Totally: Rome 2 ‘Let’s Play’ Shows Off Campaign Map

I’m so excited about Rome 2 that I keep catching fire. It’s horrible. Scorch marks on everything. Faint smell of bacon. It’s not making it any easier watching The Creative Assembly’s own Let’s Play thing*, which they’ve started off by looking at the campaign map. Always the best bit of a Total War game, right? You can see that happening below. They talk factions, and then just let us bask in that warm light of a formidably crafted turn-based Mediterranean as they witter on about trade and resources. Yeah, that’s how to do a goddamn campaign map, yes sir.

Argh! The flames!

*Are you allowed to do a Let’s Play of your own game? Does that make sense? And can it really be said to be a Let’s Play for a game that is not out or finished? I am really unsure of the etiquette here.


  1. TheMick says:

    I’m planning to ignore my own “no pre order” policy with this game and this game only. I’m playing right into their hands too by wanting those blasted Greeks.

    Though I do take some comfort knowing that when I’ve been burned before on pre orders it was pretty much just from stuff by Rebellion….

    • Sigh says:

      I’m planning to hold fast with my no pre-order policy and pick this up 12-24 months after release in a GOATEE edition that includes the inevitable 36 DLC packs, larger expansions, and expandalones as well as a year’s worth of patching.

      That way I can get the “Blood and Gore” pack included in the core games as it should be and by that time the enemy A.I. might be suitably competent in tactical battles.

      • ahmedabdo says:

        Count me in with you.

      • zal says:

        I don’t regret any of the 650 hours steam informs me I’ve spent in shogun 2, and that includes the first 150 I got from the first dlc free co-op campaigns, followed by successive campaigns for each faction as it came out.
        CA is probably the one publisher who can release a title and I’ll unequivocally know that I will get my money’s worth on it.
        The fact that they now sit there and code/patch in another couple dishonored’s (30 hrs x 2) worth of gameplay every 3 months with a new faction/units for my friend and I to play, followed by another skyrim worth of gameplay (100 hrs) every 8-12 months in the form of Rise and Fall expansions, is some sort of exquisite cake flavored frosting ladled on to the exquisite cake that I am both having and eating too.

        That said I have a knack for knowing when I won’t have an ounce of fun (empire), and then I don’t buy at all.

      • BubbaNZ says:

        My sentiments exactly, kind sir. I did that with Shogun 2 and only had one game-breaking bug, only had to wait two months for a fix. But I would like to thank everyone else for the extensive bug-splatting they’ll be doing.

    • Chris D says:

      Yes, same here. I agree with not pre-ordering in general but there are a rare few games where I make an exception.

      I don’t expect to regret that decision but in the unlikely event it does turn out to be bad I’m still going to need to see that for myself.

    • TWChristine says:

      I would imagine that you could just wait for the inevitable faction unlock mod that someone will have within the first few weeks. That drove me nuts about Rome 1 how they had everyone else locked until you beat the campaign with one of the three Roman factions. I don’t know about you all but between Medieval 1/2, Rome, and Empire, I’ve actually never finished a campaign. I got close with Empire but then as usual got bored steamrolling everyone..

    • mike2R says:

      I’m afraid they got me with the 35GB download. I pre-ordered for the pre-load.

    • Mctittles says:

      I’m waiting on ordering until I get bored with the first Rome: Total War.

      Considering I’ve put hundreds of hours into it and haven’t even beat the main campaign, nor played another faction besides Rome, nor tried any mods I think that day may never come.

    • bstard says:

      NO PREORDERS. (toilet paper notes 1, verse 23)

      Not even interesting in this shiet. TW series after Shogun the 1st never entertain me. I guess the concept got old to quick.

    • FunkyLlama says:

      Why on earth would you ignore a ‘no pre-order’ policy for Creative Assembly, of all people? At release their games are usually semi-functional at best. I mean in Empire the AI couldn’t even launch invasions by sea, and in Shogun 2 they were building armies consisting almost entirely of archers – in both cases for a long, long time after release.

  2. WoundedBum says:

    Oh no, I’m going to lose track of my navy again. In Rome 1 I always ended up with about 50 triremes huddled in the corner of the map after having retreated them all away from enemy forces. And this is even bigger! Which is good! But lots of e-men are gonna die of scurvy.

  3. derf says:

    They’ve not really gone in the direction I hoped for. I enjoyed the more abstract Medieval 1 (or Shogun 1) style maps. Perhaps with a hint of Knights of Honor too. It seems they’re still moving into the direction of:

    “Let’s make it really pretty. Let’s add clouds and seagulls! MORE GRAPHICS!”

