Rome - Total War PC

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Rome - Total War PC

Post by El_Guapo on 8th August 2010, 5:27 pm

I keep coming back to this game over and over again...

Rome: Total War is the third Total War game from England's Creative
Assembly, and, to make a long story short, it's the best one yet. It was
naturally expected to build on its illustrious predecessors, which
featured epic-scale real-time battles and impressive attention to
historical realism and detail. Shogun: Total War was a promising start
for the series, while Medieval: Total War built on that promise to
create an even more engrossing strategy game. With Rome: Total War,
Creative Assembly takes the next step, and it's as much a revolutionary
step as it is an evolutionary one, thanks to a beautiful new 3D graphics
engine that makes the series' tactical battles--featuring thousands of
soldiers--better than ever. The results are nothing short of
spectacular, helping make Rome: Total War the very definition of an epic
strategy game.


Where do you want to go today? The ancient world beckons, if you're brave enough to take it on.

As in the earlier Total War games, there are essentially two distinctly
different types of gameplay in Rome. There's the overarching turn-based
campaign in which you conquer cities and provinces, make improvements,
and move armies around the map as you expand your empire, and then there
are the real-time battles in which you use tactics and maneuvers to
crush your enemy in combat. After the helpful and informative tutorial
campaign, you can tackle the main imperial campaign. You play as one of
three powerful Roman families--the Julii, the Bruti, or the
Scipii--attempting to increase the size and glory of Rome and shore up
your faction's power and influence. As all three factions are Roman,
there's literally no difference between them in terms of units and
building types, though they do have different responsibilities. The
Julii must deal with the Gauls and Germania to the north in a difficult,
landlocked campaign. The Bruti are required to deal with the remnants
of the Greek city-states and expand the empire to the southeast. And the
Scipii are tasked with subduing Carthage, Rome's great nemesis to the
southwest.
At least, that's the principle goal of each faction. But there's a
fourth, unplayable Roman faction, one that can influence your course
during the campaign: the Roman senate. The senate will order you on
missions, from blockading a hostile port or conquering a city (and
perhaps exterminating the populace, depending on the level of enmity
between Rome and the faction in question) to forging a trade deal or an
alliance with a foreign faction. It's up to you whether you actually
obey the order, as sometimes the senate will try to stretch you thin on
purpose. If you carry the orders out successfully, you stand to gain a
monetary reward, a useful new military unit, or influence in the senate.
Failing to carry out missions earns the displeasure of the senate and
affects your standing with that body. By and large, though, the senate
missions help to focus the otherwise huge scope of the campaign--instead
of being faced with the monolithic task of trying to conquer Europe,
you can instead look forward to accomplishing a long series of
short-term goals.
It's helpful to perform senate missions because they can affect an
improved feature in Rome: Total War--families. Each of the three Roman
factions is essentially one huge family, and your generals and governors
are related to one another by birth, marriage, or adoption. These are
the leaders of your faction, and they all have traits--strengths and
weaknesses--that define their abilities. A strong general may have an
excellent command rating, but his disdain for bureaucracy would make him
a poor governor. Meanwhile, an otherwise strong governor may have a
dislike of farming, which would affect the agricultural output in the
province he's in. But if your family members are selected to hold
important senate posts, they'll gain influence and abilities once out of
office. This introduces a limited role-playing component in the game,
as you actually care about trying to further the careers of your family
members so they can serve you better.
In addition to traits, family members--not to mention your spies,
assassins, and diplomats--can all attract retinues. These are the
hangers-on who surround important people, such as advisors, mentors,
bodyguards, lackeys, sycophants, and more. Each of these can affect your
characters' abilities. For example, a wrestler can improve a
character's influence (by being able to literally twist arms), as well
as provide added protection against an assassination attempt. You can
actually collect and trade retinue members among your family, so you can
transfer them to where they're needed the most.


You'll draw your faction's leaders from the family tree. Make sure not to kill off your heirs in battle.

