Happy Camels: Total War: Rome II Shots

I had a brief demo of Total War: Rome 2 at Rezzed. The demo consisted of me standing behind the wonderfully hatted Al Bickham (disclaimer: we once shared a bed) as he sent elephants screaming through lines of whoever-his-enemies-were. At this point he asked me if I knew what I was looking at, and I confessed that I might as well be watching EastEnders. Not to fret, though. I then demanded to know things about the game that people might otherwise have missed, and Al got all excited. At last, he could talk about his game without having to worry about tactics! Fact #1: the elephants have an internal rage meter, and they will occasionally go mad with blood lust. The only way to stop them is to put them down. Fact #2: the camels blink.

I’ve always wanted to get into the Total War games because of that silly level of detail, but alas not even the carefully modeled eyelids of a handsome and smiling camel of war is enough to allow my brain to absorb what’s needed to succeed at Total War. I’ll forever remain a bystander, but given how pretty the games are I’m okay with that. The small gallery of shots, from E3 that we somehow missed, has a peek at the Egypt campaign. If you middle-mouse click on them, they’ll open in a lovely new tab, so you can inspect the camel’s grin in ultra-resolution.


  1. Njordsk says:

    Oh man this is going to be so awesome !

    Can’t wait to harass legions with camels archers !

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      I concur, this should be good, however….

      …unless it’s fully modable it’s going to be a dud like Terribad Shogun 2.

      Medieval 2 is still the best as it’s the most mod-friendly – Call of Warhammer, LOTR The Third Age – you can’t beat them.

      • Feldgrau says:

        I wouldn’t describe Shogun 2 as a “dud” in the slightest. The game was easily the best Total War to date mechanically, it was just lacking campaign variety due to its setting.

      • Poppis says:

        And soon(as in, before Episode 3) the mod that rules them all: Europa Barbarorum 2.

        • Tokyo Joe and the Bombardiers says:

          Meh, I always preferred Roma Surrectum, anyway.

      • sonson says:

        Shogun II was obviously the most limited in terms of thematic variety but in terms of depth, character, challenge, systems and mechanics it surpasses all previous iterations by some distance. It’s the first in the series since it went 3D which the AI actually plays and understands.

        • sabasNL says:

          The mechanics of Shogun 2 with the ideas and theme of Napoleon and Empire, that would be the best Total War game possible in my mind.

          But I have high hopes for Rome 2, c’mon CA, prove my ultimate Total War dreams wrong!

      • TemplarLord says:

        They’ve been more than happy to avoid any mod talk (or at least I missed it) so I’m pretty sure no mods for Rome 2.

        Shame too, it would’ve been a definite purchase for me if it was moddable. I actually still haven’t bought either TW game since Medieval 2 for this very reason.

        • Kandon Arc says:

          Actually there was a video interview with one of the AI developers link to youtube.com . In it he specifically mentions modding as a challenge for creating the AI, as the AI needs to be able to deal with units that CA don’t know about when creating it. I’d imagine, like Shogun 2, that they go the path of Steam Workshop again.

        • bdd458 says:

          Every Total War has been extremely moddable, the Warscape engine just takes time to learn how to work with pack files and the more complicated system. With Shogun 2 they released a modkit (People have added new regions and made a whole new map!) and battle map editor. They also had a Modding Summit for Shogun 2, and they plan on doing another one for Rome II, but are not yet discussing details on that one.

          • luckystriker says:

            This is true. Even for the supposedly unmoddable Empire, there are some great mods available, from Imperial Splendour, DarthMod, and many others.

        • Loyal_Viggo says:

          @TemplarLord – I hear you, I held out on all TW games until Shogun 2, which was so bland and superficial that all battles became autoresolve and I instantly regretted the purchase and uninstalled. I just hope Rome 2 is not a fail on the modding options as that is what keeps these games alive, and why I still play Call of Warhammer mod for Med2 now over anything else.

          @Kandon Arc – thanks for the link

          @bdd458 – all since Medieval 2 have been brutal for modders. Sure Empire or Shogun allowed you to add in a new unit but that is not what keeps the series alive: total conversions are. See how many total conversions there are for Empire/Shogun 2 and compare that to everything that came before it. Exactly.

  2. Anthile says:

    Fun fact: The Romans used elephants and camels to invade Britain.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Fun fact: camels cannot hear the ukulele.

      • RaveTurned says:

        Lucky camels.

      • Chalky says:

        But they can play it. Scientists are baffled.

