Total War: Rome 2 Review — Thumbs Down

 

I’ve played more than 30 hours of Total War: Rome 2. Except that most of that time has been spent not playing it — checking e-mail, scrolling through Twitter on my phone, making a sandwich, smoking a cigarette. Creative Assembly’s new strategy behemoth is full of technical problems, but none is more frustrating than the game’s endless turn-processing times. Even on a well-appointed PC that exceeds Rome II’s minimum requirements, hitting the “End Turn” button kicks off a churning cycle of AI processing that can last more than a minute and a half. Circular sigils bearing exotic, classical names zoom by in alphabetical order, some fast, some slow, some painfully slow. And there are so many:

Rome Carthage Iceni Egypt Sparta Averni Athens Epirus Parthia Pontus Suebi Seleucid Aedui Etruscan League Aestii Anartes Aorsi Arachosia Ardhan Arevaci Ardiaei Aria Arse Armenia Artebartes Axum Baktria Bastarnae Biephi Bithynia Blemmyes Boii Breuci Brigantes Cantabri Cappdocia Caledones Carnutes Celtici Cherusci Cimmeria Colchis Cyrenica Dahae Daorsi Demetae Drangiana Dumnonii Ebdani Edetani Eravisci Frisii Gaetuli Galatia Gallaeci Garamantia Gerrhaea Getae Gutones Helvetii Himyar Insubres Kartli Khorasmii Knossos Libya Liguria Lugii Ma’in Marcomani Masaesyli Mascat Massegetae Massilia Media Atropatene Meroe Nabatea Namnetes Nasamontes Nervii Nori Nova Carthago Odrysian Kingdom Parthava Pergamon Persia Pictones Quidri Raeti Roxolani Sagartia Sardes Sordisci Sequani Siraces Royal Scythia Sequanes Siraces Thyssagetae Treverii Turdetani Tylis Veneti Vicisci Syracuse Rhodos Slaves

Then the next turn begins. Maybe you have battles to fight, or buildings to build, but maybe you don’t. So you hit the button again, and turn back to your phone.

Rome Carthage Iceni Egypt Sparta Averni Athens Epirus Parthia Pontus Suebi Seleucid Aedui Etruscan League Aestii Anartes Aorsi Arachosia Ardhan Arevaci Ardiaei Aria Arse Armenia Artebartes Axum Baktria Bastarnae Biephi Bithynia Blemmyes Boii Breuci Brigantes Cantabri Cappdocia Caledones Carnutes Celtici Cherusci Cimmeria Colchis Cyrenica Dahae Daorsi Demetae Drangiana Dumnonii Ebdani Edetani Eravisci Frisii Gaetuli Galatia Gallaeci Garamantia Gerrhaea Getae Gutones Helvetii Himyar Insubres Kartli Khorasmii Knossos Libya Liguria Lugii Ma’in Marcomani Masaesyli Mascat Massegetae Massilia Media Atropatene Meroe Nabatea Namnetes Nasamontes Nervii Nori Nova Carthago Odrysian Kingdom Parthava Pergamon Persia Pictones Quidri Raeti Roxolani Sagartia Sardes Sordisci Sequani Siraces Royal Scythia Sequanes Siraces Thyssagetae Treverii Turdetani Tylis Veneti Vicisci Syracuse Rhodos Slaves

This is, unfortunately, not the only technical problem. Just speaking personally, I have also experienced lock-ups, crashes, balance issues, and AI behavior on the campaign map and battlefield that ranges from the bizarre to the game-breaking. Creative Assembly have been on the defensive since launch day, at first claiming that such issues affected “2%” of customers, and promising a patch. Initially I gave the developers the benefit of the doubt, only to find that the patch failed to fix any of the problems I was having with the game. Having read numerous reviews and forum posts, and combined them with my own experience, I can draw only one conclusion: Creative Assembly released a game that is at best beta-quality, and at worst downright unplayable.

UPDATE: After three patches, Total War: Rome II is actually playable, and therefore much more fun. Take a look at my current impressions, one month on.

