A Game of Romes: Rome 2 looking to add political marriages, backstabbing and trade to the war

Total War: Rome II

By on June 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm

The battlegrounds of ancient Rome are reminiscent of Westeros. Yet while the real-time combat may not be quite as up-close-and-brutal as a Game of Thrones style throat-slitting, it’s in the courts of political intrigue — the wheeling, dealing and figurative backstabbing — that the wars of Rome II are won and lost.

Creative Assembly’s E3 presentation of Total War: Rome II focused heavily on the changes made to the part of the game that happens before you even hit the battlefield. In a 20-minute hands-off demo, the developers talked us through how they’ve revamped the series’ strategic layer to reflect political life in ancient Rome and beyond. You have to manage the competing interests of various internal and external factions, Houses and ruling families, adopting sons and marrying off daughters to keep the upper hand in the overall power struggle for control.

This is all tracked in a new system called Political Capital. You can Support, Extort, Discredit and Assassinate the factional leaders in an interlocking effort to secure friends and make life much tougher for your enemies.

Reaching beyond your own borders, this game of thrones is further tracked by the new Relations Panel. Here you can see all the historical and still relevant interactions you’ve had with a foreign leader. It informs you at a glance what actions you’ve taken–both to them and to their allies and enemies–that they either like or condemn. So if you’re wondering why Egypt is unwilling to cooperate on a trade agreement, a quick look at the Relations Panel will provide a number of likely explanations. It’s all reminiscent of the diplomacy screen in Civilization V, albeit stocked with what appears to be even more specific details.

Next, Creative Assembly highlighted the overhauled campaign map. However, calling it a map any more seems like a gross understatement. The strategic world of Rome II has left behind much of what was previously abstracted, instead presenting a gorgeous aerial view of Europe and the Mediterranean in all its geographical glory. Cities sprawl over the countryside as you expand your territory and you can even see key individual buildings appear inside its walls as you order their construction.

Territorial control also extends to the numerous pockets of flora and fauna dotting the world. Take over an area native to elephants or camels, for example, and you’ll be able to train and recruit unique military units that utilise these resources. Similarly, natural and (oddly) man-made wonders can be absorbed into your territory to provide bonuses to your income via increased tourism (though quite how the pyramids of Giza were existing away from any civilised society in the first place is a question for the videogame gods).

Finally, just before we jumped into a short real-time battle, the developers noted that your military has been granted an RPG-like upgrade system. Once you’ve named a division, it can earn Traditions that confer permanent bonuses to any units marching under its banner. These perks, if you prefer, persist even after defeat as new recruits follow in the footsteps of those who came before. Generals, too, are able to be differentiated through a system of personal traits and skills that enable you to tailor their abilities to your playing style or the demands of the scenario.

The battle that followed was too short for us to really pay much attention to new features beyond the obvious graphical improvements, but we did appreciate the ability to pause proceedings at any moment to reassess our options and give new orders. Just personally, as someone who typically prefers to auto-resolve Total War battles and focus on the strategic game, the simple option of pause may make me more willing to get my hands dirty in a scrap.

Rome II is very much what you’d expect: no surprises, no major changes to warrant alarm or concern, just an accumulation of relevant tweaks and considered new features aimed at extending the strategic depth where appropriate.

12 comments (Leave your own)

See Civilization 5 mentioned in an article about this game makes me nervous. I hope they don’t follow Civ 5s diplomatic system.

You are stronger than your enemies = They team up and kill you.

OR

You are weaker than your enemies = They team up and kill you.

 

schrapple,

you clearly haven’t played Shogun 2 then, as that’s essentially what the AI did once the player got “Too strong”

 

gammad:
schrapple,

you clearly haven’t played Shogun 2 then, as that’s essentially what the AI did once the player got “Too strong”

Yep the Realm Divide sucked the big one. The staunchiest of allies would turn on you was really damn annoying >_<

 

meji: Yep the Realm Divide sucked the big one. The staunchiest of allies would turn on you was really damn annoying >_<

Wasn’t so bad after playing a couple of campaigns as you can plan for it (it’s easy to predict when it will happen), but first time round with no hint of it coming was VERY annoying.

Will be happy if they get rid of it!

 

I guess it’s just part of how the game is meant to be played. There are numerous hints along the way that everyone will hate you soon.

 

As far as I can remember all Total War games involved teaming against the player when he reaches to the stage of stronger faction. I don’t expect anything different from this installment. I prefer a new system though, or include a “threat” level that can somehow be measured and countered with quality diplomatic efforts.

 

FYI, realm divide is fixed in later expansions! Well, fixed-ish.

 

Maybe I’m getting Total War fatigue. Been so excited about all their previous releases but Rome 2′s not doing anything at all for me as yet. They really should have gone with something new rather than doing back to back revamps imo.

 

yurtles,

I think I can relate. However for me personally I have faith this release will share the similar features I loved from my most favorite installments. Medieval War diplomacy/trade/plenty of character traits is what gave the game added charm.

You know what was awesome? Speeches that were manipulated by traits. If you had a REALLY insane general he says comments like “I’ll rap myself in a sausage and ride to battle!” meanwhile the soldiers struggle to cheer and clap, some awkward coughs follow. Or a really angry general who hates a particular faction. He starts screaming and offending the opposition aggressively. Love it.

 

timmytim:
As far as I can remember all Total War games involved teaming against the player when he reaches to the stage of stronger faction. I don’t expect anything different from this installment. I prefer a new system though, or include a “threat” level that can somehow be measured and countered with quality diplomatic efforts.

This is true but the big problem I have with this is that the diplomatic system just gets scrapped by the AI if you are doing well. If your empire is doing well and you are keeping your allies happy by playing the diplomatic game correctly they should stand by you, unfortunately if you are doing well the fact that you are doing the right things diplomatically doesn’t matter, everyone turn on you anyway.

Either diplomacy is or isn’t part of a game, it shouldn’t just be there to adjust the game difficulty on the run, that’s when it gives people the shits.

 

A Game of Romes – LOL

 
MuscularTeeth

I cant wait personally.

Also does any one remember Centurian? back in the 90′s ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centurion:_Defender_of_Rome

 
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