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Rome: Total War

Developer: Creative Assembly Publisher: Activision
12 April 2004
Rome: Total War - cover art
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353 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#386 All-time
#29 for 2004
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3xCD-ROM
DE 5 030917 023378
Rome: Total War Gold Edition
2005 Creative Assembly Sega  
8 716051 010197
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Title
Rome: Total War is a strategy game that consists of two game-play styles. The main part of the game is turn-based, with the actual battles taking place in real-time. Each turn jumps time ahead by a season, therefore there are four turns for the year.

The campaign mode is a single-player affair. You can initially pick from one of the three Roman factions, Brutii, Julii and Scipii which have subtle differences. The Senate, based in Rome, dish out orders to the Roman factions, such as to blockade a port or attack a settlement. Success brings financial rewards and more popularity. You can eventually take Rome for yourself through politics or conquest. Apart from these optional orders from the Senate, you have command of your faction.

You start out with a few settlements and can start queueing up buildings and units. In each settlement, you need to manage the population, income, and public order.

Population determines how large the settlement is. Surpassing the stated benchmarks upgrades it from village, town, city or so on. This unlocks more building types to build there. You need to keep 'public order' above 100% or else the residents may riot. Rioting can make you completely lose control of the settlement, or take a hit to your population, soldiers or buildings (decided by a random event). Having units garrisoned in cities increases 'public order' and protects your cities from hostile attacks. You need to manage population to make sure disease doesn't spread. You can limit population by training soldiers which takes the trainees from the population. Certain buildings increase money, health, public order or allow you to train different units.

Your units have a movement allowance that determines how much they can cover in a single turn, with the terrain type imposing a restriction on this. Moving over roads allows you to cover greater distances than moving over open ground.

You can see armies on the map represented by a soldier carrying a flag. Initially, you have limited intel so are unaware of how large the army is and what units it consists of. More is revealed to you with each turn they stay within your line of sight or you can make use of spies to find this information for you.

It's easy to split an army up into smaller groups and you can use two groups to attack the same enemy. This allows you to potentially attack with greater numbers (since there is a limit per army), and each army starts in a different position when fighting, giving you greater scope for flanking your enemies.

When you engage in battle, you have the choice of taking control of the battle on the field, or automatically resolving it. Taking control means you play a real-time battle, whereas resolving just tells you if you have won or lost and gives you statistics of number of casualties.

When you are attacked, you have the choice of retreating. Doing this moves your army automatically on the map (usually towards a settlement or boat) but at the cost of lowered morale and tiredness. Depending on movement allowances, the attacking army might be able to attack you again that turn and easily defeat your army.

A unit gains battle experience when participating in battles. Once a unit surpasses a threshold, they level-up which leads to improvements in its statistics.

When you reach an enemies settlement, you can choose to blockade it which hinders trade and allows you to take control by starving your enemy. You can also choose to attack to attempt to take the settlement if you don't want to wait the specified amount of turns. If you attack a settlement and choose to take control of the battle., your army will stand outside the enemies gates with the enemy behind them. You need to use siege weapons to take down the gate, then rush in to battle hand-to-hand. You take the settlement when you reach the centre which is a large flagged area.

After you take over a settlement, you can choose Occupation, Enslavement or Extermination. Occupation switches control to your faction. Enslavement spreads the population over your existing cities and Extermination wipes out the populace and gives you a large amount of cash.

You can build ships which are used to transport your armies, blockade ports, or to engage in sea battles. You cannot take control of sea battles, so its up to the simulation to report the results.

Your faction has a set of Leaders who are family members. The men are physical units you can control and their skills are either in battle or management (or a combination of the two). The women will marry men who will join your family, and will produce children which expand the family further. There's a random chance that any member can die, with the chance increasing as they age. Men can be defeated in battle too. It is important to keep this family as extensive as possible to allow more control over the cities and to keep the faction strong.

Placing leaders in a settlement uses them as a Governor. This allows you full control of the settlement allowing you control over which units and buildings to queue, plus receiving a bonus to public order. Otherwise it is auto-managed. If the settlement has an Academy, the governor may gain increases to his skills over time. His skills can also increases by gaining 'retinues'. These people are nothing more than a characteristic that is associated with the Governor. When the Governor dies, the retinues disappear, rather than associating themselves with someone else.

You can easily move the Governor out of the settlement, in which case the settlement automatically goes back to being auto-managed unless you have another Leader in the settlement. When on the map, Leaders serve as Generals for armies which makes your army more effective in battle depending on their Command statistic. Leaders appear as heavy cavalry units on the battlefield. They can only be defeated when their bodyguard units have been defeated.