    I can’t think of any value with zooming into Sicily so much that it occupies the majority of my screen.

    • Rich says:

      I love the newer campaign map. Having a few large armies that have to be manoeuvred carefully is far more interesting than maintaining a front line of Subbuteo men along your whole border.

      • McCool says:

        To each their own. Show me a most satisfying noise in the history of gaming than the BOOM of placing an army in enemy territory in Medieval Total War, and I..can’t finish this piece of rhetoric. The point is, you won’t find a more satisfying noise than that.


        • Chimpyang says:

          I swear the AI had less issues with the old style map than it does with the current one. You usually didn’t get the completely undefended cities/provinces that the AI seemed to love to use in STW2 in them, and reinforcements were never far away.

        • cHeal says:

          I love that sound. Medieval is still my favourite in the series by a long way. The rest are very shallow experiences in comparison (Medieval 2 being the worst imo). Just a pity Medieval doesn’t work on modern systems.

    • McCool says:

      This this, forever this. The brooding atmosphere of Medieval and Shogun, I’ve never known anything like it. Playing Medieval, hearing this link to , and looking over a map of Europe, a cat on your lap, pondering moves that would shape the lives of millions.

      It’s one of those rare circumstances when things actually WERE better back in the day. Even my beloved Paradox have never come close to the atmosphere of the first two Total Wars. The soundtrack was a huge part of that, beautifully understated and minimalist. It let the gameplay do the talking.

      • dsch says:

        Yes! Finally, kindred spirits.

      • Thathanka says:

        Couldn’t agree more. At least we still have the old games to go back and enjoy. Shogun, Rome and Medieval were a hell of a trilogy; each with a special atmosphere that seemed to transport you back to that time. Wonderful.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        “a cat on your lap, pondering moves that would shape the lives of millions.”


      • Binho says:

        Yes! A thousand times yes!!! That track especially :)

      • Ringwraith says:

        This has led me to the Rome soundtrack and then remembering a couple of the battle tracks from it which I remember the tune of quite well. I blame Time Commander.
        This is also only now when I realise I haven’t played a Total War game in years. :(

      • TC-27 says:

        I never liked the change of map style we got with Rome Total War but I think CA are very close to amiing it work as they intended and hopefully we will see that in Rome.

        I loved MTW but I also remember the truly hopless AI.

    • nearly says:

      I would have guessed that the seagulls were really high up, near the camera, but then I saw their shadows. I never knew this era had enormous birds flitting about.

      The game is already proving to be educational, at least.

      • BubbaNZ says:

        Not seagulls. It’s confetti or streamers or something, being fired up from the city high above the barrage balloons on the back of flaming flying pigs, to put off the elite Bedouin Doodlebug rocket camel raid (DLC only available in pre-order).

    • ahmedabdo says:

      Well, the new style maps is just a hex grid covered with all this graphics. I too prefer the old style maps. I think it would have been better if they made it like the EU maps. Use the old style, but split into many more areas. I see the current hex grid, however, similar to that.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Eh, I quite like the new map. I liked the new shogun map too. There’s something to be said for the effect of those seagulls and clouds. This game feels very Mediterranean to me, which is appropriate.

      It’s all subjective, of course but I like the feel of recent TW games, its just a shame the mechanics and AI never quite match. I would like to see them spending more time making sure those things work well.

      My own particular bugbear with the games is that I would REALLY like raiding regions to be useful – occupying roads, ports or torching or occupying farmland would starve a city to such a degree as to provoke a reaction from the AI.

  4. ukpanik says:

    Excited but I will wait for the inevitable game fixing patches before I buy.

    • Scissors says:

      Same. This time I am not falling for the preorder-and-spend-days-in-forums-after-release-trap.

    • MasterDex says:

      I’m thinking the same thing. I’m also hoping that there’s some sort of way to open up all the factions – but the way they’ve been doing DLC lately isn’t promising.

  5. McCool says:

    Ack, no, I can’t be pulled by this. It is gorgeous and all, but that is all it is. These guys have only repeatedly lied to their fanbase in the past, and have no real interest in pushing forward the genre and taking new risks, that much is pretty much evident in everything they’ve done in the past few years. The sheer amount of PRETTY on display pulls me, but I have to be strong.

    There are fantastic companies in the indies doing great things in the strategy genre, making games that won’t require me to buy a new PC in order to play.