        • Natima says:

          Breaking News! Camels baffled at discovery scientists can hear the Ukelele, but cannot play it.
          Scientists and camels are in talks to discuss how they might help each other understand the mysterious nature of the ukelele. An instrument which is seemingly impossible to both hear and play… at least to scientists and camels.

      • nearly says:

        I googled this out of curiosity and you’re now one of my favorite RPS commenters. bravo.

  3. GernauMorat says:

    The units on the campaign map look a bit underwhelming when compared to the graphical splendour other wise on display. Placeholders?

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      They probably look a lot better when they animate. It’s the banners that are the most jarring.

    • Davie says:

      I was thinking the same thing, although it doesn’t bother me much. It still looks picturesque and very Civ V, which is good enough for me.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Agreed. The water looks particularly flat, compared to even Empire TW, in which the ships and land reflected in the oceans.

  4. lowprices says:

    Between Total War’s blinking camels and Arma 3’s Bee Shadows, I think we can truly say that the next generation of games are finally here.

  5. Solidstate89 says:

    Oh man….

    That campaign map looks fantastic.

  6. MerseyMal says:

    Damn. Your “Camels!” tweet got my hopes up of a new version of Jeff Minter’s Attack of the Mutant Camels.

  7. Geofferic says:

    Honestly, people who buy this at full price are traitors.

    Day 1 DLC is the lowest level gaming scumbag, excepting simply being EA.

    • stkaye says:

      Why? Would it be better if the Greek factions were released a month later for £5? Or do you hate all expansions?

      • fish99 says:

        Pre-order DLCs are about making you buy bad games by punishing you for waiting to see reviews.

        • stkaye says:

          Well, they’re certainly about banking profits in advance of release. I can’t think of a single business type that wouldn’t try to secure custom prior to actual release. It’s pretty rational. Doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a bad product, or reduce the incentive to create a good one.

        • Davie says:

          Even if that were necessarily true, it doesn’t change the fact that, by the standards of its fans, Rome II will almost certainly not be a bad game, in which case the preordering is just a vote of confidence with an extra bonus thrown in.

          While I agree there is some underhanded shit going on with preorder bonuses and Day 1 DLC, this isn’t really one of those cases. The Greek States aren’t an essential part of the game, they will at least be available to non-preorderers, and CA has the Total War formula down to the point where I seriously doubt we have to worry about it being a shitty game we all regret buying.

          • jonahcutter says:

            I totally disagree with you on this.

            The Greek states are core factions. Very popular ones.

            They are being deliberately locked off to manipulate people into pre-ordering, and as a cash grab from those that don’t/can’t pre-order or are simply late to the party.

            It’s pretty craven and shameless behavior on CA’s part.

          • Jimbo says:

            How were the Greek factions handled in Rome 1?

          • Grygus says:

            In Rome I there was a faction called “Greek City States”; the capital was in Sparta and included Athens. Epirus did not exist. However, in Rome I Macedon was not playable, and it will be this time. We’re not getting ripped off in comparison.

          • jonahcutter says:

            No one is being ripped off. Not sure who is claiming that. CA is free to present whatever deal they want to.

            What is happening is you are being manipulated into pre-ordering, or paying more afterwards, for the complete game.

            As well, it’s a strong example of shameless profit padding with locking off of core content at release. Many will purchase after release, and I’m sure the CA suits are licking their chops at the extra income from the day-one “DLC”.

          • Wulfram says:

            Well, in Rome:TW Macedon wasn’t playable until you added a word to a text file. Then it was very playable.

          • Askeladd says:

            What Wulfram said. I also wouldn’t be surprised if their ‘modding support’ will take at least a year to arrive for Rome. Did anybody already see the ridiculous COH2 DLCs?
            I don’t like SEGA.

        • Grygus says:

          The way I see it, for the vast majority of gamers there is no punishment happening here.

          If you don’t feel like you need to own the game on or very close to launch day, this isn’t punishment because you’re also very likely willing to wait for the game (and DLC) to be on sale, and so whether the DLC is day one or day thirty makes no difference; you’re going to pick up the game + DLC for like $30 in the Steam Christmas Sale either way. If you’re going to buy it launch week anyway, pre-ordering means that the DLC isn’t DLC at all; it’s just part of the base game for you.

          So the only people who could reasonably have a complaint here are the people who are looking forward to Rome II with such enthusiasm that waiting until the holidays is out of the question and yet refuse to pre-order it, presumably on principle. I do believe that such people exist; perhaps you are one of them. I also believe it is a small minority. Look, if you liked previous games in the series, preordering is not much of a risk; if you found them flawed in a frustrating way, then read the reviews and wait for a sale. Seems like an easy solution to me.

