Rome: Total War
I would love to say many nice things about Rome: Total war's online experience but sadly there are few good words there. Rome: Total War may have one the best and most beautiful single player games but when it comes to playing online it's nearly as bad as a trip to the dentist while you have a mouth full of cavities.
After getting used to the new interface in Rome: Total War I ventured online to find a myriad of overwhelming problems. First and probably the worst problem is actually trying to join a game. There were 5-6 games when I signed onto Gamespy through the in game MP Service and out of the 5-6 open games that were available at 3pm on Sunday afternoon (hint to the online popularity) I was able to join zero. I was forced to wait in the lobby for about 10-15 additional minutes while being serenaded to the lovely words of "This sucks" and the ever popular "Gamespy sucks". When I finally got around to playing online I was briefed by many players that siege is for n00bz and I shouldn't use them…. I didn't use them but the same people that told me not to use them, used them. Outraged by this I used my superior units to completely remove their presence from the field.
That brings me on to problem 2; certain civilizations are completely overpowered compared to others. I cannot stress how badly certain elephant toting, fire arrow shooting, races completely ruin the online element of play. Making the wrong choice of race will immediately force a loss on you no matter how tactically versed you are. Some elephants and heavy cavalry will annihilate hordes of barbarians with very little effort. The main problem with this equation is if you are last to join the game you missed out on all the best races so you are forced to choose a weaker race and run interference while your allies clear the field, if you're lucky.
If you are lucky enough to be evenly matched against your foe the game could get quite interesting depending on your knowledge of tactical combat and your micro management skills. The game will play out to the best tactician, in most of the games I played size of force didn't matter as long as you knew what to use and when to use them, however if you chose a barbarian race vs. a disciplined Roman family you are pretty much toast.
Many of the Rome: Total War players are "elitists" in the fact that they will pick and choose who they want to play and if you join you will be taunted first then properly booted from the lobby. I'm not saying that I deserve to play in these games but a simple "I'm sorry man but this is a game for better players and it might not be fun for you". You see at least with a courteous "get out" you help the community grow instead of adding resent to an already poor MP experience. Bad manners keeps poor company and many "bad manners" are thrown around the Gamespy lobby for Rome: Total War.
Visuals are fabulous, if you have the system to see them that is. Having them minimum requirements and jacking the settings to full detail will not only slow your performance but it will ruin the game for everyone else. Nothing spells happy time like spending 20-30 minutes to get in a game only to have it lag because someone wants to see all the pretty effects that their Geforce 2 can't show anyway, it's a downer to say the least but what can you do. I really like Rome: Total War's single player game but this review isn't about the single player experience, it's about Multiplayer and how completely opposite the gameplay is from its single player counterpart.
Honestly Rome: Total War was not meant to be played online and would have sold just as well without an online element. It is sometimes fun to have fun, epic battles online but this takes away that immersing feeling the single player campaigns give you and completely ruins the experience.
|Reviewed December 6, 2004 by Mathius Kain|