In addition to the various soldiers that comprise your army, you can use three types of special units; the diplomat, spy and assassin.

A Diplomat is required to negotiate deals which can be mutually beneficial or more threatening such as demanding cash or else you will declare war. Diplomats have an influence skill which can be used to bribe armies causing them to switch allegiances or disband.

The spy has a large range of sight and are hidden from other players unless they run into the enemy or are uncovered by an enemy spy. Their main purpose is to infiltrate cities which reveals information about a settlement and its current garrison. The Spy's Subterfuge skill determines if he is successful and if he is, how much is revealed. Failure usually results in death. When stationed in the enemy settlement, there's a chance he will open the gates if you choose to attack, resulting in a quicker invasion of the settlement.

The Assassin can be used to take out Leaders and Diplomats. Just like the spy, they are stealthy so will remain invisible unless detected. A failed assassination attempt can result in death.

When in battle, I found the gameplay to be a bit cumbersome. The map is massive which means it takes a while to get your units into the action. When the battles are on an open field, sometimes I found it difficult to see where the enemy was. You can zoom the camera in/out but are limited in the distance you can scroll (I think its the distance representing their line of sight). I often found that moving large amount of units to be quite slow and cumbersome since the units like to stay in formation which often means they take a while to line up before moving efficiently together. This is frustrating if you do have the enemy charging towards you.

Certain units like cavalry are effective when charging in, but after this they are ineffective. This means you have to try and pull them away and move other units in that do specialise in close combat.

There's quite a few options you have available to you such as grouping clusters of units together and setting various stances. I didn't find the tutorial very helpful at explaining when to use these concepts. If it did tell me, it was a bit too brief and didn't prompt later on.

Since I found this aspect of the game to be quite frustrating, and in typical strategy game fashion - taking an extremely long time to complete; I decided to often skip this aspect and make use of the auto-resolve feature to decide the battle result. It's also worth noting that it crashed on a frequent basis when selecting the real-time option. This is possibly a Windows 10 issue.

Even when spending all your time on the turn-based map, the game is a gruelling task. Marching across Europe and taking over settlements is no quick and easy task. This means Total War does require a significant time investment if you want to complete one game, never-mind several attempts with different factions.
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CaptainClam 2019-11-04T18:06:03Z
2019-11-04T18:06:03Z
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Rise to Power
While i have no trouble admiting that Total War games are very much like sports games by this point, meaning that the most current iteration is most likely the superior one, i did have a lot of fun with Rome Total War back when it was released. In the campaign you control one of the 3 roman factions, and you objective is to conquer the other factions throughout europe and eventually even Rome itself.

Its a deep strategy game, divided between the city building aspects and the real time battles. Well, it was only the former for me because i tended to skip the battles. They were too long for me, and because i am no good at RTS i ended up doing worst then the automatic AI. The city building however is a blessing to experience. You have to balance the happiness of your citizens with the economy of the town, and you cant forget to live some resources on the side to build your army since you are at war after all. The tech tree is huge, and its really satisfying to advance your civilization throughout the ages.

I love the touch of your family gaining perks and actually becoming useful through you as they acquire education and whatnot. Its heartbreaking to hear your senate ordering them to suicide, and your not ready for war right now.

I really enjoyed this game when i played it, and cant see why i wouldnt know. Except that there are sequels with much more polished visuals and UI and gameplay.
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Catalog

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Morgone Rome: Total War 2024-03-24T15:09:36Z
2024-03-24T15:09:36Z
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Content rating
ESRB: T
Media
3x CD-ROM
Multiplayer options
LAN, Online
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  • ... 2022-07-23 06:45:01.157044+00
    Ojal√° el Medieval hubiera sido igual de bueno
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  • Cognizant_Koala 2023-03-29 01:27:28.861071+00
    I'd say the engine added with a couple of enhancement mods makes this the most realistic battle simulator I've ever played - has it aged poorly? Yes - Does it feel good leveling a general, gaining amazing attributes and running ridiculously outnumbered battles that you shouldn't win compared the the shlock style of later total war games - A thousand times yes

    If CA had returned to the roots of Rome & Medieval 2, and fixed the AI, delved into better action and historical accuracy they could make an even better game but alas
    reply
    • Xantha_Paij 2023-11-25 18:29:06.089788+00
      Which mods?
    • Cognizant_Koala 2024-05-27 11:14:57.378954+00
      europa barbarum, roma surrectum (both of which have been merged in rome rome remastered) rome realism etc

      best place for original mods is on twcenter forums
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  • Cognizant_Koala 2023-03-29 01:27:57.983264+00
    obviously I'm biased, I fucking loved this game as a kid
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