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- Total War: Rome II
Developer: The Creative Assembly
The Creative Assembly and Sega will unleash Hell in the form of Total War: Rome II on September 3rd, 2013, a follow-up to 2004's Rome: Total War and the eighth game in the franchise, returning to antiquity and the height of decorum in gruesome battle. Where the previous Rome game gave the spotlight to the Republic, Rome II includes each culture in the era with a grand campaign stretching 300 years. Creating a new and improved engine, The Creative Assembly hopes to "set a new benchmark for strategy gaming quality and depth," pushing the franchise's dedicated fan base to conquer everything and regret nothing.
That new engine, Warscape Engine, will allow players to zoom into individual units to catch the horror and ferocity of battle as well as zoom out to capture entire cities burning with carnage. That scalability will translate to every player's unique PC as Total War: Rome II is designed to fit as many rigs as possible. With 183 territories to fight over, 117 factions to play as, and scores of unit and building variants, that flexibility will pay off handily as players put their enemies under their boot and the spoils of war in the horse cart back to Rome.
As the theater of war envelops all the eye can see, players can train their generals with skills unique to the armies they lead and earn new traits in battle based on in-game tactics and decisions, allowing for customization of every unit into specific roles. As the commander, players also have to make tough decisions periodically, steering the campaign through the course of history. Rome II's expansive gameplay also pushes naval forces, mixing land and sea battles and city sieges for the first time in the franchise.
What's more, players can take up the role of fighting back against the Roman forces that feature heavily in the game. Playing as a band of British barbarians will feel different from any of the other small ethnic groups and city-states you might have squashed as the Roman legion. With The Creative Assembly crafting over 500 different land units for the game, there'll be plenty of variety for anyone who's grown tired of politicking in the capital.
Thankfully, The Creative Assembly have released plenty of gameplay to give experienced players a feel for the changes and newcomers an overview of why Total War can be a good thing.
Total War: Rome II – Find a Way
Rome II's epic feel and grand scope get the spotlight in this blend of cinematics and gameplay. The diplomats scream and shout, but only the commander can make decisions necessary to save Rome. Action, not words, will maintain Roman dominance in the region, but only if players choose the titular faction.
Total War: Rome II – Campaign Let's Play
This 13-minute gameplay demo walks the viewer through the baby steps every commander will take in-game. Developers Patricia and Dominique talk through all the different faction options, methods of diplomacy, and the large campaign map you'll interact with when you're not smashing columns of soldiers into each other. Every choice made will have an effect over the course of the campaign, so from the very beginning players want to consider their options carefully.
Total War: Rome II – Battle of Teutoburg Forest Let's Play
In this intensive Let's Play the developers offer a good overview of the general gameplay they'll find in any battle. The Warscape Engine allows the player to zoom in to ground level and see the action from the soldier's perspective. The forces in this mission have to defend against barbarian surprise attacks, cavalry charges, and more. The unit camera and tactical map are also shown off, giving commanders every view of the action they could possibly want.
Total War: Rome II – The Battle of the Nile Let's Play
Here, The Creative Assembly show off one of the game's historical battles where Roman troops must capture Egyptian camps to win. The Battle of the Nile shows off the combined Naval and Land combat in Rome II, forcing the player to juggle resources for each objective. Of course, as Bickham and Williams say in the video, sometimes unfortunate sacrifices have to be made.
Total War: Rome II – Multiplayer Let's Play
Let Total War devs Trish and Elliott walk through the changes the studio has made to improve multiplayer in the series. Quick Match, Custom Match, and more are available for players to pit their armies against each other in all-out war. The Warscape Engine won't be able to render my embarrassment when more skilled armchair commanders decimate my forces online. But at least the scope in game is incredible so I'll still be able to appreciate the carnage.
Total war is literally war without restriction, whether you consider weapons used, territory or combatants, or even the objectives an instigator seeks to pursue across boundaries, especially with disregard for the rules of war. Total War, the series, has been going strong since 2000 and helped to define the PC platform for some hardcore and historically-minded gamers.
Shogun: Total War – Shogun introduced Total War to gamers everywhere, focusing on "Samurai warfare on an epic scale" in real-time 3D. Shogun took players to Japan from the 15th to 17th centuries with the ultimate goal of becoming Shogun. Shogun also established the franchise's ties to history that have come to define it with the help of historian Stephen Turnbull.
Medieval: Total War – Medieval followed Shogun and took a decidedly different turn away from the Eastern theater of warfare to find inspiration in dynasty building in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. This entry in the series received heaps of praise for the game's realism and siege battles.
