About Rome: Total War
Set during the rule of the late Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire, Rome: Total War is a real-time tactics and turn-based strategy game that takes place across Europe, North Africa and the Near East. The player assumes control of one of three Roman families with eight other factions playable outside the main campaign. The main goal of the campaign is to become emperor of Rome by conquering fifty provinces with the support of the people before capturing Rome itself although a short campaign is also available wherein success depends on besting other factions in a race to seize control of 15 provinces.
At the campaign’s beginning the player must choose from the Julii, Brutii and Scipii families, each with their own advantages, specialities and controlled regions. Then the player must work on expanding his empire on the turn-based campaign map, settling any conflicts that arise by commanding vast armies in real-time 3D battles. Each faction’s leader and all their of-age male heirs are controllable and can be used either to govern cities or as generals of armies, providing their own unique abilities as well as a morale boost to soldiers under their command. Agents can also be hired, with their own specific abilities and ancillaries. Family members will develop traits depending on their actions during battles and the campaign map and these can have both negative and positive effects.
During the turn-based part of the game the player must manage diplomacy, develop infrastructure, recruit and move armies and keep public order in check by controlling tax rates and organising gladiatorial games. Players can build and upgrade a variety of buildings in their cities including buildings focussed on keeping the populous happy, such as amphitheatres and temples, buildings that improve a city’s economy and financial contributions, such as markets and buildings used to recruit and train new military unit types such as archery ranges and stables. The player’s empire can either be expanded by recruiting large armies in owned cities and utilising these, along with family-hired mercenaries to take control of enemy cities by force or through more diplomatic means such as offering an alliance via an agent. The more cities a player controls, the greater their geographical dominance and the more taxes they can garner from the increased population. However, the more cities a player controls, the more difficult they are to keep in check. Dissatisfied populaces may choose to rebel, relinquishing the player’s control of a city and creating a rebel army that will need to be quashed in order to retake the settlement.
The real-time battle system has been improved from previous titles in a number of ways. The campaign map and battle maps are now integrated; meaning that any environmental features present in the location the battle takes place in on the campaign map – such as snowy mountains – will be present in the battle and can be used to gain a military advantage. A wide variety of faction specific unit types ranging from cavalry through to archers and artillery. Each unit has their own special abilities, formations and weak points to be considered when devising and implementing tactics. Morale is also critical a critical aspect of units; when a unit’s morale drops too low it will rout in fear but if a brave and decisive general is nearby the unit’s morale will be bolstered, affording them a greater chance of success. A number of factors affect a unit’s morale level including fatigue, terrain type, and intimidation by enemy forces, the number of casualties sustained and whether they have a perceptible tactical advantage over their enemy.
There are also a number of historical battles such as the Siege of Sparta in 272 BC for the player to play through outside of the campaign. The player usually takes the side of the outnumbered or disadvantaged army and must fight hard in order to win.
Custom multiplayer battles can also be fought online.
The third title in the Total War series, Rome was released on 22nd September by the Creative Assembly and Activision.