Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH - Mike Wil­cox Email mike@ hy­per­ac­tiveg­ames. com


RRP: $ 89 ( Re­viewed on PC)

WITH more than nine new playable fac­tions and lo­ca­tions – spread from Bri­tan­nia and Greece to the sands of north­ern Africa – new­com­ers to the To­tal War se­ries could be ini­tially over­whelmed em­bark­ing on this game’s grand cam­paign, which be­gins in 272BC.

The long- run­ning To­tal War fran­chise is renowned for of­fer­ing one of the most ad­vanced strat­egy gam­ing en­gines, and for new­com­ers, a hand­ful of tu­to­rial chap­ters in­tro­duce the basics.

There are al­ways two sides to a To­tal War game – one be­ing the phys­i­cal bat­tle com­po­nent, con­trolled en­tirely by the player, while the other is on mak­ing diplo­matic de­ci­sions which af­fect your re­la­tion­ships with neigh­bour­ing na­tions.

How­ever, as chief mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor, the ul­ti­mate aim in any given cam­paign is to con­quer one and all through care­ful plan­ning, pick­ing the right bat­tles, man­ag­ing a host of re­sources and mak­ing smart po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions.

Rome II runs on the same turn­based bat­tle­ground game engine as the de­vel­oper’s pre­vi­ous ti­tle, Shogun II, of­fer­ing an im­pres­sive va­ri­ety of fac­tors that af­fect the out­come of bat­tles, from tac­ti­cal flank­ing ma­noeu­vres to us­ing the land­scape as cover. Even troop morale needs to be taken into ac­count.

The new “true line of sight” fea­ture is par­tic­u­larly cun­ning. The brow of a hill, for ex­am­ple, now keeps your units hid­den from the en­emy’s view, even if they’re well within strik­ing dis­tance.

The other main as­pect of Rome II sees you pull away from the chaotic bat­tles to the less ex­cit­ing, but es­sen­tial, cam­paign map mode.

As your fac­tion en­coun­ters new na­tions, diplo­macy and ne­go­ti­a­tions are vi­tal to the growth of your em­pire.

For ex­am­ple, trade agree­ments can be made and al­liances forged to pre­vent in­va­sions. It’s the te­dious pol­i­tics and lo­gis­tics in this mode which may de­ter some gamers.

The vi­su­als are in­cred­i­bly de­tailed and the an­i­ma­tions are fluid, but sadly if you’re not equipped with a rel­a­tively new gam­ing PC, you’re un­likely to ex­pe­ri­ence all that Rome II of­fers.

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