British game developer The Creative Assembly are back with publishers Sega to bring the much asked Total War: Rome II to Windows PC. Rome II is the eighth title of the Total War franchise and takes players back to 272BC and the start of the Roman Empire like the original Rome title; which was released back in 2004. However, is the game similar to the rise and glory of the Roman Empire or should it be avoided more than a Roman sewer?
Let’s find out and kick off the HOTs and NOTs.
Quality of Animations
The animations are incredible detailed and not just for the combat itself. In combat, there are plenty of animations that will drop the jaws of many. From troops being lifted off the ground by spears to elephants trampling entire mobs; everything is powerful and comes across with the perfect amount of strength. This creates the atmosphere of strong forceful battles where true armies and generals will fall. Even animations of running troops is impressive. Troops visibly tire with exhausted troops seen trudging across the battlefield. To top it off, you can see the battle from just above charging units heads, by pressing insert, to follow the action and immerse yourself further into the action.
Both in and out of the battles, the visual experience will captivate gamers. The world map is a pleasure to view which is fortunate as you will be seeing a lot of it during the lengthy campaign. It has enough to make it interesting without detracting from the relevant things such as armies, spies, champions, cities and the geography of locations which reverberates through to the battlefield. Despite there being numerous different battlefields none, at least so far, have felt anything less than the finished product. Cities, encampments, ambush sites and even open fields offer something extra. Sloping hills and weather effects all make maps unique and similar. Maps can also be drastically changed with the superb weather that is built into the game.
The detail that is on show is nothing short of mind blowing. The sun reflects off armour and shields as troops march or charge across the landscapes. The water swells up against the side of ships and as with the shields almost glistens in the sun. High above the battle you can see all of the individual troops marching below and down in the midst players can see the true extent of the carnage hopefully they are creating.
The game could look as good as real life, but if it isn’t fun and entertaining to play then it isn’t worth playing. On a strategy title, there is nothing worse than seeing your best troops slaughtered seemingly by luck at the hands of some enemy peasants. This will never be the case in Rome II. Unless the enemy general has somehow ambushed you from a unprotected flank and overrun you with amass of units, outnumbering you 10:1, the best legion will be hardly scratched by the peasants. This creates a battlefield that is extremely well balanced with tactics and troops quality coming into play. Player’s will be kicking themselves over unprotected flanks rather than lucky attacks from the AI resulting if a gameplay which feels fair. Impressively, the weather can also affect the gameplay with intimidating tactics such as fire arrows not being useable in the rain or light drizzle. There are many factors to consider and with so many army variations it keeps the gameplay fresh from battle to battle.
Players will find that the user interface is built for simplicity. It has no nonsense visuals which succeed to keep the screen uncluttered yet all the information needed to players is close at hand. When in battles, every section can be individually minimized allowing you to just have the mini-map open, with troop information at hand by just a single click. As the game offers such a great visual experience and players will need to be constantly surveying the whole battlefield, the ability to remove things from the screen so more can be seen is extremely helpful.