A cunning relaunch for the latest in the Total War series.
Creative Assembly have been top or the RTS game for quite a while now, with their Total War titles moving back and forth through the ages as each entry made improvements to the series as a whole. With the release of their latest game, Total War: Rome II, i personally was impressed and found it to be the best of the Total War games thus far. Maybe my standards are lower than many of the long time fans, or maybe I am just more forgiving, but it seems that I was in the minority and a lot of players simply found that Rome II had too many issues to be classed as a “good” game.
The result is that Total War: Rome II gained a reputation, and review scores, that would lead many players to turn the other way. The thing is, there is very little about a videogame that, in this day and age, can’t be fixed after launch. And so, Creative Assembly set about releasing patches to address the worst, and the more minor, of the problems with Rome II. However, the ghost of the launch was still following the title despite the 15 odd patches, and players were still not flocking to the vastly improved game. What could publisher SEGA do?
Well, they seem to have come up with a creative solution to this problem.
The latest patch for Total War: Rome II included a new campaign, Imperator Augustus, and the perfect opportunity to relaunch the game as Total War: Rome II – Emperor Edition.
Let’s get something straight here. If you already purchased Total War: Rome II and have been playing it regularly, then you will already have all of the patches, know how brilliant the game is and will find nothing new here. Your copy of the game will have already been updated to the Emperor Edition free of charge. If you own Total War: Rome II and have not played it for months, then the patches have improved the game, your copy has been updated to Emperor Edition complete with free campaign, and you should run along and play it right now.
This repackaging of Total War: Rome II serves two purposes: To attract new player who may have been put off from the original game by review scores or word of mouth, and to distance itself from that original game.
It is a clever idea, like a game of the year edition without any of the paid for DLC. Now, the game has a new name and new scores or positive comments to convince newcomers to part with their cash. Don’t get me wrong, Total War: Rome II – Emperor Edition will still be just as difficult for a newcomer to the series to get their head around, but the Total War games are the best grown up RTS titles around, and this is simply the best yet.
The huge number of patches since launch have fixed a myriad of problems, such as performance issues, a wonky AI and even improved upon things like diplomacy. However, the core game of two halves remains the same – the turn-based epic overworld management of cities and resources, and the real-time army leading on the battleground. With various factions to choose from, beautiful visuals and a raft of multiplayer options for the more experienced player, there is always plenty to do in Creative assembly’s return to the Rome era.
But the meat and potatoes of the latest patch, and the Emperor Edition itself, is the new stand alone Imperator Augustus campaign experience. Here, on a new campaign map, we get to see Rome thrown into civil war a couple of years after the death of Caesar. Beginning in 41 BC, players will have the choice of ten playable factions, including Marc Antony, Lepidus and Octavian, each of which are fighting to be the first Emperor of Rome.
Imperator Augustus is a campaign which switches the pace up substantially compared to the basic Grand Campaign. Tensions are high, and one faction could quite easily turn on another at any moment, forcing players to make difficult and rushed decisions as time really isn’t on their side. It is also a wealth of historical information, with what I have learned far outweighing anything from high school history lessons.
Imperator Augustus is a meaty campaign, offering hundreds of hours of gameplay, and could easily have demanded a premium DLC price. The fact that it is being offered for free proves how much Creative Assembly want to distance themselves from the base game and encourage new fans through the Emperor Edition.
And good for them, I say. We live in a time when videogames are rarely released perfect, and Total War: Rome II was less perfect than most. It still has a few issues, which will hopefully be resolved in future patches. But for now, I am more than happy to see Total War: Rome II – Emperor Edition as a new product which more than delivers on the promise of epic campaigns and large scale tactical battles. If you are a new player, it doesn’t get much better than this.