The Gaul Of It: Total War: Rome 2 Expansion Announced

By Graham Smith on December 2nd, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Asterix is going to punch this guy so hard.

Total War: Rome 2 made Adam hesitate, then point his thumb skywards, celebrating the game’s victories in spite of its bugs. Developers Creative Assembly have spent the time since working hard on patches to resolve some the most troublesome bugs and AI follies, but now seem ready to turn their attention towards larger conquests. Caeser in Gaul has just been announced, and it’s the first campaign expansion for the game. It has a new campaign map, new factions and units, all that stuff.

Come look at the screenshots. Come see how the little men fight.

The new campaign has a tighter geographic scope than its parent, and a consequently reduced timespan covering the years 58-51BC. Each years is now 24 turns, and the seasons will shift, altering the campaign map as you play. Also you’ll be able to play the campaign with a character called Vercingetorix, which sells the appeal of history instantly. If it doesn’t, keep in mind that the Gauls have magical powers.

The expansion is due out December 12th 2013 for £9.99/$14.99. The silly buggers have put watermarks on the screenshots, but here’s a selection of them. Click to make them bigger.







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61 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Stellar Duck says:

    I see the UI is as dysfunctional as ever. What a shame.

    I do wonder if they’ve fixed the fundamental design flaws before moving on.

    And a quick correction: it’s Caesar, not Caeser

    • Grygus says:

      Only fundamental design problem I found was the new political system, which is much too opaque to be any fun at all. Arguably the decision to make 1 turn = 1 year undercut some other systems, so maybe that counts too. What else would you say is fundamentally flawed from a design perspective?

      • d3vilsadvocate says:

        Rome 2 was a fiasco, and that’s putting it mildly.

        Just look at those screenshots, the finished addon will look nothing like it. Mark my words!

        I’ve sworn to never ever purchase another CA games again. I will not fall for this **** again.

        • Leb says:

          my thoughts exactly. Look at all those neatly formed units fighting realistic battles! Yet you load up the game and units don’t know how to hold formation, unit collision is broken, and combat is limited to simple 1 on 1 “win or die” animations rather than true combat.

          Rome 2 has been the largest disappointment of the year for me and many others.

        • SuicideKing says:

          I put in 99 hours into the game…280th turn, the AI breaks….not been fixed since.

          I haven’t had it in me to start another campaign.

          Fiasco it was…

        • C0llic says:

          CA games are no longer instant buys. I’d even go as far as saying after Empire, it’s a bit foolish to preorder their titles. Shogun was decent, but it’s always wise to wait until the dust settles for the true picture to emerge. I don’t neccessarily blame reviewers for this; the game campaigns take so long to play its easy for things to slip under the radar.

          We should all be weary by now.

      • mtomto says:

        My little list :)
        1. The (current) map is boring to the point of being depressing – especially up north.
        2. The 3 agent units on the campaign map doesn’t add much gameplay.
        3. The political system is shallow and obtuse.
        4. Serious lack of diversity among the units.
        5. The UI is just ugly and not intuitive.

        Technical issues would be:
        1. The combat AI is probably the worst I have ever seen in a game.
        2. The turntimes takes forever…
        3. The campaignmap has framerate issues, yet the combat framerates are fluid – at least for me… weird.

        Overall the game seems like CA just went with a reductionist checklist of previous games, and then forgot about the holistic experience that a TW: Rome II deserves.

        • Boothie says:

          really wish people would stop ragging on the turntimes, its not that effing long, rome 2 has a lot of problems but the turntimes just isnt one, plan your next move, or hum a tune, it takes like a minute or two, and even less if you select the option to not show enemy moves.

          • Chiron says:

            Is this now or at the time of release? Because from what I remember of release date I was spending the time between turns making a cup of tea and reading a couple of pages of my book.

            I nearly died from tanin overdose.

          • SuicideKing says:

            My observation has been this: Rome II saves its bad performance when you save a game.

