Blood! You and I - and all people, really - are full of it! If you cut us, we will dribble out red stuff until we are naught but pale, crumbling husks. That, more often than not, is how blood works. Total War: Rome II, however, begs to differ. First it implicitly argued that blood doesn't exist at all, but now it's had a change of heart and pumped its soldiers full of so much plasma that the slightest pin prick will make them pop like balloons full of cherry pie. It's a, er, fun option, but there's just one problem. The aptly titled "Blood and Gore" DLC? It costs money. Not a lot, but this is kind of an inconsequential feature - not so many clippity clopping steps removed from horse armor. And in light of Rome II's list of rather glaring issues, this seems like kind of an odd time to charge for a glorified blood slider option.
It is, at least, a fairly robust blood slider. For $3/£2 you get the following:
- New blood-spattered front end
- Graphics option for turning on/off blood
- Blood VFX on arrow/pilum/javelin impacts
- Blood VFX on rock/stone impacts
- Blood VFX on death animations
- Blood shader on death animations and attackers
- Decapitation on selected death animations
- Dismemberment on selected death animations
- Blood decals on terrain
- Sound effects for all blood animations
The short version? Rome II now has bloody blood that bloods bloodily. Well, if you pay the mighty blood-o-mancers over at Creative Assembly and Sega, anyway.
Now, this DLC pack feels kind of like a slap in the face given the historical strategy's rather troubled, er, history, but it's probably not as bad as it could be. For one, I doubt the creation of these blood effects detracted from dev time on more important features like bug fixes, balances, and AI. Different teams work on different aspects of the game, and I don't imagine artists have much to do at this point. Often, developers greenlight work on quick-and-dirty DLC as soon as the main game is out the gate in order to keep certain teams (art, for instance) from getting laid off altogether. It's messy business, but there is at least rhyme and reason to it.
That, however, is speculation on my part, and I still don't think a few cascading dollops of bodily fluid are worth multiple moneybucks. Blood on/off is a feature that's included in many violence-heavy games, so paying extra for it here just feels weird. It's available now if you want it, but I think I'll just keep my nickels and dimes to myself for now.