Total War: ROME 2 hands on and interview with campaign manager Dom Starr
You Total War fans have been demanding Rome 2 and guess what, you’re getting it. The whole ‘ask and you shall receive’ comes with some powerful expectations from these fans though. It’s been nine years now, Total War: Rome 2 absolutely needs to deliver on this near decade of demands. As a Total War fan myself who got my grubby hands on this game at E3:2013, I’m going to go ahead and say you have nothing to worry about. After the demo I had the honor to interview Creative Assembly’s Campaign Manager, Dom Starr, at E3:2013 about features of the game.
The world map, the detail, the historic accuracy, the battles – it’s all looking exceptional. From the little I played I can tell I’ll already be hooked at release. The world map is so detailed that the exact location your army is standing is exactly where the battle will take place. Want to take a defensive position on top of a hill, in a forest, across a river? You can plan that. Are we near the Pyramids of Gaza? Let’s just spin the map around in battle so we can see them in the distance. As you expand your cities, they actually grow on the world map. The moral of this story is that the detail is redonkulous.
The battles include both land and sea combat now – simultaneously! In the demo I played, the Romans were stuck at the bottom of a highly fortified Egyptian hill. Not only do the Egyptians have the land advantage in this fight, but they have navel superiority and the Romans need to get their legions off those boats. While victory was simple at Egypt, I was too out of practice to win as the Romans. The mere fact that it is possible to win both blows my mind and makes me excited to get back in practice. I love the possibilities and challenge of these epic scale historic battles.
This there has been a fair share of time that has gone by since the last Rome title. Creative has gathered community feedback/desire and have learned from the original. While being a highly historic title, they don’t want to focus so much on history. A strategy gamer who knows nothing about history can pick up Rome 2, love it, and never focus on the learning opportunities. These elements exist though if you just want to absorb it all. In this Rome, the game will actually have more historic accuracy than the original. The Creative team knows to focus on the bigger battles people may know and want to being those to the player instead od only using obscure historic encounters.
As expected, each faction will have a unique feel, units, and even political systems. After all, Rome and Goths aren’t going to run their cities the same. However, Rome and Carthage will have a very similar approach with a three party system and senate. Other systems include monarchies and confederations. One of the goals in Rome 2 is to keep a balance of power. You don’t want to be weak but you also don’t want to be too powerful – you obvious and non-obvious enemies will gun for you if your power becomes too much; no one is above assassinating you. If you don’t rule well enough, your own generals can march against in a whole civil war type goodness – enjoy that.
Part of your personal political prowess will come from diplomacy. Each faction will have their own personality; but if you think you can just learn how they work and meta that knowledge for future playthroughs, don’t worry, there is still a fair share of randomness in their personalities. Diplomacy can be used for trading, fear, protection, requests, and pacts. Do you trust your neighbors? Do you work with another faction to eliminate someone? Or is it all just a trick to move your military closer?
Instead of units gaining individual experience, your legions and generals gain experience. This allows for customization through traditions; think of traditions as skill trees to deck out your legions and generals to fit your specific needs. If that legion is completely wiped out, you can raise them again but with rookie troops this time around. Can the predecessor legion live up to the original?
Lastly, we talked about tourism and wonders. Yes, there is tourism for wealthy factions. Cities with wonders of the world and legendary-great buildings will attract more tourism. Wonder fo the world give buffs to your entire faction and start in the game. If you want these for yourself you’re going to have to conquer the faction that has them; you know you want that Great Lighthouse and Hanging Gardens. Unlike wonders, legendary-great buildings are something that you build within your city to show off your cultural prowess. These structures also gives bonuses and buffs to your faction.
So… basically this game is going to be everything the fans have been demanding for now for a near decade. If you’re not a fan of the Rome faction, every faction will be selectable at the start of the game – a feature I’m admittedly excited for. September 3rd can’t come soon enough. If anxiety is eating you up, either load up the original Rome and/or preorder via Steam.