losing sorely, Rome 2 is still great fun. I came, I saw, I conquered, and it felt good.
When it comes to conquest the Total War series has been everywhere. This time we are returning to ancient Rome with the goal of achieving world domination. Should this ancient empire be revived or should it just be left in ruins? Check out this review!
Anyone who has played a Total War game before will feel right at home when they enter the game. You choose a faction, all with different traits and starting territories. The map has been increased and the areas are more diverse based off of the culture of the factions in the area. Culture actually plays a huge role on the campaign map and if not looked after correctly your settlements revolt and you could lose the city. Culture also influences the diplomacy of the game, if you have the same culture they will be more likely to trade with you or form alliances, the opposite can be said about anyone with a different culture than you.
Outside of culture you will have to deal with public order in cities. This is based off of what buildings you have, taxes, size of the army you own, or the size of the army an enemy has in your territory. For the most part it is easy to find out what the people want, low taxes. Tax settings can only be adjusted by your entire faction as opposed to the provinces. This coupled with the fact that sometimes you need to dig deep to find out what is actually making your public order low makes for an annoying problem as the game progresses. Still, if you switch up a few buildings or raise a big enough army the people will normally be satisfied.
Another key component of the campaign map is the agents. This has been expanded quite a bit now giving more choice in regards to agent skills. In previous games assassination was as simple as pushing a button, now you can pick how and they will have different chances of succeeding. This is a good improvement and it expands much further than assassinations. All of your agents combined can make you a formidable force and help you figure out where the enemy is weakest so you can strike!
When it is time for battle you will take control of your army on the field and direct each unit. The more tactical you are the more the game rewards you. The game wants you to flank, surprise, and break the enemy down in anyway you can. Throwing your troops full force into the enemy can get you the win but it will cost you men every time. Figure out how you can break the enemy line or take out the enemy general with a surprise cavalry attack and you can expect to win the battle.
Taking out there general might win you the battle but losing yours almost always loses you the battle. He is a very valuable unit to have in the fight as he is stronger than most units and increases the morale of all units around him. Your general will have abilities from moral and attack boosts to demoralizing shouts or various types of defensive abilities. You should always watch your general but on occasion the A.I. will so something stupid like leave his archers in front with no other defenses around and you can exploit it with a horse general. The battle A.I. in the game can do some stupid things which is a downer but when they fight properly it feels good to win.
The game is a beast graphically and you can zoom in and see each troop fighting and dying on the field. This mixed with the good audio makes it fun to watch your legions slaughter barbarian hordes. I’d recommend maybe dropping the game graphics down a notch so the huge battles don’t get bogged down when all the on-screen units. For the larger battles you are best off using the tactical map as well because the camera doesn’t really get the job done as well as you need. This will pause the game for you so you can direct units one by one into battle with a overhead view.
While some of your early battles can be auto resolved easily, expect to fight and defend later in the game. On certain maps you can now have both boat and land units. This is something new to the series and it works well, whether they are helping you defend a city or landing in a flanking position, so use it when you can. Still, lady luck can be cruel and even a massive army can fall in the blink of an eye over an arrow catching your general in the head. You can also expect to fight on different terrain and in various situations. Battles in the field can have a river/bridge crossing, trees to use as cover, or some kind of terrain that bogs down certain soldiers. Using any of those to your advantage will help you win.
Both online co op and competitive play make a return in Rome 2. If you want to become good at battles testing your wits against other players is the best way to do so. There are tons of incredibly talented players on there and many will feel like a child compared to your opponent. For even more of a challenge head onto a competitive campaign. This will test your skill and put you on the edge of your seat when you see the other human player’s fleet heading for your undefended city. If you are like me you will stick to the co op campaign and conquer the world with a friend.