As the eighth full installment in the Total War series, Rome II is the followup to the original Rome: Total War. In the nine years since the original's release, The Creative Assembly has been honing their game development skills in this genre through other real-time strategy games in a similar vein of gameplay such as Empire: Total War and Total War: Shogun 2. Whenever a new addition of the franchise finally arrives into the hands of gamers everywhere, the question of which point in history the next game will take us almost immediately pops up. Returning to Rome has been a fan favorite choice, but the increasing focus on gunpowder units in recent installments such as Empire and the Fall of the Samurai expansion to Shogun II made fans wonder whether a World War 1 game would be the next step in that progression. To the relief of many, however, The Creative Assembly decided that the Roman time period warrants another game filled with large battles and political intrigue. The studio feels that it now has the tech, experience and the financial means necessary to do a proper sequel to Rome: Total War.
The game was released worldwide on the 3rd of September, 2013.
The core systems of Rome II — a hybrid of real-time battles and a turn-based campaign — remain true to the franchise, but The Creative Assembly has promised to shake up the formula with an improved campaign endgame, more politically interesting empire management and more realistic, engaging real-time battles.
Rome II will feature a prologue campaign that will introduce and teach new players to how to play the campaign and the real-time battles. In the campaign, players take the role of fictional Roman general, Silanus, who is voiced by actor Mark Strong. In the prologue campaign, Silanus is on a quest to obtain more military power as he rises from a mid-ranked officer to a pro-consul.
In Rome II, The Creative Assembly are making a number of revisions to the campaign.
One of most significant changes to the campaign is the new army system. Unlike previous games in the series, armies cannot exist without a general and there is a limit to the number of armies a faction may field at any one time. This limit is tied to the faction's "power", which is calculated much like "fame" in Shogun 2. The intention behind the army system is to make battles more decisive — by limiting the number of armies in play, losing one becomes much more significant. To offset the new army limit, armies can now enter a "forced march" stance which enables them move around the campaign map rapidly. While in a forced-march, an army cannot attack, and it it is attacked the army will suffer a morale penalty in battle.
Armies are raised from settlements, after which a General must be appointed to lead it. Units are recruited to armies directly; while recruiting, an army will enter "muster mode", during which it cannot move.
For the first time, armies will be customizable beyond just the unit composition. For instance, players can change an army's name and its emblem. Over time, armies will gain "traditions", which persist even if an army is wiped out, so long as the new army retains the name and emblem of its predecessor.
Regions and Settlements
Unlike Empire, Napoleon and Shogun 2, regions will now consist solely of a settlement and the surrounding land. New to the series are provinces, a grouping of two to four regions. If a faction owns every region in a province, they can pass edicts which apply various bonuses to that province. Additionally, all constructions options for a province can be managed from a single screen, and happiness is calculated province-wide for each faction.
One settlement in each province is designated the province capital. Capitals have more building slots, and a city siege map when assaulted. In comparison, all other settlements are minor settlements, their core buildings reflecting their region's specialty. When a minor settlement is assaulted, a regular land battle takes with the settlement visible in the distance. Both capitals and minor settlements will have garrisons that are mustered when attacked.
Since there are no longer resource slots outside of settlements, armies can now enter a "raid" stance. This reduces the army's upkeep and, when in enemy territory, produces some income. If an army enters raid stance in friendly territory is causes unhappiness in the region.
Internal diplomacy will be given some much needed complexity, with each faction consisting of multiple dynasties, tribes or bases of power. After selecting a faction, the player must chose their dynasty and throughout the game deal with rivalries, personality clashes, and even outright betrayal within their faction. Individual generals will be more prominent and developed, and have unique traits and relationships with other units. In a major change from earlier games, armies will no longer be able to move without a general to lead them.
As part of an effort to streamline the often tedious endgame, the controversial Realm Divide from Shogun II has been removed, although players will still face more and more internal opposition as they grow stronger. Relationships between factions will be more granular, as specific deeds will be remembered by other nations and accumulate both with them and their own allies to form power blocs opposed to you.
On the battlefield, there will be greater unit variety and more delineation between the different factions. This addresses a major complaint with the original game, where the Roman faction featured a vast array of unique units while other factions tended to field more generic armies. For example, while Gaul and Germania shared many units and a general aesthetic in the original Rome: Total War, Arverni (Gaul) and Suebi (Germania) in Rome II will, aside from from low-level missile units and spearmen, have unique unit rosters and distinct visual styles. Between land units, mercenaries, auxiliaries, artillery and ships there will be around 700 unique units in the game.
In addition to more unique unit types, soldiers within those units will be more varied. Cosmetically, this means a greater variety of faces and clothing, and, for the first time, height differences between men. Unit-level behaviour is will also be improved with superior animation — where individual units will automatically look towards nearby enemies or raise their shields above their heads under projectile fire — and audio design, where units will let out situational 'barks' as they react to to their surroundings, such as a captain rallying his men.
