This expansion to Rome: Total War, takes place in the twilight years of the western Roman Empire, allowing you to take the place of the head of a crumbling empire, a nomadic hoard, or one of the many rising Germanic tribes.
In this historically accurate adventure of several thousand years ago, the player serves as a leader in the lands of Rome. By managing warfare, battlefield tactics, economics, agriculture, and diplomacy, the player utilizes everyone and everything at their disposal to crush the enemy forces and bring the corrupt Roman empire under their dominance.
Rome Total War is a big step up from its predecessor set in the Medieval age in terms of graphics and game-play. You can now move the camera right into the action and watch as men are thrown into the air by charging cavalry or elephants, or fall from the walls of the cities. Indeed the siege combat stands out as a major improvement as there is a wider range of siege equipment such as ladders and towers that mean the long sieges of Medieval Total are much less frequent. There are no princesses or religious characters on the campaign map any longer which just reflects the era of the setting.
In Campaign mode you begin as one of the three Roman families, each have different missions assigned to them by the senate, creating varied challenges. As the Julii you will be battling your way northwards into the Gauls, Germans and Britons, all barbarian tribes that can often summon thousands of troops to the battlefield. As the Scipii you will have to conquer Sicily and aim to capture northern Africa held by the Carthaginians with their mighty war elephants. Finally as the Brutii your task is to head east and defeat their Greeks and Macedonians with their tough infantry phalanxes.
Once you have the completed the game with any of the Romans you are given the option of tackling the campaign again with other factions. This ranges from the Britons with their head-throwers and chariots, to the Greek Cities with their mighty infantry, but pitifully weak cavalry, to the Parthians with their lethal cavalry, but woeful infantry. This gives the game a great deal of re-playability, since I was given the game as a present some months ago I have played little else except the excellent expansion packs of course! It helps that the long campaign requires owning 50 settlements (including Rome itself), which can be extremely challenging and time consuming considering the amount of management has to be gone into to prevent captured cities rioting.
The Romans have the biggest range of units (especially in artillery)and probably the most balanced, but they are not invincible by any means. It just takes some time getting to understand the units of each faction and how to use them to the best of their ability. Of course most fight better in their home terrain, e.g. Egyptian troops will have a significant disadvantage in the snows of Germania.
There are some minor weaknesses. Naval combat is still decided by auto-calculating by the computer only which adds a disappointingly random element to a game that is all about careful strategy. The AI in battles is puzzling sometimes, sometimes if you are being besieged the enemy army will just stand outside the walls and gets wiped out by the wall towers.
However small glitches cannot prevent this from being best designed strategy games of recent years, as battles are decided by superior tactics rather than just weight of numbers all the time. It is also better for long-term strategists who enjoy building up cities and ultimately their empire, slowly. If you prefer the real-time battles and fast conquest then I would recommend the Alexander Add-on pack. Rome Total War - Alexander gives you the opportunity to attempt to match the feats of one of the greatest generals in history, Alexander the Great. You command the Macedonians who are in a tough financial position as well as being surrounded by numerically superior enemies including the mighty Persian fleet to the south.
This is more based on the real-time battles than on the empire building of the original game. Your budget limitations as well as the 100 turn deadline (very short in comparison to Rome or Barbarian Invasion) mean an almost constant attacking policy against the Persians, barbarians and Indian rebels to succeed. Sacking or exterminating captured settlements is almost always necessary to pay for reinforcements - often mercenaries since shipping them from Greece will nearly always take too long. Men must be conserved which is no easy feat in the face of such heavy opposition.
New units such as the the elite Phalangists and the heavy Companion cavalry give the Macedonians the edge over their opponents. The faction plays similarly to the Greeks in the original except that the cavalry is far superior and the missile units are limited to javelin-throwers that are out-ranged by Persian archers. The infantry hop-lites are still extremely tough to break by frontal assault so the importance of not being out-flanked can not be overstated. There is no artillery, but this would be too cumbersome and therefore slow on the campaign map in any case and so sieges must be resolved with assault or starvation.
Alexander has less replay value since the in the main campaign only the Macedonians are a playable faction and there is no choice but to attack everybody to fulfil the objectives. There are different ways of approaching the campaign however, especially with the aid of the the difficulty settings. Alexander and his bodyguard are an essential key to success though failure will result if the leader himself dies.
There is a tough series of historical battles presented by the quality voice acting of renowned British actor Brian Blessed which is a definite bonus.
The game will appeal to those who prefer the real-time battles which can be fought between thousands of troops over the other aspects - diplomacy is not even an option since there are no diplomats. It still feels a little like a stop-gap measure for fans eager for Medieval II: Total War, but the cheap release price and the easy accessibility make it worthwhile. 646f9e108c
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