The original Rome: Total War made by The Creative Assembly was, in no uncertain terms, a real time strategy masterpiece. It was the first game in the series to do away with the sprite based graphics, replacing each unit with a fully fledged 3D model. Huge battles roared, men, women, dogs and elephants all getting their fair share of the action.
That is what made Rome such an amazing game, it's scope was so diverse and so large that one moment you could be knee deep in the bogs of Germania, battling the barbarian tribes, and the next you could be facing down a horde of Persian elephants.
The idea of a modern sequel had Total War fans scrambling for their wallets. Updated graphics, advanced AI, all the benefits of nine years of industry improvements, what could possibly go wrong?
Apparently, just about everything. Rome II had such promise that no one could have predicted just how badly the launch would go.
The game was, and at the writing of this review, still is nigh on unplayable.
Performance is disgustingly bad, leaving both expensive gaming rigs, such as mine, and lower tier rigs screaming at the puke inducing ten to twenty frames per second average depending on how lucky you are.
On top of that dire issue is the problem of the fantastic artificial intelligence The Creative Assembly had promised. Enemy armies would be twice as smart, three times as cunning and ten times more ruthless, well that was the idea anyway. Instead you are faced with the task of destroying socially inept nations that will wage war on every on any and every neighbour until their resources run dry to obliterating bumbling armies who would rather sit and each your arrows than charge out and fight.
Beneath the unplayable outer surface is a genuinely good game with the same scope and diversity that made it's original so fantastic. However, still weeks after release the game is not in a playable state. The Creative Assembly or CA for short have been hard at work on patches to resolve said issues and if you can look past it's short comings in these areas you could easily find yourself having a blast wiping our entire races of people.