Total War: Rome 2 – best strategy game of the year?
Strategic war tactician or head-first cannon-fodder?
Sega’s Total War: Rome 2 releases this week, and the sequel to the 2004 hit strategy game will aim to be the biggest and most expansive game in the series, with a “turn-based campaign and the largest, most cinematic real-time battles yet seen in any game”; but has that been achieved?
The game is holding down an impressive Metascore of 86, while over on GameRankings it features an 85.83 percentage.
Let’s see what the critics think of the warmongering PC exclusive.
PC Gamer: 8.5/10
“Fight past the niggles and you’ll find a truly epic grand strategy game with a tremendous sense of spectacle.”
“While the interminable wait between turns and overhauled user interface may be shocks for players flocking from Shogun 2, the overall experience still delivers a top-tier strategy epic.”
Strategy Informer: 8/10
“Everything kind of just plods along and while you will get moments of brilliance, moments of wonder… they’re too easily buried by a startling amount of mediocrity. Total War: Rome 2 is a perfectly adequate/decent game. It should have been a bloody brilliant game.”
“Rome 2 is a technical behemoth, but at the moment, it’s the little details that are holding it back. Still a great game, but not the masterpiece I was hoping for.”
“For these dedicated strategy connoisseurs and Roman history buffs, Creative Assembly has just about crafted the pinnacle work in the art of meaningful detail. Each Ptolemaic temple and Gallic brine distillery reaps some number value for the tactical player, which is in itself a notable benchmark. The trouble with meaningful detail, however, is its imposition to be noticed, a barrier that will likely fend off hordes of uninitiated would-be conquerors.”
“I’ve seen glorious battles of thousands of men, but so too have I watched an enemy unit run circles around a victory point in what I assume was an attempt to prevent me holding it – a gambit that only resulted in ancient Rome’s first Benny Hill sketch. I’ve trained an agent to the peak of his abilities, and yet his 95% chance of persuading an enemy to join my ranks never meets with success. I’ve seen missing textures. I’ve had start-of-turn notifications pop up mid turn. I’ve had units “stuck” to my mouse, unable to be deselected. Still, I can’t deny I’ve enjoyed swallowing my neighbours, fattening my domain with conquest after conquest.”
“That ambitiousness has always been a selling point for Total War, and with each new entry, the series grows in scope and offers even more options. That also means that it’s still an intimidating play, even with Rome II sporting the series’ most extensive tutorial to date. It’s a game that requires patience and immense commitment. If you know what you’re getting into, or are at least patient enough to figure out everything on offer, Rome II is a worthy continuation of the franchise and an overdue update to one of the greatest strategy games of all time. It’s every bit as vast and absorbing as you’ve come to expect.”
RPS: No score
“If Rome II were a gladiator, it would enter the arena as pyrotechnics flared and trumpets blared. Clad in the most beautiful armour in creation, it is the promised one, destined for greatness. Later in the day, having overcome many opponents, it would finally fall, its final opponent holding a sword to its throat. Watching on, only a very cruel emperor would point his thumb murder-wards. It deserves its victories but it’s hard not to think that if the armour it wore were less ornate, lighter and more flexible, then it may never have fallen at all.”
“A proud and stalwart march throughout Europe, a Roman holiday with sightseeing and slaughter in equal measure.”
“It’s still the same old imperfections holding it back, but that doesn’t stop Rome II being the best Total War so far – and one of the most accomplished strategy games of recent years.”
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