Families are also critical because only family members can serve as
generals. You can assemble armies without a general, but they'll be
poorly led and will likely fare badly in battle. But with a general, the
army's fortune can change. A general with a high command ability is a
powerful force in battle, as a well-led smaller force can defeat a
poorly led larger force most of the time. On the other hand, the fact
that generals are drawn from the ruling family can be dangerous, because
you need to make sure there are future generations of leaders and
generals. A disastrous battle can wipe out whole branches of the family
tree, cutting down promising young sons before they can sire heirs. This
can have a crippling effect later on in the campaign, when you find
yourself short of qualified generals and governors with a huge empire to
manage. It makes for an excellent incentive to try and preserve your
generals, rather than treat them as easily replaceable fodder.






Thankfully, when you're short of governors, your cities will be taken
over by the "automanager," which is represented by an appointed official
who runs the city in your name. You can give the automanager certain
priorities, such as to follow a military or financial policy, and it
will go about constructing the building and units required. (You can
also turn on the automanage functionality in cities that do have
governors, if you don't want to micromanage at all.) The computer is
generally good at doing what you tell it to do, and this should appeal
to players who don't want to spend a lot of time on the campaign map.
But if you're a fan of grand strategy and want to control every detail,
you'll want to make sure you have plenty of family members at your
disposal.


You
can choose to autogenerate battle results or fight the battles
personally. In most cases, it's easier and simpler to autogenerate the
smaller fights.

When you're not busy trying to crush your opponents, you can try to spy
on, trade with, and subvert them. The diplomacy system has been
completely overhauled since Medieval: Total War, and you now have a lot
more options at your command. These include forming alliances, bullying
your neighbors into becoming protectorates of Rome, and bargaining for
trade rights. You can also dispatch spies and assassins to probe for
weaknesses in enemy defenses, or to take out a key enemy general before a
crucial battle. And in a nice twist, you can plant spies in your own cities, where they'll help keep unrest in check by acting as a secret police of sorts, rooting out the troublemakers.
The early to middle part of a campaign game can be quite tough, as
you'll be hard-pressed on many fronts without a lot of resources at your
disposal. In one particularly brutal game, our Julii faction found
itself waging battles with Carthage, Spain, and the Gauls on three
fronts. However, if you survive and defeat your enemies, you'll
eventually have enough resources and momentum to deal with most other
threats. The next big challenge occurs when civil war breaks out and you
must march on Rome and defeat your rival Roman factions for control of
the empire. This late-game development is particularly challenging, as
all the core Roman cities have grown to massive size, and their close
proximity to one another makes it easy for factions to throw advanced
units at one another.
The imperial campaign runs from the early days of the republic to the
peak of its power, a period covering approximately 270 years. Given that
each turn represents six months--there are summer and winter
turns--this means a campaign game can last more than 500 turns. That's
surely an epic-scale length, and a campaign can easily consume days, if
not weeks, if you decide to play out all the battles. There's also a
smaller campaign that only requires your faction to conquer 15 provinces
and eliminate your principal rival or rivals. And in addition to being
able to play as the three different Roman factions, you can also tackle
the campaign game as a foreign faction, such as Carthage, Britannia, or
the Gauls. The only prerequisite is that you must crush the faction in
question during a campaign in order to unlock it as a playable side.
This is a bit annoying, as you'll probably have to play several campaign
games to unlock all the playable factions. But these factions are worth
unlocking, because they have access to unique units in the game,
including chariots, elephants, and axemen. Also, not every faction in
the game is playable, so be careful not to get your hopes up.
The campaign itself takes place on a beautiful 3D map that depicts a
living, breathing world. Tiny caravans travel the roads and highways,
while ships ply the trade routes between ports. During the winter turns,
snow covers most of Europe, and that has an effect on units moving and
battling in those conditions. But, most importantly, the new map is easy
to read and is a big improvement on the board-game-like maps found in
earlier Total War games. There are terrain features such as valleys and
rivers that serve as natural strategic choke points on the map, and you
can place armies in those positions to block them, thereby protecting
your cities from sieges. You can also hide armies in forests, which
allows them to ambush passing units, to devastating effect.


The Romans are at the gates, and they've brought gigantic siege towers to scale the towering walls of this city.