Rome: Total War – The first game in the franchise to focus on the Republic, Rome introduced free map movement and continued the blistering development pace set by The Creative Assembly. Gamers quickly fell in love with the title and continue to mod it for their own Lord of the Rings-themed purposes to this day.
Medieval II: Total War – The second Medieval game returned Total War to the European theater, refocusing on the religion, politics, and warfare of civilization on the brink of discovering the Americas, or you know… discovering it again.
Empire: Total War – Moving the setting into the 18th century gave The Creative Assembly the ability to expand Total War's mechanics considerably, offering the most complete domination of ancient history anyone could have asked for. Players loved the game's introduction of naval battles in real-time and a United States campaign let would-be conquerers explore the colonial period from Jamestown to the revolutionary war.
Napoleon: Total War – Only one (very short) man stood tall enough to have his very own Total War game (at least so far), so The Creative Assembly took players back to the theater of Medieval, albeit in the 18th and 19th centuries with a focus on Bonaparte complete with three different campaigns. Talk about overcompensation.
Total War: Shogun 2 – The most recent game in the series, Shogun 2 provided players with eight factions with unique start positions, different political and military strengths, and even (for some players) a ninja clan called the Hattori. Refocusing development to a smaller area of the globe allowed The Creative Assembly to refine and simplify the series and usher in a new decade of Total War gamers who had never touched the series.
Rome – "Strength, honor, duty"
The Roman Republic serves as the game's focus, of course, but there are plenty of factions to choose from, so be sure to read on past Rome's excellent discipline and troop formations. Try to ignore their hastati, principles, and triarii, or the development enhancements the player's military has as Rome. Three houses compliment Rome's powers with further economic, military, and cultural benefits depending on which you choose.
Carthage – "Democracy, commerce, faith"
Much of the player's forces will be made up of mercenary units aiding Sacred Band soldiers and North African war elephants, but that doesn't mean Carthage slacks on naval ability. With heightened trading bonuses and elite naval forces and a democratic background, Carthage can take players up against Rome to change the course of history.
Macedon – "Glory, order, power"
This faction gives players the opportunity to play Alexander in an effort to rebuild the region with agriculture and ports, wielding infantry and calvary. It might be a good idea to team up with other Hellenic factions as bonuses to income and growth come from teaming up. What's more, Macedon also has unique strength against barbarians so consider them in beginning your campaign.
Iceni Faction – "Iron, conquest, pride"
This south Britain tribe mostly relies on infantry and should look incredible when zooming into epic battles with the Warscape engine. The unique details on each soldier will make every one special, but be prepared to lose a few favorites in the field. Iceni depend on their iron work and looting for income, but happiness grows with the warfront.
Arverni (Gaul) – "Belief, dignity, power"
Spear Nobles and Oathsworn lead infantry wielding javelins for the Gaul, who primarily profit from their crafts and gold-working. Kings and chieftains will prove powerful warriors as you clash with the other factions, but the diplomatic respect the Gaul have among other barbarians will aid you in uniting the tribes.
Suebi – "Blood, nobility, courage"
Suebi warriors wield spears and carry oval shields, but their legendary fighting ability is only matched by the fear you'll experience facing the painted Night Hunters in a dark forest. As is the case with other barbarian tribes, diplomatic bonuses will be reaped in dealing with similar British factions, but the Suebi also face greater challenge in conquering others thanks to their disdain for all outsiders.
Parthia – "Tolerance, justice, profit"
Known for its horse-archers and heavy cavalry, Parthia utilizes bronze and iron armor and forces trained in Seleucid fashion. Players who choose Parthia as their faction will find that new conquests will submit easily, though by shunning slavery Parthia will prove difficult to grow economically. Regardless, on clear terrain, cavalry of Parthia will be hard to beat.
Egypt – "Legacy, independence, power"
Players choosing Egypt for their faction can become truly worthy of a pyramid all their own, but it'll come at a price if the varied weapon sets of Egyptian warriors can't be mastered. With spear, pike, sword, scythe, and more on your side, it'll be difficult to choose which instrument of blood-letting to specialize in. Egypt offers players skilled diplomats and academics, as well as a strong navy, but would-be conquerers will have to coerce the indigenous on their soil.
Pontus – "Ambition, independence, profit"
Near the Black Sea, players will find the Pontus faction which relies on agents to gather information on enemies at market. Pontus offers progressive ideas with worthy diplomatic strength and strong resolve at war. Barbarian forces will crumble in front of Pontus troops, but Eastern culture could cause disruption in public order.