    • Vinraith says:

      I’ve been repeating this to myself as well. I’ve bought far too many Total War games only to spend a few hours starting at the spectacle, then realize that the game itself is a vacant repetitive exercise that the AI doesn’t even know how to play. This is my favorite historical era, so it’s going to be especially hard, but after the “Shogun 2 is so much better” mantra and the subsequent realization that it’s the same old thing in a new wrapper, I think I can be strong for once.

      Personally, I’m hoping Hegemony Rome will scratch the itch, and be a better strategy game to boot.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        This is basically what I feel. Every time a new TW game comes out, I’m like “This sounds wonderful, so how come it’s so *boring*!?”

        Controlling an army of thousands in realistically scaled battlefields with realistic army sizes and platoons and all that sounds great, but for some reason the combat in TW always feels lackluster, and then you’re thrown back to the strategic map, which is plain boring.

        • McCool says:

          I think it’s the lack of depth. The hollow realisation that for all the money put into the graphics, the AI has the level of intelligence of a Space Invader.

          I think the games are fine as long as the graphics and the presentation holds your suspension of disbelief, but very, very soon they become a horribly lonely, dull place, as you see the systems for what they are.

          This has been my experience of every Total War since Medieval, anyway. Even the hallowed Rome only took my attention for a weekend.

          • Reapy says:

            Wow now that you both say it I think that is what has kind of scratched at me for a long while with total war. The IDEA is basically my ultimate game, their graphics, sound, animation and presentation of steadily improved with each release, but there is just something about the battles that have always made me feel dead inside while playing them… and the whole time the action sequences have felt that they go backwards rather than forward.

            I will probably grab this one the first sale that hits despite all that for the looks and theme… though I said I would get shogun 2 but I let that pass by…just the damn gameplay feels the same all the time, if anything this one feels extra fast.

            I dunno, this game could really use something to shake it up on the action portion…they do try different things on the campaign map, but they really seem afraid to vary up the combat.

          • Calculon says:

            This is the EXACT same issue I have with the Total War franchise as well. Looks pretty, sounds like it could be cool, and then you find out that the AI is dumber than box of hammers. It becomes dull, boring and repetitive fast. I recently tried Shogun 2 again hoping it would be better. That experiment lasted for about 2 hours before realizing they didn’t fix the AI one bit, and it still was boring. “Hollow, mechanical and repetitive” describe other TW games best.

      • jonahcutter says:

        Mods can help with the AI somewhat.

        The Total War experience I’m holding out for is the Europa Barbarorum 2 mod. I already own Medieval 2 (which EB2 will mod), and I know vanilla Rome 2 will never match the depth and breadth of historical texture the EB team accomplishes.

        Hell, it looks like CA incorporated into Rome 2, what EB1 did into how it constructed the Greek states.

  6. jonfitt says:

    Confession time. I have played every Total War and nearly every expansion since Shogun 1, and I have never finished a campaign.
    I find everything becomes bloated as your empire explodes in size and I am overcome with battle fatigue. Where you have battle after battle that is largely the same and takes considerable time to fight as the troop numbers increase.

    The thing I’d like to see from future TW games is things that address that.

    • BTAxis says:

      That’s an issue common to the 4X genre, not Total War in particular though.

    • Okami says:

      You are not alone! Played every Total War game and the only one I finished was Rome. And that was only because I had no job at that time and the last few hours were just a chore – the only thing that drove me on by that time was sheer mindless determination to finish the bloody thing. I almost finished Empire with th Austrians, but after fulfilling all victory conditions, I realized that I would have to hold my position for a couple of years and that was when I finally gave up

      Still, I enjoy rhe games immensely for the first two dozen hours or so, that Rome2 will be a day one buy for me. (Or actually day -1 so that I can get the silly preorder stuff – yeah I shouldn’t be supporting this nonsense)

    • Maritz says:

      Yep, me too. In fact I commented the same thing on a previous Rome 2 story. When victory is basically inevitable, I don’t feel the desire to actually see it through – it’s too much of a chore.

      Still, Rome 2 looks great and all, and I’ll doubtless buy it at some point anyway.

    • frightlever says:

      Those early TW games I pretty much stopped fighting battles on the map by the last half of the game and auto-resolved everything. Seems like that became a lot riskier in later games, or I may have simply become more risk-averse as I got older.

    • Thathanka says:

      I think I’m in the same boat. Have bought every TW since Shogun (not the expansions though) but things just become unwieldy after a few dozen hours.

    • MasterDex says:

      Now ya know how Rome felt after getting to the Atlantic archipelago

      “Screw this! These fuckers are crazy! And we’re all tired! Head home?”