            No, seriously. The campaign i had started at launch still has the sub 30 fps and long load times, not to mention a particular faction’s AI breaks the game for me now.

            But we started a multiplayer campaign after the 5th or 6th patch, it’s much smoother and turn time is much lower, granted that i’m not hosting and the tick mark in the diplomacy menu failed to show up the last time for me.

            Oh but one time i alt tabbed, and then it started stuttering a bit, and now it always remembers to stutter.

          • myopicmuppet says:

            They have fixed the turn times but the thing with patches in this game is that they only work on a new campaign, idk why this is but new patch new game or you have to play with the same bugs

      • kwyjibo says:

        This video covers some of the fundamental problems of Rome 2 – including UI issues.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Design flaws? Leaving aside things many consider Original Sin that won’t be changed, like the lack of family trees and the one-turn–per-year design, and focusing only on things CA obviously intended to work, but don’t work yet, here’s a small list of the highlights:

        Siege AI is still horribly broken. Enemy soldiers climb ladders to your walls, then climb back down again, and throw torches at your city gates. Which promptly burn, in spite of being metal gates. Every unit can now torch gates, including elephants. Torches are still being used as a crutch for AI that can’t manage siege equipment for cities with walls. A cynical person might conclude that they picked Gaul as the first mini-campaign DLC because siege equipment isn’t important in that campaign.

        The political system seems half-finished, with automatic Civil Wars where massive armies spawn out of thin air in the mid-game, and then politics disappears completely afterwards. There is a current problem with Agent spam, but that can be modded. The campaign AI sends armies out on troop transports that park in the ocean and don’t move. Many smaller nitpicks remain about the way disciplined units like pikes, hoplites, and legionaries hold formation (or don’t) in combat.

        Between the lame political system and the way the AI can’t manage to create a few major competitors in the late game, I have a hard time playing past the early phases of a campaign (which are fun, if you ignore enemy siege attacks and just auto-resolve them). The game is still a mess in many ways. Way too early for me to consider paying for any more DLC until I see where it’s going in the next few months.

      • Premium User Badge

        Stellar Duck says:

        Well, those two examples were on their own enough to severly hamper my enjoyment of the game. The UI didn’t help either. Aside from that the pacing of the battles were way, way off, as well as the really weird idea to make the maps focused around capture points.

        Then there was the squalor system, which while a nice idea was terrible in its implementation and just served as a constant annoyance rather than as an incentive for city management. The lack of a family system, while more forgivable takes away a lot of the… flavour of the game and makes it harder to craft stories.

        The campaign map was a series of narrow corridors and left very little room to actually move around armies (though I’ll admit that that part might change later on as I gave up long before that).

        The legion system was another good idea that was badly executed. Instead of having legions with a history you just had very minor buffs that could be reapplied if you reformed the legion, as far as I understood it. Seeing as a general tended to die after a handful of turns there was no way of getting the grand stories with that certain general that you came to love. Now they’re just interchangeable faces that can be assigned stuff from the massive pool of cards or whatever the hell that was. Instead of a general getting retainers that were his they just went to a pool and could be redistributed. How’s that for unique generals?

        After Fall of the Samurai the game was a huge let down for me.

      • Gormongous says:

        I don’t know about StellarDuck, but I can name a few that still stick out to me after a couple months:

