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.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Blog Update

***********************************Massive Apology*******************************
Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry
********************************End of Massive Apology***************************

Wo, I am high on BI. Yes, I got Barbarian Invasion, no I haven't reviewed it. Sorry for the late update, wow I am in a rhyming like crazy, I was in Edinburgh for the weekend.

My time in Edinburgh
I had a great time in Edinburgh, but I have learnt one crucial thing, just because its red man doesn't mean it isn't 100% safe to cross. It is kind of similar to France, green doesn't mean it is safe, just means it is more safe than normal. Also I walked into the Scottish nationals party meeting. Whoops. We went to the new parliament and there was a band playing out side. We went to watch, thinking it was some local band. After they had finished their song we noticed the 'Independent Scotland' banners and then this guy started talking about the parliament with out power. We left rather sharpishly as, if they are anything like the British nationals in spooks, would get attacked; I didn't fancy that.

Apart from that we did lots of cool things, like we went to Mary Kings Close, what happened was hundreds of years ago the was a close called Mary Kings Close, and Edinburgh needed to build a new building. Instead of demolishing all the old buildings they just built on top. This means that now they have excavated it and we get to see what it was like in those times. There were, of course, ghost stories attached but it was good. We did the tour as well but I had these really odd pains in my stomach so we went back to the apartment.

Enough about my holidays. I got barbarian invasion(In Edinburgh, not on the day it came out though) and have started playing it. Initial impressions, not sure. Slightly concerned about there only being 2 historical battles but it looks good.

Xbox 360 IS coming out November 22nd (don't hold me to that date) with PGR3 and a couple of other games. I will be doing my 4 parter on the next gen consoles soon, 1st one definitely coming out before the 360. Also my friend is going to get it so when he does I will have an interview with him.

All this 360 talk, everyone has forgotten about AoE 3. Like I have said, mixed impressions from me and many other people. I also want to get Splinter Cell Chaos Theory but I hope to get that for Christmas. I don't think I will get Spartan Total Warrior unless everyone says it amazing because it looks kind of simple with no depth.

More retro reviews of games like Alpha Centauri and Age of Empires 1 coming soon as well, but first BI.

Also, I have a site meter on this blog, and intil last week I was convinced that I had no readers, but I had 20 people last week, and none of them were me. I am just intrigued so if you do read this blog please leave a comment. I don't care, merly intrigued...

"All your base are belong to us"