Rome: Total War is a game developed by The Creative Assembly and released in 2004. It belongs to the Total War Series of games, and is one of the best strategy games ever made. It went on to have 2 (not so successful) expansions and 1 sequel.
What makes Rome: Total War so great. Can it still be played? Thes review will be split into Storyline, Gameplay, Visuals, and finally, Final Thoughts sections. Without further ado:
Table of Contents
The game doesn’t have a storyline. You are the leader of 1 of the available 20 (+1) factions, and your goal is to have the biggest empire known to man. More on that on the gameplay section.
The gameplay is the classic “pick a faction, manage their economy and armies and rule the world”.
So, you begin by choosing one of the available factions. Normally, there are the 3 Roman factions as the only choices. Eventually, you will unlock the rest of the 8 unlockable factions by winning campaigns.
However, by messing with the game’s files, you can have all of the 20 factions unlocked. There is the +1 “Faction” of Slaves (who are just the rebels), so if you want to play with them, you have to keep 1 other faction unplayable, but you can switch as many times as you want.
The most important game setting is Short or Long Campaign. In the Short one, you have to destroy your closest enemies (depending on your Faction) and rule at least 15 Provinces (towns).
In the Long Campaign, you must control at least 40 Provinces plus the grand city of Rome.
Each faction has a specific cultural tag, but that doesn’t affect gameplay. For reference, the cultures are Romans, Eastern Cultures, Barbarians and Greeks.
You begin the game with your Faction and its starting Provinces. From there, you will have to manage the economy, make sure the people are happy (lest you get a revolt and lose your Province to the Rebels) and plan your strategy.
Regularly, it’s not so hard to start snowballing if you are aggressive during the early game, and if you get to have a huge amount of money, it’s game over as you can just bribe any large armies that don’t contain a rival’s Faction Faction Leader or Heir.
When you attack, you have the option of playing the battle in the 3D battlefield or let the AI automatically resolve it.
In-game battles have a lot of depth and strategy and are quite hard to master. You have to be clever with every unit band you own, and there is a lot of micromanaging.
You also have to learn unit weaknesses and strengths.
Besieging a town (or defending it) is extra hard, as you also have to manage your (or your opponent’s) siege equipment, and make sure they don’t take hold of your Town Square.
Auto Battling is much faster, but is really bugged. On higher difficulties, Auto Battles almost always end in defeats (unless you have a tremendous advantage).
Naval battles are always automatic.
Generally speaking, the game tends to be extremely easy on lower difficulties, but absolute hell on later ones.
The game also has the diplomacy part. You can make allies, trade with other factions, take map information, or even demand tribute.
But besides the diplomats, you can also train Spies to send to armies and Provinces. A good spy may even open the rival’s Province gates for you, thus eliminating the need for siege equipment.
And you can train assassins as well. Assassins can either kill a target or burn a building. They tend to start weak, so I advise you to give them easy missions to train them before you start taking generals and Heirs.
Each Faction has a basic thing they’re really good at, and every Faction has a set of exclusive units. Though most of the normally locked Factions are very weak (which is why they were locked in the first place).
But hey, if you want a good challenge, there’s nothing better than taking the Scythians on Very Hard difficulty.
The game has outstanding visuals for its age. Back then, they were impressive. Of course, they’re nowhere near today’s triple-A standards.
This is a game that you can easily play without getting a headache, like other games of that age.
All in all, the graphics have aged very well.
As I noted, the game’s visuals have aged pretty well. That goes for the whole game in general.
You can still play this game today and be entertained. There is even a mobile version for more portability.
And the fact that it’s old doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it as much.
I highly suggest you buy this on mobile devices. However, on PC, I think that buying its sequel, Total War: Rome II is a far better option.
But there is a reason why many consider this one of the best games of all time. And you won’t regret playing it.
General Rating: 6.8
Have you played this game before? Have you tried it on mobile? Want to learn more on file manipulating for more factions? Just leave a comment below.
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