Ultimately, the turn-based portion of Rome is an excellent strategic
game by itself. Its only flaw is the relatively weak naval combat.
Unlike the land battles, you can only autogenerate the results of naval
battles--you can't control them or even watch them play out. The results
are a bit unpredictable, as you're guaranteed a win only if you have
overwhelming numbers on your side. This makes sense, since a battle
between two comparable fleets should theoretically be a toss-up, but
you'll still feel somewhat helpless at not being able to jump into the
battle and help turn the tide in your favor. Furthermore, the results of
naval battles are often reported incorrectly--the number of ships
reported sunk usually doesn't match up with the number of ships that
actually remain. And in certain circumstances, it's possible to get a
fleet permanently stuck in position, rendering it useless and a drain on
your resources, though we rarely encountered this bug. So the naval
battles in Rome: Total War are underwhelming. However, the terrestrial
battles most certainly are not.



Of course, the turn-based campaign is only half the story in Rome: Total
War, as the most anticipated new feature in the game is the 3D
real-time battle engine. The transition from the 2D sprites found in
earlier Total War games to Rome's 3D units has an almost revolutionary
effect on the battles, as the action comes to life like never before.
It's simply amazing to watch battles unfold and to see thousands of
soldiers trying to kill each other. Though there a few awkward
moments--such as seeing your men scramble around a single soldier
they're trying to kill--the carnage is generally well animated and
occasionally over the top. You'll see elephants hurl soldiers 30 or 40
feet in the air at times, or see guys fly 20 or more feet after being
hit by a cavalry charge. Yet there are countless moments when you can
simply zoom in and watch as individual soldiers try to slash and spear
each other to death in moments that are reminiscent of the huge battles
in recent Hollywood movies.


Infantrymen brace for a cavalry charge. You'll want to use appropriate tactics in each situation.

The 3D engine also has an almost transformative effect on the way you
fight battles, as it's a lot easier to comprehend the flow of the fight.
It's also easier to differentiate between good and bad tactics, even if
you're a novice. If you see the Greek spearmen lower their long spears
in formation, you'll intuitively recognize that a frontal cavalry charge
against that would be ill advised. But if you can keep the spearmen
distracted while you send your cavalry around to their flanks or rear,
you can watch your horsemen slice through the Greek lines like a hot
knife through butter. You'll also notice that your troops gain
experience over time, so it's worth trying to preserve them. After a
battle, you can send your units to a city where they can retrain. Doing
so will not only restore them to full strength (though a veteran unit
may lose experience if it absorbs a lot of new recruits), but it will
also upgrade their weapons and armor, making them even more lethal in
battle, assuming you've built the improvements necessary to do so at
that city.
You'll need a perfect storm of events in order to witness the largest
battles possible, so most battles skew toward the smaller scale, with
only a couple of thousand troops on the battlefield. These smaller
battles still look amazing, and they are easier to manage, as you have
fewer troops to worry about. You can pause the action and issue orders
at any time, which is extremely helpful, though you don't have that
option during a multiplayer game. At the highest detail settings, some
of the largest battles and sieges can cause the action to stutter, but
even at the lower detail settings the game still looks spectacular. The
camera controls take a bit of getting used to at first, but you'll
eventually get the hang of it. About the only flaw that we can find in
the graphics is that it occasionally feels like you're watching clones
on the battlefield, as all the soldiers in a unit look exactly alike. It
would have been nice to have seen a little variation in the troops, but
most of the time the action onscreen is so hectic you won't notice
anyway.
The sound and music during battle also deserve some recognition, since
they complement the visuals on the screen very well. When you issue a
march order, you hear the stomping of hundreds of boots on the ground
and the music changes to a fitting march theme. When battle erupts, the
audio stands out, with the clang of steel on shields, the whoosh of
spears and arrows in the air, and the cry of thundering elephants. Above
it all, the music constantly shifts gears to fit the scene, much like
the score to a motion picture. The driving tempo of the music helps
sweep you up into the action.


Elephants are some of your most powerful units in the game, but they're expensive and may bolt out of control.

