Set, fairly obviously, during the hey day of the first Roman Empire, the game gives you total control over your own faction with the game once again split between a turn-based strategic world map and real-time tactical battles. The former allows you to build and maintain armies and buildings, but also gives increased control over diplomacy and trade--elements that were largely overlooked in previous titles.
The real draw of the game though is the tactical battles which are now displayed using some quite staggering 3D graphics that can see up to 10,000 separate warrior in battle at one time. With units ranging from elephants and inflammable pigs to centurions and escaped slaves just watching the battles unfold is as epic as any Hollywood blockbuster. Whats perhaps most impressive about the game is that controlling such huge numbers of soldiers is actually surprisingly easy with a simple point-and-click interface making everything as smooth as possible.
Rome: Total War is one of those rare breed of games that is largely impossible to fault. In technical and gameplay terms it gets everything right and unless you have a pathological hatred of strategy games this is easily one of the best PC games ever made. --David Jenkins
The player controls mighty armies of up to 10,000 fully polygonal, highly detailed, motion-captured warriors clashing in panoramic real-time battles. Players can fight as, or against ancient history's most legendary generals including Julius Caesar, Hannibal and the rebel Spartacus.
At players' disposal will be hundreds of different troops including legionaries, hoplites, barbarian hordes, war elephants, gladiators and scythe chariots to colossal war machines such as siege towers, battering rams and catapults hurling flaming missiles. Additionally, more than 10,000 unique battlefields based on the topography of Europe and North Africa set the stage for the carnage. However, conflict is not the only way to gain favour with the senate and people of Rome; politics, diplomacy and the gladiatorial games will play key roles in the player's quest to be declared Imperator.