Monday, October 24, 2005

Rome - Total War : Barbarian Invasion -at long last

Rome - Total War : Barbarian Invasion
Platform: PC
Rating: 12+
Type: RTS + TBS
Graphics: 8/10
Story: 7/10
Game play: 9/10
Multi-player: 8/10
Sound: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

At long last I have got round to reviewing this game. I wasn't expecting great things from this game as I couldn't see what they could add. The most obvious thing being more historic battles. Nope. An expanded campaign map. Nope. Who'd have though they would have practically completely reworked the code for it.

In the expansion you don't have to unlock all the cool armies, which I think is great, as most players just changed the code so they were all there anyway. All the different armies have different goals but are the normal stuff: conquer so many provinces including this one, that one and usually Rome. There are, of course still custom battles but more on them later.

Now, although the graphics haven't got any better, the same setting have much less lag on my computer. So now I can have those awesome sieges where there are like 4 armies attacking and 4 armies defending. This was discovered when my friend was the Huns, and at the start you start of with 10 armies. All of these consisting of either 19 or 20 units. He then got 9 of these to attack the same settlement. Now, admittedly it took ages to load, but when it had, it was as smooth as when you have 2 units.

The story line starts just after the Roman Empire has peaked and is now about to fall. But, as with all Total War games, as soon as you start playing it it starts to vary from what actually happened. I mean if you can play as the Romans really well and your really sad, you could probably play it to modern day. The problem being it wouldn't have any technologies. The main theme is that the Huns are coming and they wipe out the Romans. Although, as I mentioned above, different things can happen, this one is much more restrictive, it is much harder for the Romans to survive and the most likely out come is that the Romans will be destroyed, who does the destroying can change though...

Game play. Now, you might be stupid and think the game play won't have changed much in the expansion. How wrong can you be. The battles give greater detail to how your troops feel and their moral can be effected by a much greater degree of things. I swear that onagers are more accurate, or, at least, they certainly seem that way when being shot at by about ten units of them! Also their are a whole host of new special abilities; for instance, some troops can now swim across rivers, most spear-men, instead of forming a phalanx : which they do automatically, they now make a circle with all the spears poking out. They can't move and I find it increasingly annoying that I can't put archers in the middle. The big improvements is in the campaign, if your Commander has the right trait then you can conduct night attacks. This, aside from being very visually spectacular, which which it does: all units are carrying burning sticks so the battle has lots of little lights moving around, flaming arrows and stones look amazing flying around in the back sky and the moon light glinting in the river, OK I made that bit up; it gives the attacker a mild advantage: unless the reinforcements general as the night attack trait then they can't join the battle, this good as often you can take them on one at a time rather than all at once.

The campaign has been re-done completely as well. As side from all the new traits, all the armies are new, I don't think the map has changed but the province names are different. As I mentioned earlier you don't have to unlock all the factions. This both good and bad. It means you can play as any factions but it means some people will see it as pointless because your not gaining anything. The AI is a lot better. They attack you, they make their mind up on whether to be allied or not, based on your performance. Enemies apply pressure and guard hills, bridges, etc. For instance I was marching towards a Roman city and saw that my army wasn't big enough. So, I drew some men out of my cities to assist. As soon as I ended the turn the Saxons, who were also my enemy, jumped out from being hidden in the forests and attacked my cities because they were now weak. It is all together a much more enjoyable game and has meant I have played very few custom battles.

The multi-player I haven't been on but I very much doubt it will be any different from the original.

Main Strengths
-The campaign is much better
-The battles load quicker and play better on lower end machines
-It follows the same winning formula.

Main Weaknesses
-Only 2 historical battles
-Still no editor
-The games are in different programs so you can't play old Romans against new

If your wondering weather to get or not this section is for you.

If you loved RTW and just want some more of the same. - Get it, there will be plenty of historical battles to download if that is your thing.

Only play the campaign - DEFFINITLY get it. There is no excuse, it will be the best expansion pack you ever bought.

Can't be bothered with the campaign but I like the battles - Maybe, think twice about it. The battles will load better and there is a whole host of new units, but no historical battles and now major changes, it might be better to edit the old code(guide available @ and make your own historical battles.

No comments:

Post a Comment

"All your base are belong to us"