Rome II will feature dynamic line-of-sight which limits the player's view of the map to that of their units. Units will have varying levels of sight; for example, heavily armored cavalry units will have poor visibility due to their cumbersome helmets, or enemy units could hide behind the crest of a hill. According to The Creative Assembly, this can have a profound impact on gameplay, increasing the need for scouts and encouraging better awareness of one's flanks. Further increasing the importance of terrain, the geography of a battle map is persistent throughout the campaign, so a player that is familiar with a certain mountain pass, for example, can use that knowledge to their advantage for setting ambushes or hiding units.
Rome II also introduces a new battlefield view to the series, the Tactical View. Tactical View is a high-level overview of the battlefield where groups of units are represented by colored markers, not unlike the highest zoom level in games like Supreme Commander and Sins of a Solar Empire. This view will be necessary to manage the more large-scale battles, as for the first time in the franchise, naval and land battles can take place on the same unified battle map — an attacking player may begin by breaking a naval blockade, then disembarking troops to storm a city.
Historical Battles — scripted encounters that have been a pillar of the series since the original Shogun — will return in Rome II. Confirmed Historical Battles include The Siege of Carthage, which depicts the deciding battle of the Third Punic War, and The Battle of Teutoburg Forest, which pits an ambushed Roman legion against the Germanic tribes.
Rome II's factions represent the major powers that were around during the centuries of Roman dominance, from Germanic and Iranian barbarians to the economic powerhouses of Carthage and Parthia. The Creative Assembly has stressed that each faction will bring their own unique gameplay experience both in the campaign and on the battlefield, as some may be better as commercial powers while others tend to have more balanced armies. There will be three common tech trees that represent civic, military and engineering advancement. Each faction also has its own political system that will force players to make specific decisions that reflect the style of that faction's government. For instance, a Roman player has to ability to choose which patrician family their leader will be a member of, which will provide them with unique traits and opportunities, while dealing with the whims of the Senate whose goals may not always align with the player's.
Like the original Rome: Total War, the player chooses from one of three great Roman houses. In Total War: Rome II, these factions are the Julia, the Cornelia, and the Junia. Each faction will have unique cultural, economic and martial benefits along with enjoying Rome's excellence in metalwork and a superior military. The Roman military is disciplined, well-equipped and well-rounded with an equal emphasis on regular infantry and cavalry.
As an economic power with a small population, Carthage, founded by Near-Eastern Phoenician settlers in North Africa, relies primarily on mercenaries units for its military might although it may also deploy elite indigenous units like the Sacred Band and mighty War Elephants. Like the Roman faction, players may choose between one of three major Carthaginian political powers, each of which confers unique benefits. Carthage's army is mainly led by Hannibal Barca, considered one of the greatest military commanders in history.
The Macedonian military draws heavily from the traditions of Alexander, relying primarily on infantry and cavalry. Historically not a naval power, Macedon will have to rely on other sea-faring Hellenic states for it's naval ability. Macedon will gain an advantage when fighting other Hellenic factions and each client state controlled will result in improved economic and provincial growth.
The Iceni are an Iron-Age tribe from southern Britain who, unique among Celtic tribes, go to battle wearing characteristic blue warpaint. They rely primarily on infantry, who usually wield sword and spear coupled with large rectangular shields. A warlike culture means the Iceni population's happiness will increase as the tribe declares war.
The Arverni are a warlike tribe from central Gaul. Like the Iceni, the Arverni are dependent on their infantry, wielding elite units like the Oathsworn and Spear Nobles. The Arverni are deeply spiritual, and as such often defer to their Druids in matters of war and peace.
Suebi (Germanic Tribes)
A coalition of Germanic tribes, the Suebi habit the lands northeast of Gaul. They are not a unified nation, rather this faction is made up of tribes that share a common language and religious beliefs. Suebian warriors are usually lightly equipped, and rarely use swords. Instead, they make use of a javelin-like spear known as the framea.
The successor to the ancient Persian Empire, the Parthian Empire is a multicultural confederation, consisting of an Iranian ruling elite, the Parthians and Persians, along with the Babylonians, Hellenistic Greeks, and other local tribes within the Middle East and Central Asia. Parthia relies on its strong cavalry to win its battles, as they wield nomadic horse-archers as well as heavy cavalry that's equipped with scaled bronze and iron armor (i.e. cataphracts, or knights). Parthia is considerably weaker on the infantry side, as it relies on Persian hillmen, skirmisher units, and sometimes Seleucid mercenaries, to fight on foot.
The Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt was founded by the Macedonian general Ptolemy after the death of Alexander, and as such has close ties to the Hellenistic world. Since conquering Egypt, the Ptolemies have embraced Egyptian customs, ruling as Pharaohs and worshipping Egyptian gods. This shared culture has bled over to the military, resulting in a balanced fighting force that makes use of spear and pike, skilled swordsmen, scythed chariots and exotic war elephants. Egypt's final Pharaoh was Queen Cleopatra.
Pontus is a collection of Greek colonies ruled by a re-emergent Persian dynasty. Fueled by valuable commodities and keen leadership, Pontus ranks among the most powerful Hellenistic states. Seen as progressive, Pontus maintains close ties to Greek states and successor kingdoms. Bronze-shield pikemen make up the backbone of the Pontus military, with their deadly scythed chariots striking fear into the enemy.