In addition to the campaign game, Rome comes with some historical
battles and a skirmish mode that you can play if you want to get
straight into the action. Then there's the game's multiplayer suite,
which is limited to battles. There are essentially two multiplayer
modes: a fast-paced skirmish game and a slower, more tension-filled
siege game. The straight skirmish mode tends to run a bit quickly, due
to the fact that all the contestants start in the open and it doesn't
take long before a faction is wiped out. A good cavalry charge at the
beginning can usually settle the battle by crippling one side.
Meanwhile, siege battles can be great fun, as they're almost chesslike
in that the attackers must probe for a weakness in the city's defenses
while the defenders react to them. Rome's multiplayer browser makes it
fairly easy to find a server, though the overall interface could have
used a bit more work. In particular, there ought to be a time limit when
deploying forces, as it can be annoying having to wait while a
micromanager tweaks the starting position of every single unit.
But issues like these are easy to overlook when you consider the big
picture. Ultimately, this is a deeply satisfying strategy game that can
appeal to game players of all types. If you're looking for a complex,
addictive, conquer-the-world campaign, you can look forward to the
imperial campaign, which is good for countless hours of gameplay all on
its own. Meanwhile, if what you want are realistic, cinematic-style
battles, you can dive into the historical battles or the skirmish or
multiplayer modes, or have the computer manage all the details in the
campaign and just join the battles. And if you're looking for both, then
you'll probably find Rome: Total War to be perfectly sublime blend of
the two.

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Re: Rome - Total War PC

Post by Frog on 13th August 2010, 11:58 am

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Sorry it's taken me so long but there's a lot get through here Shocked

I gotta say this looks a lot of fun, I used to be hooked on Civilisation and this seems to have a similar kind of pull to it. Of course you have the added amusement of Roman warfare to play with. How long does it take to pick up the controls on this one, looks like there'd be a lot of stuff to get your head round to play this game to it's fullest. And is it just a PC title?

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Re: Rome - Total War PC

Post by El_Guapo on 13th August 2010, 4:51 pm

Hello mate

Yeh it's PC only and you need a decent PC with a good graphics card to really make the most of it.

The learning curve isn't actually too bad. The in game tutorial is very good and it won't be long before you're commanding thousands of troops with just a few clicks. In fact...the 3D engine can comfortably cope with up to thirty thousand individual units in any one battle.

The hook for me about this game is the level of realism. You really do learn a lot about ancient warfare and tactics. This is NOT command and conquer where you win by sheer weight of numbers. I've won many battles with an army half the size of my opponent by clever use of terrain and protecting the flanks at all times.

When you aren't taking part in real time mega battles the diplomacy and economic side of the game is also really engaging. Completing missions on behalf of the senate such sending assassins to murder a rival king, spies to open the city gates, or warships to blockade a port to prevent supplies reaching a city under seige to make your invasion easier are all lots and lots of fun.

I can't talk up this game enough. I've literally been playing it for roughly two years now and I still haven't got bored!!

It's called Rome - Total War but I don't think the name really does it justice. You can play as any one of three Roman factions but in addition to this you can also choose to be the Celts, Gauls, Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Macedonians, Carthaginians, Germanics and Parthians all with totally different units, tactics, and use of diplomacy.

They've also incorporated a family dynasty into the game. Members of your faction will marry, have children and die either of old age or in battle. This is a game where you actually care about the fate of your general as an experienced general on the field motivating the troops can mean the difference between winning and losing.

Then you have the map of Europe recreated in stunning detail. Terrain plays a huge part in this game. Build forts in strategic locations and force your enemy to attack where you want them to attack.

I really could go on and on about how awesome this game is. In fact...they even based a television series on it that aired on BBC2 a couple years back.

It's won tons of accolades. Check these out:


  • PC Gamer (UK): All time 5th best PC game "95%"
  • IGN: Editor's Choice Award, 4th Best PC Game of all Time, 14th Best Game of all Time.[13][14]
  • PC Gamer (US): Editor's Choice, Best Strategy Game of 2004
  • GameSpot: Editor's Choice, Strategy Game of 2004
  • Adrenaline Vault: Seal of Excellence
  • GameSpy: Editor's Choice
  • E3 2003 Game Critics Awards: Best Strategy Game
  • X-Play: 5 out of 5
  • PC Powerplay: 95%
And if all of that hasn't sold you the game has been out a while and is available on white label for only a tenner!!!!!!!!!
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