        - Confusing and unclear stats system. What do Authority, Cunning, and Zeal mean for the myriad characters? What happened to a simple star ranking? Who knows.
        - Pointless choices in character upgrades. There is little to no difference between the different general skills and all agents have whole skill trees you’ll never use because their primary function is so valuable.
        - A timescale that means most of your generals are dead of old age after an hour of play. There’s no character attachment, so why even bother giving me a selection screen when it comes time to replace them?
        - Armies that resurrect if defeated. Never again will you be forced to face the consequences of your actions.
        - Battlefields that emphasize quick and dirty fights. It doesn’t matter how you set up your units, they’ll all be in a massive blob soon enough, and the winner will be the one who brought better units to the fight and hit the special skill button more times. Oh, that’s if the battlefield doesn’t spawn with a victory point in the middle.
        - The ability to convert armies into navies, with no opportunity cost. As if the naval battles weren’t muddled and boring enough as is.
        - Unpredictable, hyper-aggressive diplomatic AI that yoyos back and forth on whether it wants to propitiate or defy you. There’s no point trying to build a friendship with an AI, it doesn’t know what the word means.
        - The province system, which appears to add depth, but is really just a handful of cities writ large. Also, enjoy being able to conquer only one way, if you want to get the extremely important edicts to work.
        - And yes, the political system, which is completely opaque and largely irrelevant. Just know that, whatever you do, you’ll have a random “civil war” on your hands around 160 BC, even if none of your own generals defect. Be prepared.

        When you add all those poor design decisions to a game that runs like a pig with no documentation and an AI that can’t play itself, you’ve got a pretty big failure. But hey, I’m sure this expansion was in production long before the base game shipped, so we can definitely expect something better.

        • Zenicetus says:

          Yes, the new Province system is another flaw I’d put on the Original Sin list, which isn’t going to change, obviously.

          Instead of making my own decisions about which way to expand my empire, the new system leads me by the nose, insisting that I prioritize capturing full provinces before moving on, so I can gain the Edict ability and full control over regional unrest. It means I’ll stab a potential ally in the back, just because it’s the last settlement I need to fill out a province. Strategy should be an open choice, never forced by the game mechanics like this.

          It’s not the worst problem with the game design, and it probably helps the AI as a streamlined system. But I don’t think most of us were looking for more streamlining in the game.

    • The Random One says:

      Activate the Caeser Laeser! PEEEEEW

  2. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    I’ll get it when they have a Twelve Tasks DLC.

  3. Grygus says:

    The main game was a bit of a disappointment to me, but I can’t help but look forward to this. Perhaps I need help.

    • fluffy_thedestroyer says:

      Don’t expect anything and you should be fine

    • DThor says:

      I must admit to being frustrated by the constant hate. I don’t own the game, came *this* close to pre-ordering but luck stayed my hand. I’ve enjoyed previous games in the series quite a bit. The trouble is, I’m having difficulty trusting all the raging hate after seven patches and obviously a company that intends to keep patching. Gamers are a petulant, detail-obsessed and unforgiving lot(relax, I’m a gamer), so I try to see past the overwrought sense of betrayal and wonder if, really, is it *still* all that terrible? No better at all? Nobody plays it and has fun? I can find shrieking posts out there for every one in the series that speaks to all the terrible wrong the developers have inflicted on the world, yet I’ve had plenty of fun over the years with this series. Can no one rise above the abhorrent +2 bonus to elephants scandal and speak up for the game?

      • Zenicetus says:

        Here’s the reason it isn’t just random gamer rage. Rome 2 is a big, complex game with a lot of moving parts that all have to work reasonably well, to provide a good gaming experience. It has to be optimized well enough that frame rates are manageable on reasonable-spec hardware. The campaign has to be compelling enough to be worth the time it takes to sit through roughly 300 turns, which is the design goal of the campaign. Real-time tactical battles have to work well enough to be worth playing, because if you auto-resolve battles, you’re missing the point of this series.

        It doesn’t take many jammed gears in the engine to screw that up. And right now, there are some critical flaws (for some, not all gamers) like a broken political system and lackluster campaign AI that make it tough to care about the end game, and some broken mechanics in the tactical battles like the brain-dead siege AI.

        It’s no coincidence that many of the people who are happiest with the game, are only using it for multiplayer battles which avoid most of the problems.