The Pontus faction will be available for free through a day-one content update.
Athens is renowned for its cultural achievements in architecture, art, writing, and government, and is at the vanguard of Greek culture. Controlling the prosperous region of Attica, its navy continues to be a dominant force in the eastern Mediterranean. On land, Athens fields a formidable combination of spear-wielding Hoplites supported by archers.
Athens is included in the Greek States Culture Pack DLC.
Epirus is a Greek kingdom consisting of numerous small towns and villages. Primarily a fishing-based society, most of Epirus' trade is conducted via its Adriatic sea ports. Eripus maintains a balanced army of cavalry, archers, pikemen, peltasts and war elephants.
Epirus is included in the Greek States Culture Pack DLC.
Sparta is a militaristic Hellenic society composed of The Spartiates (citizens), The Periokoi (non-citizen merchants and traders) and The Helots (slave labours). With The Periokoi and The Helots fueling Spartan society, citizens are free to pursue martial perfection. Renowned for their discipline and virtue, Sparta continues to produce arguably the finest soldiers in the Hellenic world.
Sparta is included in the Greek States Culture Pack DLC.
Based in Syria, founded by Alexander's general Seleucus Nicator, it is essentially a Hellenistic state that has assimilated much Near-Eastern culture. They are renowned for their cities and civil engineering, and in the process, developed an abhorrence for the concept and practice of slavery. Their multiculturalism means they suffer less from public order issues arising from foreign cultures entering their territories.
On the battlefield, the Seleucids have access to a diverse roster of units such as the elite cataphracts, horse skirmishers, war elephants and a core of excellent spear and pike infantry.
The Seleucid faction will be available for free post-launch.
A nomadic Iranian tribe inhabiting the steppes of Central Asia and Eastern Europe, widely regarded as dangerous barbarians by the civilized cultures of the time, the Scythians were fierce and uncompromising in their approach to war and violence. As a nomadic faction, they are keen raiders, capable of recruiting units units rapidly. Despite their fearsome reputation, they are renowned for their craftsmanship, which contributes greatly to their economy.
The Royal Scythians faction is included in the Nomadic Tribes Culture Pack DLC.
The Roxolani are Iranian steppe nomads based in Eastern Europe, and as such make fine horsemen, ruthless soldiers and a merciless enemy. Like the other nomadic factions, they are adept raiders and can recruit troops rapidly from their home province. The Roxolani are keen to expand, and fight zealously in foreign lands. Despite their aggression, they also make for keen traders.
Roxolani is included in the Nomadic Tribes Culture Pack DLC.
The Massagetae are a nomadic Iranian tribe from Central Asia, capable of raising armies at a rapid rate and striking their enemies quickly. They maintain an abundance of livestock, a result of their pastoral lifestyle, which forms the backbone of their economy. Despite being nomads, they have a history of crushing large civilized armies like the Persians with their fierce horsemen.
Massagetae is included in the Nomadic Tribes Culture Pack DLC.
A successor state from the far Middle East Baktria started life as one of the farthest east of all of the Greek colonies that once comprised Alexander's eastern empire. The City State of Baktria had one of the densest populations of Geek colonists in Alexander's empire. This has led to Baktria fielding armies of heavily armed and armored Hellenistic style troops. Though due to its location and influence from some of its more eastern neighbors the Bactrians also have access to heavily armored cataphracts as well as swift horse archers. The Bactrians are savy traders and have strong a strong industrial infrastructure. Their Hellenistic culture is also alluring to other civilizations.
The Bactrians were added post launch via a free update
Like Empire, Napoleon and Shogun 2 before it, Rome II is expected to feature a robust collection of post-launch downloadable content. Two pieces of DLC have been confirmed so far — the Pontus Faction Pack and the Greek States Culture Pack.
The Pontus Faction Pack was added to the game as a freely available day-one content update.
Greek States Culture Pack
The Greek States Culture Pack includes the Hellenic factions of Athens, Sparta, and Epirus. It was initially available as a pre-order bonus.
The Seleucid faction was added to the game in October 2013 as part of a free post-release patch.
Nomadic Tribes Culture Pack
The Nomadic Tribes Culture Pack, released October 22nd, adds three new playable factions to the game. Included are the Royal Scythians, Roxolani and the Massageta.
Rome II will use Steam for activation, distribution, matchmaking and achievements.
|Minimum Specifications||Recommended Specifications|
CPU: 2 GHz Intel Dual Core processor / 2.6 GHz Intel Single Core processor
CPU: 2nd Generation Intel Core i5 processor or greater
RAM: 2GB RAM
RAM: 4GB RAM
Graphics Card: 512 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card (shader model 3, vertex texture fetch support)
Graphics Card: 1024 MB DirectX 11 compatible graphics card
Hard Drive: 35 GB HD space
Hard Drive: 35 GB HD space
Screen Resolution: 1024x768
Screen Resolution: 1920x1080