          Now, I’m not championing day one DLC (though I do not oppose the idea philosophically) and this kind of DLC (that feels cut from the game) is the worst kind of DLC, so don’t take this as saying we’re on opposite sides. I just think that if you’re going to do it, this is the best way it could possibly be done. Fans of the series aren’t affected at all, and most other people aren’t, either.

          • fish99 says:

            Yes i’m just talking about the general principle – and of course with individual series you can make a judgement call that the risk is low enough based on the quality of previous releases (and indeed I will probably pre-order Rome 2).

            That is what pre-order DLC is about though, and it’s also what review embargoes are about – getting your money before you can find out whether the game is any good.

            Ask the people who pre-ordered Aliens: Colonial Marines.

          • Grygus says:

            On principle we are in agreement. I do think that the dev team is being pretty forthcoming with previews so far; if they don’t get a review copy out before launch then I will frown at my monitor, too.

            I haven’t pre-ordered a game since 2008, but I will probably do so here, so your accusation would seem to be entirely accurate, at least in my case.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      I agree, DLC are the first steps along the Dark Path…

      But, all is not lost!

      ‘Get Games’ website has the full Rome 2 pre-order for 20% off, which includes the dirty DLC.

      That is $46, which in real money is about 30 quid. Not too bad, but I do think Greek states should be included from the start.

      • Mctittles says:

        Of course that still requires spending money before the reviews are out. Then again, anyone know of a site that the writers actually play games so I can read a review of this?

  8. Maritz says:

    It just occurred to me that I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into various Total War games over the last 10 or so years, but I’ve never actually “finished” a campaign. I always get to the point where winning is pretty much a certainty if I were to put the extra hours in, but don’t actually ever bother going past that point. Will this have a more involving end game than previous titles, do we think?

    • sonson says:

      Shogun II and ROTS fixed that in my opinion. But before that it was the series’ biggest Achilles heel, along with the awful AI after the series went 3D.

    • Grygus says:

      You’re not alone; even though I’ve been playing Rome: Total War since launch, I’ve only actually won as Rome, the Gauls, and the Greeks in vanilla, only won as the Saxons in the BI expansion, and never even came close to winning that Alexander campaign. I’ve been playing the Europa Barbarorum mod for at least half that time and never actually beat it, either.

      Once we’re down to spamming elite stacks at each other, the best economy is going to win, so proceeding seems pointless. I really don’t mind though; getting to that point is still really fun to me. Since they fixed this in Fall of the Samurai, I expect they’ll address it in Rome II, as well.

  9. ARKaMAN says:

    INB4. $9.99 camel armor.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:


      $4.99 camel blood effects.

      $2.99 camel armour covered in camel blood.

      • Gap Gen says:

        The Collector’s Edition of Rome Aye Aye comes with a bloody camel torso, complete with udders tastefully covered up with strips of camel armour.

  10. Jabberslops says:

    The game looks great, but I’m still not seeing anything that would make the game need 30GB of space on my hard drive. What makes the game use up so much space? I think that is like 10x more space required compared to Rome Gold Edition.

    • David Bliff says:

      I suspect a good deal of it is audio files. Empire had all the different (major) nations’ units using their actual languages. Earlier games had used accents tied to different regions – in Medieval II, for example, all Western Mediterranean voices were the same, but they all spoke English. Everyone spoke the same language in Shogun 2 obviously, so they probably decided to just use English, but the linguistic variety of this setting could have encouraged them to go back to having lots of languages in voices.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Agent success/failure cutscenes?

    • Davie says:

      Textures doubtless play a part as well. Compare this to Shogun 2, which had similar terrain across the map and nearly identical armies for each faction. Even from what little we’ve seen there’s obviously far more variation in the units and landscape, and all those individual files add up.

  11. Cerebulon says:

    Nitpicky maybe, but didn’t the Great Pyramid lose its cap before even the Romans showed up?
    I’m pretty sure there’s accounts from back then that mention that the top is missing and it’s even possible that there never was a cap for whatever reason.

    • Askeladd says:

      Details… details! It’s not really their focus to be as accurate as possible, they are just making a game until they make another game which is slightly the same but entirely different!

  12. BubbaNZ says:

    Q. How do you know when a Total War elephant has visited your house?
    A. You can’t get the toilet seat down plus it’s covered in bugs.