More Reviews
REVIEWS Firefall Review
Repetitive gameplay makes this fall a little boring.

The Walking Dead: Season Two Review
At this point, you’re not coming back for the zombies. Let’s get down to business.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Preview
Put up some movie glasses, because Geometry Wars is entering the third dimension.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Destiny
Release date: 09/09/14

FIFA 15
Release date: 09/23/14

Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star
Release date: 09/23/14

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
Release date: 09/30/14


LATEST FEATURES And I Was All "Hell Yeah I'll Play a New Dreamcast Game"
I just played a Dreamcast game that was released in... wait, 2014?

A Comprehensive Guide to Dealing with Controversy in the Video Game Industry
Need help wading through the latest misogyny/homophobia/racism/corruption debate in the gaming industry? Paul Tamburro’s here to help!
MOST POPULAR FEATURES The Updating List of PAX Indies
We're heading to PAX Prime! Are you looking to check out a few unique indie games while you're there? UPDATED: Dragon Fin Soup, Dungeon of the Endless,

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP samsmith614 Since game design is a business, I decided to see what's really selling well for the PS4. I did this search a week ago, and at the time, out of the top 20 bestsellers on Amazon 10 had not even been released yet. By now some have been released. But others still have not. And yet others...

Rome: Total War - Barbarian Invasion Review

Duke_Ferris By:
Duke_Ferris
10/14/05
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Strategy 
PLAYERS 1- 8 
PUBLISHER Sega 
DEVELOPER Creative Assembly 
RELEASE DATE  
T Contains Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it.


There's something compelling about the lone barbarian. Conan, Groo, Thundarr - with their fur breeches, crude manners and rampant violence, they manage to turn their primitive grammar into roguish charm. Nobody but nobody can get drunk and tear up a tavern like a barbarian. Good family fun for all.

The problem seems to be when there's more than one of them, when they turn up in hordes. Instead of just looting the Temple of the Snake God for more beer money (which you didn't really care about because you prefer the Eagle God, anyway), they're burning down your houses, slaughtering your family, raping your pets, and pissing in the aqueduct.

Such is life in Barbarian Invasion, the first expansion pack for the awesome Rome: Total War. The year is 363 AD, about 350 years after the original game, and the might of Rome has greatly diminished. Political infighting and the growing Christian cult have split the vast empire. And let's not forget the barbarians " dirty foreign groups like the Saxons, the Franks and (most frighteningly) the Huns are putting pressure on the borders and even sacking Roman cities. There's nothing like finally putting down a local rebellion, only to have Atilla and Co. show up at your back door with a bunch of torches.

However, you don't necessarily have to play as either side of this divided empire. Barbarian Invasion doesn't make you unlock any of its starting races like Rome did. Right off the bat you can be those rampaging Huns if you want. In fact, you can choose to play as any of the game's ten new factions, several of which you would only have heard of if you're an historian. The fearsome Sassanids?

Although the difficulty level varies by faction, no matter which side you choose, there is no Senate to appease this time and the end game is pretty much the same. Each faction has a set of "victory conditions" " hold a certain number of territories and a couple key cities, usually Rome and Constantinople. It is most difficult to play as one of the Roman factions, but hey, the book is called The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, after all.

All new factions means all new units too, and even most of the Roman units have been tweaked. Each faction has its own specialty, such as archery or horseback riding. Lightly armed troops can now swim, opening up new flanking opportunities, or just easy pickins for the archers. But despite the fact that there are over one hundred "new" units, they still all feel pretty much the same as in Rome. In the end, they're all just men with pointy weapons.

For that matter, the core gameplay has remained almost exactly the same, with two main modes: the turn-based strategic map and the real-time battles featuring your colossal armies. For more details on that, please read my Rome: Total War review.

There are subtle differences, however. The map features new cities and borders, and the wonders of the world and the bonuses they represented are gone; this was the era of tearing down monuments, not building them. Religion now plays a small but noticeable role in your commanders and cities which may be Pagan, Christian, or Zoroastrian. Put a Pagan in charge of a heavily Christian city, and the people are unlikely to be happy. The computer A.I. has gotten better at playing on the map, making the Roman campaigns particularly challenging.

On the battlefield even less has changed. The tactics of war and the unit balance remain essentially the same, and the A.I. has the same pathfinding problems, especially during city sieges. The biggest change is the addition of night battles, where an experienced commander can really make difference. Without the proper skills, your enemy's reinforcements might not even find the battlefield in the dark. With torches galore, flaming arrows and even flaming siege projectiles, the night battles are visually stunning.

But not really any more than before. The graphics look pretty much the same, which to say is quite good, with impressively huge clashes of armies but no improvement over Rome: Total War. The music is identical as far as I can tell, with no new tracks at all.

Barbarian Invasion certainly brings you more of a good thing, but I wish it had extras that were actually new, like the ability to play the map mode in multiplayer as well, or any new multiplayer modes at all, for that matter. And still no playable naval battles?

Still, it was good to feel the thunderous stampede of Hun cavalry and the earth-shaking march of a vast Roman army again. Though this particular invasion doesn't really change the scope of the battle, it certainly adds some berserk energy to your armchair strategizing. Trust in Crom.

B Revolution report card
  • More Rome!
  • Religious influences
  • Night battles
  • Improved map A.I.
  • Other A.I. hasn't improved
  • Naval battles still suck
  • No new modes
  • Lack of Crom worship

More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Rome: Total War - Barbarian Invasion


More On GameRevolution