Rome wasn't built in a day, but in launching under a year from its announcement Imperator: Rome is making pretty good time. Paradox Interactive today announced a release date for their grand historical strategy game - April 25th. Perhaps missing a trick not launching it on March 15th, but it'll have to do. Paradox reckon this should be a little easier to get into than some of their past games. They aim to strike a balance between the character-driven antics of Crusader Kings 2 and the grand military campaigning of Europa Universalis IV. See the release date trailer below.
While most Paradox games make my head spin, Imperator does seem to be rather special. Nic Rueben got the chance to play around with the game recently and found himself thoroughly beguiled by its toga-clad charms. As Paradox say, they've "done a decent tutorial this time", which should make all the difference for sludge-brained prats like myself. If you've ever watched any historical dramas, some of its systems should make sense, at least - the people of Rome will only allow tyranny to a point, and the senate need to be convinced of any case you make for war.
Being a grand strategy game, and putting you in the ruler's seat, conquest is a mostly hands-off process in Imperator. Your commanders will worry about stuff like formations and tactics, while you get to decide which commanders to send, how many men they'll be leading, and making sure that they're well fed and funded. That said, you do at least get to watch little figurines march around the map of all that you behold, stabbing each other with pointy sticks.
You're not limited to playing as Rome, either - the neighbouring kingdoms are less structured and allow for more ego-driven rule at the cost of stability. Every nation should have its own feel and political structure - Paradox have had a lot of practice with Crusader Kings 2, a game with a lot of room for personal expression, hence why I got on with it while bouncing off their other games. The similarly increased focus on personal political dynamics, backstabbing and drama here is enticing - it's all the good stuff we watch historical stuff for, really.
As an aside, anyone else getting Tigtone vibes from the art style in that trailer above? It can't be just me, surely.