    • AlFitz says:

      I can exclusively reveal (ok I just read it somewhere else) that there is going to be an army cap for each faction which should lessen the chaos that the TW games usually descend into. Should also speed up turns and make the game less confusing for the AI and human beans alike.

  7. Fred S. says:

    It’s hypnotic, really, watching the character’s muscle cuirass flex as he breathes. Made from hammered bronze or boiled leather too.

    Panning and zooming around the map should be accompanied by the sound effect of a small child playing “airplane”.

  8. Didden says:

    Did anyone else notice the city called Arse on the map? Perhaps my distance relatives came from there, but maybe not, often I think I can’t be Arsed.

    • Jubaal says:

      Glad someone else spotted it too, I thought it was only me.

      I think I too am a distant relative from the people of that (un)fair city!

  9. Hunchback says:

    What was the purpose of the broad in this video?

    Other than that, looks quite awesome, seems like the campaign map, which is my favourite part of these games, has gone more of Civilization kinda road… Which is quite nice, i guess. MOAR complexity plx, not just moving armies around.

    • Chris D says:

      Is the question “Why have an interviewer asking the developer questions that might be of interest to fans of the game” or “Why is the interviewer a woman”?

      • Gap Gen says:

        It might be argued that she could have been allowed to say more than “uh huh” (note: I have not watched the entire video).

        • Chris D says:

          She does get to say quite a bit more than that later on but I can see how you’d get that impression from the first few minutes.

          • Hunchback says:

            What i dislike most about that kinda videos is that the “interviewer” asks questions they know the answer of… and it’s obvious. God that’s annoying!

          • Reapy says:

            Format of the video was annoying, they could have covered it in about 45 seconds. Here is the map screen, here is panning around the awesome map a few moments… the end. The rest was pretty much a pre planned and poorly acted / written script…or maybe they should have had a script. Both people seemed really disinterested “Ohhh, yeah, super cool” with poorly attempted mock enthusiasm.

            Though maybe not their fault as they are probably really hamstrung by what they can show and/or talk about.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Ship-to-ship broading actions? Because Norfolk has too many? Because it’s about places that are abroad?

  10. frightlever says:

    Been here before. This time I’m waiting for the cut-price bundled-with-the-expandalone-and-all-DLC version that’ll be out in a couple of years, by which times the mods will be epic.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I have picked up total wars in most cases pretty early on. I understand that they’re not perfect but they are still enjoyable and pretty unique.

      My only real gripe was with how they handled Empire: Napoleon. It seemed to me that Napoleon was the game that Empire was supposed to be only I had to buy it again. I didn’t like that. I know many of the updates got patched in to empire but it was more than just the AI. Empire seemed lacking in so much content that was miraculously in Napoleon. Content such as anything to do with the peninsular war or towns. at all. et al.

      But I do have a pretty optimistic feeling about Rome 2.

  11. Chimpyang says:

    We’ll see how the AI handles all of it first, the battle AI has been particularly weak the last few iterations.

    Also – the video irritated me – there was just too much of a whiff of the “Aaron Sorkin – Men explaining things to women” about all of it.

    Aaand, I’ll drag my grump ass elsewhere now. :P

    • frightlever says:

      You’ve just ruined The Newsroom for me. Damn, he does do that a lot…

      • Chimpyang says:

        The only strong female character that I’ve seen in one of his shows was Nancy McNally in the West Wing. (CJ and Donna only really step it up after Sorkin left the show)

        • Vandelay says:

          I found this so true during a recent re-watch of The West Wing. Particularly with Donna, who spends most of the first couple of seasons being the stupid person who needs American politics explained to her the whole time, some how forgetting that she would need to have at least a little bit of political education to be working in the White House.

          The treatment of CJ is slightly more understandable, as the whole point is she is meant to be left in the dark by the others most of the time. She definitely comes into her own during the final seasons. More annoyingly, the repeated failed attempts to bring in reoccurring female characters does smack of Sorkin just not knowing how to write good female characters or just not knowing what to do with them once they are there.

          Still a great show and one of the best of all time (I even like it when Sorkin left, with the last season being one of my favourites,) but these issues really glare out at you when everything else is so fantastic.

          Oh yeah, Total War…

          • Chimpyang says:

            I agree that it’s still a standout show and a something everyone should try at some point. The post-Sorkin episodes vary in quality, but there are some absolute stand out episodes – a couple of my favorite episodes are the last 2 episodes of season 6.

            I just remembered another strong female character – Mandy. Discarded after season 1 without much explanation, but she was the original character to “take it” to the rest of the senior staffers.