Total War: Rome II
Platforms: PC
Developer: Creative Assembly
Publisher: SEGA
Released: September 3, 2013
MSRP: $59.99

There are, of course, many improvements over previous games in the series. The work of an army of developers — on tiny, realistic-looking phalanxes, meticulous research, and unit cards that look like classical pottery — has not gone in vain. But for nearly every gleaming coin of innovation comes a flipside of unintended consequence. The best example is described above. Though a gigantic map — the series’ biggest ever — sounds like a wonderful idea during the pre-release hype cycle, it collapses under the weight of endless AI factions, and quickly loses its luster.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

8 Comments on Total War: Rome 2 Review — Thumbs Down

Kevin

On September 16, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Really a shame. I liked Shogun 2, but really, so far I think the series peak was Medieval 2. It played a lot like Rome with only minor improvements.

In 6 months this will be a good game, either because of patches or because of modders. Until then though, its a waste of money.

Chris

On September 17, 2013 at 4:28 am

All I can say is DONT DO IT this is terrible, endless cycles, game that decides to cycle at 1/10th speed repeatedly, combined with massive turn cycles this can last up to 10 min a turn on a high end PC.

I understand they spent a lot of research and effort but forgot one main point games must be enjoyable, this is tedious and just plain frustrating.

Almost all of their other stable are far more enjoyable don’t waste your time or money on this.

SeanW

On September 17, 2013 at 6:59 am

I’ve played every Total War game since the initial release of the original Shogun, and this is by far their worst release. So many features of previous TW games are either missing entirely or are so badly implemented that I wouldn’t even consider it a beta, and the lack of a functional AI just makes the game pointless to play.

If the fault lies with SEGA for pushing the game out long before it’s ready, then CA need to find another publisher. If the fault lies with CA, then the overall project manager and the manager of CA’s testers need to be fired before they finish destroying the company.

RSX394

On September 17, 2013 at 6:08 pm

The way you ended this article could not have stated this more perfectly. I’m not sure if this game was a product of a passive fan base, an overworked and under payed development team or both but CA should be extremely ashamed of this release.

This game is god awful. I’m glad that there are articles that are actually telling it like it is. All of the other major ones gave this game a ridiculously good review that once again led consumers to purchase this horrible CA release. I learned my lesson after Empire Total War. That was the last game I was going to buy from CA that would steal my money. If they want 20 dollars when I pull this thing out of the bargain bin or a steam sale after it has been fully patched and made playable, so be it, but I will never give them a release price they will never deserve. After test running someone else’s copy of this game it is obvious that the creative assembly are up to their old tricks and its simply because the consumer allows it.

This is largely the problem with young consumers, rather than feel the discomfort of having to put off buying a product to make a statement, they just run out and buy anything to avoid the feeling of not playing the game on release. So we all continuously get stuck with these broken games.

You said it the best by stating,

“Maybe Creative Assembly and SEGA will learn a lesson. Maybe Total War fans will. Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic.”

Absolutely right, with such a timid fan base there is really no hope for well polished well thought out Total War games as long as these people are lining up down the street to feed CA money. Why would they change? Even if it’s broke, the consumers still paying, so don’t fix it.

And don’t tell me them patching it, is fixing it. I mean the cycle of releasing garbage again and again. If you buy a game and have to wait 6 months to a year for it to be truly playable. Than you have been ripped off…. again.

Manuel

On September 18, 2013 at 2:43 am

This is the first true honest review of this game that I have read on the Internet

Dominick M

On September 22, 2013 at 10:07 am

Thanks for taking the time to review this properly. I’ve been searching for a new video game outlet after RPS went full social justice warrior mode caring more about “the issues” than the games themselves. Consider yourself bookmarked!

Eddie

On November 3, 2013 at 6:55 am

this game sucks so much. the first one is better.

Peterwb

On November 6, 2013 at 11:24 pm

I have had this game 1 week starting from Nov 1st. I have yet to play the campaign. When I try to play this $60 game it crashes on the very first AI turn every time. Game freezes during nation cycle, then crashes the PC to a reboot. It is not my PC, my config is more than adequate for this game. PC has been built for gaming. Without all details Im running win7, 6Core Intel Proc, 8GB Mem, 2GB Vid Card. Once again same as in Empire TW the AI crashes on saves but in Rome2 it is worse its unplayable for me.