Total War: Rome 2 Gamescom 2012 Preview -- The End of Faceless Cannon FodderBy Leah Jackson - Posted Aug 24, 2012
In the eighth installment of the Total War series, Total War: Rome 2 takes the franchise back to ancient Rome. It's been nine years since the original Rome: Total War was released, and since then developer The Creative Assembly has come quite a long way, developing other successful real-time strategy games including Total War: Shogun 2. Now they're returning to ancient Rome, the perfect era for devious political drama and tremendous battles.
In our hands-off demo of Total War: Rome 2 at Gamescom 2012, The Creative Assembly shared a few of its design philosophies behind the game. First and foremost they wanted to add human level drama to the game. To do so, Total War: Rome 2 will have all sorts of political dilemmas and family rivalries that you'll get to play through. Each decision players make will lead them down a particular path, and these decisions will have consequences in the campaign.
The Creative Assembly also plans to display this drama on the battlefield. With their new engine, you'll be able to zoom right up to any soldier during battles and watch as he reacts to what's going on to him. For example, if two soldiers are standing next to one another and one gets shot by an arrow, then his comrade will react in one way or another.
But where the Total War: Rome 2's new engine really shines is during the game's spectacular battles, which are something that you have to see to believe. Their scope is truly spectacular, and these massive scaled battles are another important facet that The Creative Assembly wants to showcase in Rome 2.
The battle we checked out was the Siege of Carthage, in which a young Scipio Aemilianus leads a massive army, complete with naval fleet, to the city of Carthage in order to sack and destroy it. As the battle scene opened, only three or four ships were in view, but as the camera zoomed out, dozens more began materializing.
As the ships began to sail towards Carthage, the camera turned around to display the awaiting army on land. The defenders went on for as long as the eye could see, but if we wanted to, we could have zoomed in to see each individual soldier to see their reaction to the oncoming onslaught.
Before we knew it, the ships pulled up and our soldiers disembarked into a bloodbath. Watching the armies fight one another is a sight to behold, as thousands of troops are on screen at once going at it. Carthaginian defenders sat atop walls firing arrows while our troops formed ranks to charge up the beach and assault the city from every angle.
During our demo, we switched from the cinematic third-person view to the more strategic tactical view a few times in order to see how our troops were doing. Tactical view gives players a zoomed out, top-down angle view of where units are so it's easier to see how things are going and where you should send your units next.
Eventually our army made their way over the wall of Carthage and in to the city streets. I honestly thought that the units were just going to attack the city walls, and once they went down the battle would be over. When the city walls went down, and I realized that the entire city of Carthage was fully explorable (and attackable), I was extremely impressed.
The demo ended in a cinematic display of Scipio leading the charge in to the city amidst falling towers and charging elephants. Historically, we all know how the Siege of Carthage finishes, but it was thrilling seeing it play out before our eyes and definitely left us wanting to see what other historical battles we'll encounter.
From our brief demo of Total War: Rome 2, we're excited to see what's coming next. The Creative Assembly mentioned that the new game will feature hundreds of units, tons of factions, tech trees, and more, so we'll just have to wait and see how they all come in to place when the game is released for the PC in late 2013.