Total War: Rome 2’s Empire Divided DLC is out now

When Empire Divided, Total War’s latest expansion, trundled into our garage, Fraser was the mechanic on duty. He walked around the chariot, kicked the wheels, took the pencil from behind his ear and made a few notes. “It’s not in bad nick,” he said, after some deliberation, “but it’s no Warhammer.”

You should read the rest of his review if you’re considering buying this new expansion for Rome II. It’s out now, gives the game a brand new grand campaign and loads of other gubbins, and might scratch that historic itch. But it also highlights one of the issues of a post-Warhammer world; namely, that loads of people with various pointy or clubby things don’t quite match up to dragons, dinosaurs and man-eating trolls.

I haven’t even caught up with Warhammer II yet and even though I prefer history to fantasy in my strategy games, I’m much more likely to go and play with the ratpack than the Romans and their many enemies. I’m more interested in the British standalone saga that’s in the works than I am in another return to Rome, and I’m keen to see where Creative Assembly cast their historical eye next. But, for now, I think I’ll follow Fraser’s advice and kill some elves.

That said, if you are hungry for Total War and a return to reality seems like a good idea, there are plenty of positives, not least that some of the upgrades will be applied to existing copies of Rome II even if you don’t buy the expansion:

“Look, we all know that Creative Assembly should pinch some ideas from Paradox when it comes to creating a compelling politics and intrigue system, or better yet, collaborate on something, but since that’s probably never going to happen, Empire Divided provides a solid, if simple, alternative. And it’s not broken this time. It’s worth noting that the Power and Politics update is a free and separate patch that you won’t need any expansions to play.”

Empire Divided requires a copy of Total War: Rome II and is £11.99 via Steam.

9 Comments

  1. stringerdell says:

    It really feels like the Warhammer versions are a game changer for the series, every faction feeling like a new game adds a crazy level of replay value… no idea how they will keep future historical titles interesting in comparison, CA have their work cut out for them!

    • TheOx129 says:

      TW: Warhammer certainly has the most pronounced faction asymmetry yet out of all the Total War games, but part of me can’t help but feel that folks’ love of Warhammer specifically or fantasy more generally has made people overstate the shakeups to the series that occurred with TW: Warhammer. For me, magic just felt like a marginally more robust version of generic leader abilities (e.g., Rally, Inspire, etc.) and even with the faction asymmetry, I found myself mostly using the tried and true hammer-and-anvil tactics that have dominated the series since its inception.

      Granted, I’ll readily admit a bias in favor of history and against Warhammer, which never really clicked for me like it does many others. Still, I think that something like making a pike and shot era game or adding a supply system like that in the Divide et Impera mode for Rome 2 would represent a far more fundamental shakeup to the series formula than the changes seen in TW: Warhammer.

      • Imperialist says:

        Id say the Warhammer IP is, for me, TWW’s biggest redeeming quality. I love TWW1 and TWW2 to death, but it iss mechanically inferior on the battlemap to its predecessor, TW Attila, which to me is the highest point of the Warscape Engine TW games. It had the variety of factions and objectives, the Grand Campaign shook up the formula enough and the destruction mechanics are gorgeous (even if it crushes any mortal man’s PC doing it). But gone are things like Formations, or, tbh, a personal favorite of mine since Medieval 2 (and maybe Rome 1, i dont remember)…Bracing. If a unit was stationary, they would assume a defensive posture if things got close, giving them a bonus to defense, especially against arrows. The small things that made battle flow like it should. Defensive tactics no longer really work, and theres dragons and chariots and magic spewing all over your men because those things are in vogue and the average footsoldier is just meat for the sandwich. TWW isnt so much a leap forward, as one foot firmly planted on the floor, whilst the other is on the treadmill, slowly but inexorably stretching it out until something breaks.

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          wozmir says:

          Generally agreed, though bracing is in; a good example being Charge defence vs Large/All working ONLY when you’re braced AND attacked from the front.

          And what about the battle AI being, hands down, the best in the series?

        • Jdopus says:

          Bracing is actually still a feature though, it’s automatic and happens as long as a unit is standing still.

  2. wombat191 says:

    One small thing in this that makes the world of difference to me, when right clicking on a unit card it INSTANTLY loads the details and text about said unit. No more waiting 5 seconds plus like it has been.

    I’ve missed that ever since they changed it after shogun 2.

  3. biggergun says:

    I kinda wish they would continue updating Rome Crusader Kings-style (or at least backport quality of life changes from newer titles). Warhammer is undeniably a better game, but, you know, Romans. And Spartans. And elephants. Antiquity is cool.

    That said, I’ll miss stylised unit cards. Really liked those, never understood all the hate.

  4. Hyena Grin says:

    Warhammer:TW is definitely fun, but it’s also the most arcadey of their various titles. Which works for Warhammer, but would seriously undermine my interest in their historical titles.

    I wouldn’t trade Attila for more TW titles in the style of Warhammer, and I genuinely kinda fear that they will do just that. That would kill the TW series for me, I think.

    If I want to goof around with relatively cool battles with minimal strategy and empire-building, I can play Warhammer. But most of the time I’d rather have the grander scale of Attila, or the scalpel-like focus of Shogun 2.

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