  4. fluffy_thedestroyer says:

    I read this: “Adam hesitate, then point his thumb skywards,”… I was ready to bitch high and loud about it.

    then I finished reading the line :”celebrating the game’s victories in spite of its bugs”… then I put my shotgun and my shovel down. No need to panic and kill someone… :)

    No killing but still, they didn’t win anything…except to release a buggy game which they shouldn’t of done in the first place. It doesn’t take a genius to let fans know this :” Ok guys, the game is complete, but it will take 2 months to kill all the bugs”… most fans will probably bitch about it but they will accept.

    its better to have a bugless game then having one that has way too much in it

  5. fish99 says:

    Total War…… Total War never changes.

    (except Shogun 2 was relatively bug free)

    • drinniol says:

      Yeah, it is now. After many many patches.

      • Lekker says:

        It definitely was in better state than this broken POS.

        CA, fix the fucking game first!

        • Werthead says:

          It was, but ROME I and MEDIEVAL II were in a worse state on release and not really fixed until their expansions launched a year later. EMPIRE was released in a far, far worse state and was only mostly fixed through patches (even a recent playthrough was blighted by a few CTDs).

          ROME II is in a much better state three months after release than any of those games, certainly, though it still has a few problems that need addressing.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Faldrath says:

    I’d play an Asterix: Total War where you could play as Obelix destroying whole armies with a menhir. Someone please make that game.

  7. Premium User Badge

    amateurviking says:

    These Romans are crazy.

  8. Nice Save says:

    It makes me happy and warm inside to know that the Wikipedia page for Asterix has a “Historical Accuracy” section.

  9. Wednesday says:

    I usually hate fan griping more than anything else on the planet, but taking the time to read some of the comments on here, as a TW fan who stopped buying at Medi II, this Rome sounds pretty awful.

    • Ernesto25 says:

      Even if rome 2 was a good game i’d still hate that the factions we got for “free” in rome 1 are all being cut off and given to us. To me that isn’t an expansion pack. And yes i know that’s how the world works but it still won’t make me hate it any less.

    • Tyrmot says:

      I should have stopped there too.

  10. Commander Gun says:

    Total War 2: Rome was a huge insult to me (and i think for a lot of customers). They had a lot of guts daring to state that this was indeed a finished game instead of the beta version we bought for too much money.
    There is no way in hell i will buy an expansion for them.

  11. Jimbo says:

    The expansion is always where it’s at with Total War. Kingdoms, Napoleon and the …Of The Samurais were all way more fun than their respective base games. Smaller scale and a tighter focus just works better for Total War.

  12. Tams80 says:

    Meh, I’m hoping future DLCs will be on more interesting topics. Caesar became boring to me a few years ago.

    I still need to play Shogun 2 though, and that interests me much more; plus it isn’t as broken. So I don’t really have grounds to complain.

  13. Tim Ward says:

    So, here’s a few things about Rome 2, apart from what has already been mentioned:

    1) Every settlement other than a province capital had its walls removed. The reasoning behind this decision was that they wanted more field battles as opposed to endless sieges. However, attacking a settlement that doesn’t have a wall doesn’t result in a field battle, it just results in a siege battle with no walls, which is if anything even more irritating than the constant siege battles in Shogun 2.
    2) In order to, quote, “give value to walls and towers”, CA made siege equipment take a long time to build, and they also made several pieces of siege equipment require you to research technology to use (for some reason a battering ram requires a Tier 2 technology). However, they also said didn’t want an army with no siege equipment to have no chance of capturing a city, and allowed any unit it in the game to burn down any gate at nothing more than the cost of a few men to the arrow towers thus completely.. devaluing walls and towers.
    3) CA decided that armies should be able to become a fleet of transports and move across the ocean at no more cost than a few movement points. This is a decision with arguments both for and against, but one of the ways they justified it was by pointing out that the transport fleet would be vulnerable to proper navies if they were intercepted by them. However, they also decided to make the ship and its crew two separate entities.. so you’ve got the stats for the ship and the stats for the crew (which are used when carrying out boarding attacks). Most ship crews are both smaller and consist of weaker units than the average land unit, so the end result it… transport ships are fucking lethal! They will cream any naval ship they manage to board and, despite a recent nerf, are still robust enough to survive ramming and missile attacks long enough to accomplish that.
    4) The game gives you strong bonuses owning the whole of a province, and encourages you to make use of client states. However, there is no way exchange provinces in the game and no real way to can interact with client states beyond what you can do with any ally. So, they’re a liability more than anything – they stop you controlling full provinces (can you issue edicts to provinces which are controlled partly by you and partly by client states? Ha! No, that would make sense), and if you loose an important province to an enemy you run the risk of them taking it from the enemy “for” you, meaning the only way to get it back is betray your own vassal.
    5) For some unfathomable reason, CA decided to give the minor factions buffs and bonuses above and beyond what AI main factions get, meaning that few of the major powers will ever be able to do very much. African and Iberian tribes are especially lethal, resulting in either the emasculation or total destruction of Carthage and it’s client states literally every single campaign (also, Carthage’s client states’ starting positions seem to have been deliberately designed to hobble poor Carthage even further by making it very difficult for them to ever get the bonuses from controlling a full province- again, no one knows why). Fancy fighting the Punic Wars as Rome (you’d think this would be a key attraction of a game called “Total War: Rome”)? It will literally never happen. Carthage will never threaten you. Never.

    Never mind the bugs and AI glitches that will get fixed (probably, eventually). These points tell you everything you need to know about CA’s approach to “designing” games. Nonsensical decisions with no coherent justification. Contradictions between design goals are not reconciled but simply ignored. Feedback is ignored (“Dear CA, please make it so that there are fewer options in diplomacy and so that any unit can burn down a gate whenever it wants”, said no one ever), since despite all evidence to the contrary CA seem to think they know best. They seem content that things should work on paper with no reference to how they play out in the ACTUAL GAME. Nothing seems to have been properly play-tested, they just assume it works as they think it will and stick it in there. I seriously wonder if any of the development team ever plays these games for fun, rather than just to test if a particular bit of code is working. They seem to have no idea what makes these games work.

    Shogun 2 was brilliant, but that seems to have been some kind of fluke: CA are, in fact, completely clueless. Let us ignore them and hope someone who knows what they’re doing starts making similar games.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      Amen.

      Rome 2 is the biggest clusterfuck I’ve ever had the misfortune to witness and participate in.

      CA couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag with scissors in their hands.

  14. FunkyLlama says:

    I don’t understand why CA are still the only ones making games in the ‘TBS with conflicts resolved in RTS’ mould. Surely there’s a gap in the market for someone to do it competently?

  15. Wonderboy2402 says:

    Do not buy this swill until the community and game sites have given in a pass. Rome 2 was a broken mess and while polish up still display the deep scarring of an undercooked game.

  16. remoteDefecator says:

    Perfectly titled. I can’t believe they have the balls to release an expansion when there are so many things that need fixing.

    It was a good run, Total War, but I do believe it’s over.

  17. mariandavid says:

    Oh dear – I must be terribly dumb – I liked and still am enjoying Rome II. Perhaps because, being inadequate I accept bugs since they are still the norm in games (this week my Civ 5 and New Vegas both crashed) and because I think their game decisions are just as valid as those speculatively invented by critical gamers: To Wit He Said with Grave Pomposity:-
    - yes it makes perfectly good sense to send a legion to sea as a bunch of boats – cos that is what they did in the early years of the Republic (worked too except against really clever sailors) since normally men were far, far more important than rams.
    - the ‘sieging of every hamlet’ is a clever game mechanic to simulate the wreckage inflicted by campaigns (thereby avoiding excessive attrition mechanisms against which all would whine)
    - and no you cannot exchange provinces – they never did. Being nasty souls the ancients ‘exchanged by occupying’.
    - I might agree over the strengthened weaker groups except that, once again, a mechanism was needed to demonstrate the extreme difficulty in those days of defeating tribal kingdoms (ask Alexander or any Carthaginian noble).
    And apologies to Tim Ward – I suddenly realized I was questioning his comments alone, but only because they were so well articulated. He is certainly correct on Carthage – a major design error I think, one which does not reflect the mercenary power and wealth built up over some 300 years longer than was available to Rome. Perhaps some carefully located gold mines Carthaginian Africa and Spain might work.

