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rome2_2

War. What is it good for? Is it simply sanctified mass murder for the preservation of the state? The ultimate show of strength, endurance and power? Or perhaps it is the purest form of being; that the strong are not held back by the weak, that morality ends at the point of a sword or spear or that we are, and will always be slaves to our emotions, no better than the animals we are descended from.

Maybe, but I’m not here to wax philosophical today…apart from that first bit. I was cynical yet psyched for Rome 2. After some fifteen odd years of gaming I’ve become accustomed to excitement and disappointment, my expectation from R2 were high but with the caveat that it was another ‘new’ game by the Creative assembly , which meant bugs were likely to creep into what would otherwise be a tasty and fulsome meal.

rome2_1

So R2 had the unenviable position of being compared to Shogun 2, a great solid title, and the golden original Rome, which put CA firmly on the landscape. I had a feeling that it would not match up to expectations, no matter how much of its beautiful in game graphics were. Yet I was somehow…enthralled by it, enraptured almost. I Know it does not do for a critic to paint an overtly beautiful picture of a less than perfect product, but I must also be true to what my experience was.

Playing through the prologue to see what had changed I was happily surprised by the lighting and shadows of my Roman soldiers as they marched, back to the sun, towards the siege of Capua. The two or so hours I played through there gave a basic and familiar handle to the total war I knew, however there were some elements that were left somewhat sparse, the political system for example. I found it annoying and unintuitive with some actions no matter what I did causing me to lose all influence regardless of what I did.

rome2_4

 

I was lucky enough to enjoy my first few hours of play through glitch free…until the pirates arrived. Undead pirates! Who no matter how many times I killed they always came back. All right it was the last vestiges of a tribe I had defeated but it took five or so tries for them to stay down properly. It was very frustrating and annoying taking me out of the game. Not to mention the suicidal sieges that tribe remnants would embark on without any tactical prowess.

But now I want to get down to brass tacks. Should Rome 2 have been shipped with bugs and optimizations issues? Yes and no. For as annoyed as I am by it, the argument that beta testing on such a scale to get the settings right would require a large release to the public. However, I hope that in future this will temper the way Total War games are made to avoid customer dissatisfaction. Most games these days are released with some bugs and glitches that have not been ironed out regardless of how long they have been in development. Since Rome CA have always tried to do new things to improve their games and the experiences of the gamers but in doing so would often come up short. That CA is not bothered about trying hard enough for a finished product is an argument that does not ring true for me.

80 / 100

Pros:

+ Beautifully detailed from unit animations, troop dialogue, jokes, celebrations flora and fauna add great atmosphere to the battlefield.

+ Unit mass system works well with charges and projectiles looking impressive

+ Solid campaign goal progression unhampered by end date or forced military dominance.

Cons: - AI glitches, graphical hiccups, buggy parts, politics can be grating, victories on medium and easy come far too easily .

Mike Simpson has since offered an apology to gamers about the quality of the game. I’m not going to debate whether this was political or genuine in regards to the numerous problems they have had but the game has steady improved as weekly patches have been brought out to improve it. I like CA’s games and I’m man enough to admit when I’m being blinkered, when Empire was released I was very blinkered to the unfinished product because I was just happy to have it. Rome 2 may be disappointing, but WORSE than Rome? I think not. – That Bloke In The Beanie

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That Bloke In The Beanie On September - 30 - 2013

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