23 Nov 2006

Rome: total war reviewed

By Guest Blogger, Ivan

I don't know if any of you have checked out Kingdom of heaven, Lord of the rings or even Alexander, but you're a die-hard fan for movies of this genre, then you're a die-hard fan for the total war series. For any of you who no idea what the total war series is, i think the name itself is self-explanatory. This is no ordinary RTS game, not like Generals ( i have no idea why they call it RTS, there's no strategy involved, all you do is pile up your resources and flood the enemy with Overlord tanks), we're talking about MASSIVE maneouvering of armies and flanking the gullible, unnoticing enemy forces with hundreds of calvarymen and head-to-head collision of infantry. YES, this is RTS WITH strategy, this is the era of RTS at its peak. ok..ok, before i get too immersed into the total war series, there's so far shogun, medieval, rome and the long-awaited, Medieval 2. For people who have not tried total war before, start from rome, forgot shogun and medieval, they pale in comparison to the latest versions of total war.

I've played Rome for about 2months and it was an unforgettable experience. Yea, so what if they were all clone armies, the gameplay was fantabulous. And good news for the fans, Creative assembly and Sega is doing away with the clone army in the upcoming medieval 2.

You start off with a Roman faction with 3 territories, using trade, espionage and military might, you engulf the weak neighbouring factions and you finally head for the big boys( the other roman factions). You fight your battles in different enviromental conditions( hence, affecting the performance of your army), you lay siege on your enemy's capital, and you get to go face to face with hordes of army in the expansion: Barbarian invasion. Overall, the gameplay is intense and war-mongers will go gaga over it.

Graphics ( 8/10 )
Good graphics, but just when you think it couldn't get any better, medieval 2 makes rome look like it was drawn by some kid who failed art school. When up-close, fights lacked realness but from afar, battles look intense and realistic. Overall, individual soldiers look distinguishable from the faction in which it's from, given the armour and choice of weapon that has been specifically designed for each particular type of warrior. Terrain however, can be furthur improved, trees can be added a touch of life.

Sound( 9/10 )
Good sound effects, music keeps the player all hyped up and ready for battle. The moral speech and the warcries at the beginning of each battles made me felt like taking on the yakuza single-handedly. Try storming a horde of calvary ( the huns will do just fine ) down a hill, the sound effects of the horses' tramples will make you wanna pee in your pants if you'd imagine you were having a picnic at the foot of the hill. Well done on this aspect, kudos to the team.

Difficulty( 7/10 )
Personally, i find it way too easy and i believe the crappy A.I is responsible for this, the enemy doesn't do anything else but attack you from the front, which gives you a perfectly good chance to outflank the enemy and make them pay for their stupidity. While this may be a good thing for newbies, there is no challenge for experienced players. The only part i found difficult was trying to establish a strong nation in the start when the barbarians would often invade me with a full army and i would only drive them out with a platoon half the size of their army. However,

Value (9.5/10)
$50 dollars for rome? worth every bit of it, you'll never be satisfied playing with just 1 faction. This thing can keep you away from boredom for months, $50 is underpriced in my opinion for such a well-made game.

Massive and engaging. Rome allows friends to battle online to see who is the true master in commanding. Playing with friends beats playing against A.I anytime, as it mimics a true battle between 2 human generals. Worth getting addicted for, anytime, anyhow.

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