    Clearly this is a game (and to some extent a series) that provokes strongly differing opinions, perhaps inevitable since it aims to combine strategy in the norm of board games with the visual action of a Call of Duty. All that I can say is that I, and for that matter all the friends I have talked to in person, as opposed to on the net, find the series and the game to be at the very least quite satisfactory

  18. bstard says:

    Candidate for debacle game 2013. But the competition is strong, will it be RTW2, or Rebirth, or Simcity, or a surprising outsider? The stakes are high.

    • frightlever says:

      If Rome 2 had been released as a first person shooter it might be able to offer X:Rebirth some competition for disappointment of the year.

  19. kharnevil says:

    When SEGA finally figure out the size of the gaming market in Asia, perhaps we will be allowed to buy it on steam directly rather than retail? no? OK never mind.

    Though, if you do manage to buy the retail copy in asia, it would be nice if they (SEGA/Steam/CA) acknowledged that DLC exists for this game and give some way of y’know delivering DLC to us… (Instead of delivering a ‘sorry, this game isn’t available in your region notification’, even though I own vanilla on steam, albeit from retail)

    SEGA is for want of a better term, driveling mad!

  20. surethingbud says:

    Rome 2 definitely had launch issues; however, the notion that it was a completely broken game, or a ‘fiasco’ is just plain wrong. If you weren’t patient enough to wait for the many fixes, which really did iron out most of the major bugs and broken parts in the single-player game, then I guess I can understand. People deserve a working game on release. But, to my mind, we got a free DLC. I really think this _proper_ DLC should also be free to people who bought it at launch, that would completely erase all the bad taste in my mouth. But apart from that, I am very happy with Rome 2. The longevity, for me, is multi-player. I can sit there for hours playing quick battles. It’s utterly brilliant.

    People who say units don’t know how to hold formation… honestly? You’re playing wrong. I had the complaint myself for a long time, until I learned how to play. There is still some minor blobbing, but all in all, the units are responsive. Ever since they fixed the ‘bug’ where it was impossible to pull out of cavalry engagements (because your unit would just rout before it even pulled out), multiplayer has been gravy. I still think the “pull-out penalty” is a bit too much. Nonetheless, multiplayer is holding my interest. I don’t play it every day… but once a week I sit down and play a solid 6-7 hours of quick battles and it’s just glorious. More factions? Yes please.

    A new single-player campaign is fine… Actually I think this is a good idea because the new focused Gaul campaign should provide a much tighter single-player experience. Most people’s computers aren’t good enough for the absolutely huge vanilla campaign. And even beast computers still struggle with turn times once the game is maturing into the 50-100 turn territory. In a new focused Gaul campaign, turn-time and FPS issues should mostly be a thing of the past.

    One thing I think we deserve, though: all factions playable. I want every faction in the entire game playable in multiplayer. That would be frickin’ awesome. And I shouldn’t have to pay for it. They’re in the game. I bought the game. Gimme the damn factions!

  21. postrook says:

    i’m excited, even though i still don’t think this game plays very well yet. i just love this series in an unhealthy way. and also i love asterix.

  22. Blinky343 says:

    The smaller more focused campaigns are generally the best in the TW series, I’m definitely looking forward to this. Thankfully despite the release Rome 2 sold like hotcakes and again during the steam sale so we should have lots more DLC coming down the pipe