            But yeah…total war….it’s like, totally, total right?

  12. Jimbo says:

    Fuck these guys, The Creative Assembly, I want to play your game! xx

  13. Jeremy says:

    Maps can sell me on almost any game genre. This is looking pretty good.

  14. elevown says:

    Remember this is sega published if anyone is boycotting them still for their asshole/arogant behaviour with all those illegal takedowns.

  15. dagudman says:

    Can you play as not Rome in this game? Just wondering because the title is misleading.

    • Molay says:

      Superb question! Maybe you would know had you watched the video from that article you’re commenting on :)

      As for the lazy folk, here your answer:

      • Superpat says:

        In the defense of some people, a 13 minute video is not always in the best interest of our internet bills..

        • Molay says:

          You mean there are still internet providers ripping off their clients by charging them depending on the volume of data transferred, in 2013? Whoa. In that case my deepest apologies to dagudman.
          Here’s the exhaustive list of playable factions for you, in a short, volume sparing textform:
          (below: free if preordered, else day1 dlc)

  16. sonson says:

    I do find the level of criticism TW games get to be pretty over the top. I’ve a veteran of the series, I bought the first game on day of release and have done the same with all iterations since, so I’m hardly objective here. That being said you would probably struggle to find someone who had a more withering attitude towards the AI failings of the series once the 3D engine kicked in, or anyone who was more keen to see a more believable diplomatic/factional simulation than the alternating dog pile/political stillwater that most maps became. It was rarely a challenge for the right reasons. The AI was very very poor after Rome up until Shogun 2 (although it is very good as of now).

    That being said, there are few games that I can recall that have been both so ambitious and, more impressively, which have come so close to achieving that ambition.
    People always talk about how all the series does is add “more graphics” but if anything the tactical battles and pretties have changed the least. The campaign map however has evolved from narrative mingame in the first two games to a Civ lite simulator to an actually pretty robust 4x campaign map game with RPG elements and a very impressive AI which follows exactly the same rules as the player until higher difficulty levels and puts up a good fight with it. All the while maintaining some of the most epic set pieces PC gaming has to offer in one of the most visually beautiful and technologically scalable packages, with a sense of spectacle that is still pretty much unrivalled. The contexts are imaginative-Early Modern Japan-or suitably epic-Rome- and invest heavily in balancing a sense of narrative context and authenticity against fun and creativity.

    I can only think of a few other modern examples which embody that quality of hugeness and richness which was a mark of classic PC Gaming a decade and half ago or so that can boast of coming anywhere near as close as fulfilling it. The TW series embodies what PC gaming is to a considerable extent. The TW series would not be able to exist on any other format or in any other medium. It possesses that sort of insane, geeky enthusiasm and earnest vision that is very British and Arthur Sinclair-y. TW needs the scope of the PC to execute it’s vision, and while it has creaked until it’s considerable bulk it nonetheless manages to pull off its conceit with aplomb.

    Like I said I *hated* the AI up until recently but I still played the series for probably thousands of Hours, because it’s unlike anything else and the majority of it’s components work and they work well. You want to play toy soldiers on your own, and give them a narrative to fight against, there is nothing better in the world as far as I’m concerned. There are better 4x games; there are better tactical games; there are more historically accurate ones; but there are none that come close to being as good at marrying the three. No-one ever seems to question why such a financially successful and huge series has no real credible challengers. I just don’t think anyone else can do it.

    Obviously Blood Pack DLC and poor AI five years ago makes all of this moot of course.

    • TC-27 says:

      Agree with this – Shogun is an execellent product (particulary the FOTS add on) which makes me think Rome will be a good product.

      I will play Rome and enjoy the graphics and that lovely map and treat it as you stated as a fun way to play with fantastically rendered digital toy soldiers in a context of a global campaign losely based on ancient history.

      Later on I will enjoy playing again with a mod that takes away all the silly Egyptian units and makes them a proper succesor state and stops units from sprinting ETC ETC

    • NickNerd says:

      Yes. My friends and I are all very excited about this game so I was a bit shocked when I scrolled down and read through the vehement hatred-filled posts about how they destroyed a once great series and the AI is horrible and Sega is evil etc. Nearly every post here is negative.

      I am so stoked about this game and your post really expressed the wonder I feel for this series.

  17. GameDreamer says:

    Wow game looks great and I like the ladies admittance over liking the style of a faction.

    Why not, huh good stuff. I will be getting this game my first Total War.

    God help me learning this!

    Free CD Key