December 9, 2012, 12:00

2013 Most Anticipated – #23 Total War: Rome II

By Dave Irwin, Sub-Editor

Editor’s Note: We’ve chosen our twenty-five most anticipated games of 2013 from an extension list of confirmed and almost certain releases for next year. Having each voted for the games on the list and then processing the results through a methodical algorithm we’re here to bring you the results. We’ll take a look at what we know about each game, plus the reasons the team voted for each title, with an article every day until the end of the year – when we’ll reveal our most anticipated game of 2013. To see all previous games in this feature, visit the dedicated stream.

First announced in July, it came as a bit of a surprise to me when Eurogamer provided such a large amount of detail about the new game. From the success of last year’s Total War: Shogun II, Creative Assembly – an English developer based in Horsham, West Sussex, have poured a huge amount of resources and effort in developing quite a lot of new features.

We ran an interview in October shortly after the Eurogamer Expo in London where we got some very juicy details, including how the game will feature a more human element as guys get killed, and how they want it to have the same minimum specs as the previous game. It’s a rather big ask, but if they manage that it will run on my laptop with no issues. When asked recently about his views on Total War: Rome II, it was clear that our Editor-in-Chief, David Howard, played the first one: “Rome is the only Total War game that has received my time, more due to an understanding of my available time than anything – after all, I had much more of it in 2004. However, initial gameplay videos and from talking to the developers makes me feel as though I have to find time to sink into Rome II.”

2013 Most Anticipated   #23 Total War: Rome II

It’s not just the two of us looking forward to it among our staff, as Ryan states that while he is “…not a massive fan of RTS titles”, the Total War franchise is one of the few that are installed on his computer. “Like Company of Heroes, Total War has a great attention to detail and is great for spending two hours just managing your empire and the happiness of your people. It is very much the thinking man’s genre and Total War has ruled over that dominion for a long time,” he added.

Will also has high praise for the original, stating that, “Rome: Total War was one of the first RTS games I played and I still believe it to be the best. The Total War series has come on leaps and bounds since then and although there were one or two poor games in that series, I highly doubt that Rome II will join that group. After watching some gameplay videos, my zest for RTS games has come back and I surely cannot wait to start playing this as soon as it comes out.”

My anticipation for this PC exclusive is deep-rooted in my university days. I remember getting a copy on loan of the militaristic strategy game on recommendation in order to understand the tactics of the era. According to a few of the students, it was a great depiction of not only the tactics, but the armour and the environmental factors were spot on in terms of accuracy. While the initial game was great with the sheer number of historic battles being simulated within the conditions that were uncovered many years later, we also got to see how difficult it might have been for the Roman Empire to overcome the Barbarian hordes of the northern reaches of Europe. I personally felt that the Alexander the Great expansion was lacking in scope considering the subject matter at hand, but all three as a collective unit highlight a time when ancient empires were forged, tested, and ultimately conquered the land.

It wasn’t just the battles that excited me, but also the tactical allocation of troops and organising the empire. You could start trade negotiations organise your family to look after key locations, and send agents on covert missions to disrupt enemy plans. But one thing that always disappointed me was that naval warfare was never simulated until Empire: Total War, some five years later. Some of the key events in the times of the Roman Empire were dependent on opposing navies.

With Total War: Rome II taking this feature and many other improvements to the formula since the original first appeared on the scene; including the prospect of an almost global map, cities with multiple capture points within them, and the treat of having epic scale battles play out in front of our very eyes. It sure is going to be hard to keep track of everything this game has to offer and provided it achieves its release schedule of the second half of 2013, we could be on to our PC strategy hit of next year.