Just a Little Taste

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 12:01 AM

Okay okay I know I haven't given you much to get interested about when it comes to my blog and I know what your thinking, just another douche bag who wants his own soapbox but has nothing to say yet. Well luckily, like a dodgy day time TV chef, I do happen to have something I prepared earlier. A nice little review of a computer game called Rome: Total War, you may have heard about it.....oh and before I go just remember I wrote this right after I decided I'd been rejected by my local student newspaper so well I was kind of pissed okay.

Well so far it appears I have been denied my request to VOLUNTEER for the student run VOLUNTEER magazine (not naming names cause I don't want to get sued or something). Now that must mean I'm pretty bad if I can't get a shot with the volunteer student magazine and pretty much leaves me with the options of 1) creating my OWN magazine where I can write all the articles I want or 2) write a blog. Personally I think option 2 is much more practical because well creating a magazine seems really hard and expensive and really hard, all the colour choices and zippy subject headings just seem out of my reach. So here I am writing this blog ( at the time on MySpace) and what, you may ask, will I be writing about? Video games...That's right, laugh if you must but I know I'm cool and really that's all that matters in the end.

So what about video games, well I'll tell you. Being a student, during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and getting one shift a week at my dodgy casual job I don't have any money. Therefore my gaming of late has been on the cheap, often the end result of a coin toss between eat or buy a game, but that doesn't mean the quality of the games have been cheap too. Case in point, Rome: Total War Gold Edition. This game was purchased for a poultry $20, awesome, this game also came with the Rome: Total War Barbarian Invasion expansion pack, do I hear double awesome? Yes yes I do. How freaking sweet is that! Two games in one, you can't beat that....except for maybe with 3 in 1 or 4 or ok ok so maybe you can get better in terms of the number of games but you'll be hard pressed to find better quality and you can take that to the bank, where they'll probably try to charge you a banking fee and ask for your first born child because they are all about to crumble and die if they don't do something fast. Anyway focus focus.

Rome: Total War is a turn based real time strategy game (TBRTS...yea that's my acronymn....bitch) from the Creative Assembly set during the rise of the Roman Empire. You, the snappy new commander on the block that you are, chooses to take charge of one of three competing Roman factions the Scipii, Julii or Bruti. I personally enjoyed the little cutscene after choosing your faction where your faction disses the other two, its nice to know bitching was still an important part of life during the Roman Empire. Anyway after choosing your faction you....pretty much do what you want, as long as it is pillaging and plundering the poor countries who happen to border you, excellent. Occasionally you may dabble in some trade or undertake a Senate mission (the idea is you eventually control the Senate yadda yadda it involves a lot of killing basically) but ultimately the idea is to capture as much of the known world as possible and eventually control Rome. The planning of your conquests are done from a very cool looking Risk style world map which shows your armies, provinces and enemies. When you decide to attack an opponent the game switches to a fully rendered 3D battle where you control your army.

This part of the game is fantastic. I love watching my legions clash into hordes of inferior barbarians (hey it's not my fault they aren't as awesome as my legions are) and listen to my commander give words of inspiration before battle, sometimes even making me want to pick up a sword and shield and then probably run the hell away because then I catch sight of Egyptian chariots (chariot owns pretty much everything) or Carthaginian elephants (they're freaking elephants, nuff said) rampaging through my army. The battle engine runs on a rock paper scissors system so knowing what unit beats what is important especially when commanding armies numbering over a 1000 because things will get intense really fast and whilst losing most of your army doesn't necessarily mean you'll lose it generally helps if you can keep a few alive for future battles but sometimes I'm even impressed when I lose it just looks so good.

After a battle, or a siege, did I mention there are sieges (you can either attack the city with catapults or if you are patient but a decidedly sadistic commander starve them out) your turn usually ends and you are given a run down of how your settlements have done. You can choose to either manage each settlement you control setting taxes and choosing what to build or let the AI do it, which becomes a wise choice when you control three quarters of the map and just want to focus on that last pocket of resistance. This is one problem in Rome, there are so many factions and provinces that the aptly named Grand campaign can seem to go on forever and whilst you'll eventually become so engrossed in the game that this is a good thing (FAMILY AND PARTNER WARNING: You may not speak to them till you've conquered everything...and that could be a while) the micro-management involved with running each faction got a little dull and boring and I just wanted to fight the Scythians and Egypthians and Pontus and yea it is also very easy to want to fight the whole world if you don't strategize properly.

Also one tiny problem I had was with the goddamn rebels. I mean what just because I don't think my newly conquered Germanian settlement deserves an aquaduct or a barracks or a farm or a road or the essentials to live doesn't give them the right to revolt and smash up the place. I mean clearly it was just tough love and not a sign of my flaws as a leader that they didn't get these things and what happend to sending a nice letter or a box of chocolates with a picture of a farm underneath to let me know that they needed one. Haven't they heard flattery gets you everywhere? Really though this is not a huge flaw of the game but more my personal leadership style.

Outside of the campaign there are tutorials, advisable to first time players as there is a lot to take in, historical battles, a distinctly Frank Miller less Battle of Thermopylae anyone, and you can then also create your own custom slaughters... I mean battles between any of the factions. The array of content here is just jaw droppingly impressive , pat on the back for you Creative Assembly.

There is just so much that Rome: Total War offers that I haven't even mentioned here, like special unit abilities, battle formations, campaigns from different faction perspectives or the Barbarian Invasion expansion that came with this awesome $20 Gold pack so this is definitely a recommended buy for cash strapped anyone or cashed up anyone who is welcome to slip a $20 my way for recommending it .

Rome: Total War gets 9 much needed work hours out of 10

So there you have it, a brief review of a decidedly spectacular game which I hope you've enjoyed.



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