Top positive review
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The best RTS ever?
on 27 May 2006
Without a doubt. Fun in every way, this game will take you back to the world of Ancient Rome and you'll voluntarily tear up your return ticket. If you are a strategy fan and you don't have this game, then you have reason to feel guilty, because this is quite possibly the best strategy game out there today, 2 years after the initial release. Look forward also, to the release of Rome: Total War Alexander or, if you don't own any of the Total War series buy Total War Eras which contains all of the previous Total War games in addition.
My favorite part of Rome: Total War, is actually not the amazing battles between thousands of men (which are still very fun!) however playing the Imperial Campaign, in which you choose (to begin with) one of three Roman Families:
The Julii, who are based on the historical Julio-Claudian dynasty (of which the famous Gaius Julius Caeser was part). The Julii have the worst temples (which are very important). The Julii are tasked with conquering Gaul, who offer poor resistance until the Chosen Swordsman and Forester Warband come into their hands. Seize as much of Gaul early on as possible! The main problem lies in the fact that Gaul offers poor trade, even once fully conquered. Therefore when the Civil War comes around, the other two Roman Families will have lots of money to play around with (and Bribe your Generals with) where as you will have to a) make do with as little gold as possible or b) go elsewhere and try and hinder the other two roman's expansion by conquering Greece, Turkey and Carthage. If you don't do this, you will end up fighting Barbarians the whole game.
The Brutii are the Roman's who must conquer the Greeks, and generally expand in that direction (east of Rome). The Brutii have decent temples which affect unit experience (so effectivly you can churn out hardened veterans while playing the Brutii) and trade. The Brutii will benefit late game from the lucrative Aegean sea trade. This means they will be able to bribe their way when in the civil war. With this faction you should end up destroying a) the Greek Cities early on b) The Macedonians c) Pontus d) Thrace and e) Eventually the Selucids (who will be very difficult to fight!).
The Scipii are tasked with defeating Carthage. They have totally awesome temples, which increas unit experience and armour and weapons (brilliant temple!!!) and they can also build a temple which lets them (and them alone!) build the 2 biggest ships in the game, the Corvus Quinquireme and the Decare. Once they defeat Carthage they should destroy Numidia and then Eygpt. Also, if possible they should invade Spain and take a few cities on the greek peninsula (namely Athens, Sparta and Corinth, all of which will weaken the Brutii and give you some more sea trade).
Of course, you can unlock other Factions as well. Some of these can be very fun, while others are clearly underdogs, like the Greek Cities, who will struggle until they get Spartan Hoplites, generally considered the best unit of the game. Only a few factions can match the military might of the Romans though. Barbarians, particularly will struggle, with the 2 exceptions of Germania, who have powerful axemen who can send legionaries flying, and Britain, who can access all the best units the Barbarians have to offer, including chariots, Druids, Chosen Swordsmen, Woad Warriors and the gruesome Head Hurlers (uugh). Out of the Civilized factions Eygpt, whos powerful archers (best of the game) and Chariots will make the Scipii choke, and then the Selucids (who are the best non roman faction of the game easily!), who have a very good selection of units. They have Scythed Chariots (which absolutely rule!), War Elephants (which basically crush everything in their path, end of story), Armoured War Elephants (*shudder*), Silver Shield Legionaries (almost as good as the Roman type, except harder to get a hold of) and silver Shield Pikemen. Of course, they get more then just this.
Anyway, in summary, there is a great variety of play to be found in the Imperial Campaign, and when your done with that, you can play Multiplayer battles which are fun, and when your done with that, play Barbarian Invasion which is a good expansion pack!