Rome: Total War Barbarian Invasion
Review by diamondhammer
"At least equal to its predecessor in quality."
Rome Total War was a fantastic game. I spent perhaps eighty hours playing that gem, and was very excited when the expansion was released. I went to E-Play and bought it, installed and began...
The gameplay in this has been perfected over five games before it, and gets better each time. New features in Barbarian Invasion that are immediately noticable are - Different and new factions, such as the two Roman Empires (East and West), the Sassanids (replacing the Seleucids), the Huns (great horsemen) and the Saxons (great seamen with good infantry). Another new feature is the ability for some factions to turn into a horde when their last town is taken. These hordes are roughly eight thousand men, and can roam the world looking for fat cities to sack or occupy. Two factions actually begin as hordes - the Huns and the Vandals.
The map is also changed - there are considerably less provinces, and many are huge cities from the start. The barbarian factions also seem much more fleshed out than the ones in Rome Total War, and they seem to be on a more or less even plane with the more developed factions. Only one thing prevents this part from getting 10, and that is the naval battles. They are just completely random - you press a button, and then see the result of the battle. If you want advanced naval combat, go with a game like Sid Meier's Pirates!, not this.
GRAPHICS - 8.5/10
The graphics in this game are a slight improvement over Rome Total War, but not really by much. The graphics were already pretty impressive back then, though the individual soldiers looked kinda blocky when you zoomed in real close. and quite often clip into each other. From a height though, the battles are truly spectacular, especially at night. In any given night battle that I play there are fire arrows and flaming rocks zooming all over the place, which looks very impressive. On the campaign map, things look fine - clear, bright and well-defined. They are better than satisfactory, but not really superb, so this category gets an 8.5.
SOUND - 8/10
The music is excellent on Barbarian Invasion, but the sound effects in other department are not exactly brilliant, though the general's speech before you enter battle is often funny and even more often disturbing.
CONTROLS - 9/10
The controls in Barbarian Invasion are pretty much great. You can go straight into the game without much hassle, but the controls go quite deep, though much of the system just quietly pales into disuse because they're so pointless, or can be done just by using the mouse. This loses the category one point, but no trouble will be had with the controls.
OVERALL - 9/10 (NOT AN AVERAGE!)
This game is a great addon for Rome Total War, and most fans of the series will welcome the gameplay changes and new setting.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/24/05
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