Why I’m excited for Rome Total War  Remastered

Rome Total War Remastered version of the 2004 hit RTS Strategy game Total War made by the UK Games Studio: Creative Assembly. Rome Total War was a classic back then because no other developer had ever created a game with 3d graphics at a time when the industry was moving from 2d to 3d. Instantly you can see why the title itself became a hit: The name of Rome Total War instantly appealed to those that had an interest in the history of Classical Anqutitiy. You could play as the Roman families, the Juli, the Brutii, and the Scipii and re-enact your dreams of conquering Carthage, crushing the Gauls, and invading Greece. All historical methods from which the actual Roman Republic expanded from and came into contact with. This game was not historically accurate, but it was historically authentic. Of course, the biggest thing about Rome’s Total War was its large map, the ability to fight in cities, and its battle engine which for 2004, there weren’t a lot of games providing such excellent 3d graphics and allowing you to have the ability to view battles in real-time. As a result, the Rome Engine was used by the BBC show: Time Commanders. Where they would use the engine to simulate historical battles and invite history nerds and amateurs to fight in teams. It was also used in historical documentaries.

Roman Legions attack the blue-painted Celts of Britannia in the Rome Remastered version

Now that’s an easier title to market than anything else. Back when we used to still have CDs, it used to be an exciting experience to go to the game store and pick up a video game box and see what new titles were coming. The cover artwork of Rome Total War illustrates a shouting Roman General with Roman legions marching across the background. It instantly gave you that vibe of the classical world, of what sword and sandal movies had covered before. Now installing the game did take quite a bit of time, but it reminds me of those days. Rome Total War launched the successive Total War Franchise which has grown and is massive today with titles such as Three Kingdoms which is set in China, and the Warhammer Fantasy Universe, Warhammer Total War. It is the biggest franchise for an RTS series and there isn’t much competition, or hardly any at all. Someone will have heard or played Total War. Henry Cavill plays Warhammer! Many celebrities do as well. Total War is a franchise that people passionately love and dislike at the same time. It’s a fun series to play with.

Now, Rome Total War is coming to Steam as a remastered game done by Feral Interactive, who have been responsible for porting the older total war games to mobile and iPad, and Mac. Feral deserve a lot of praise for Rome Total War Remastered because they have upped the scales with the graphics. Bear in mind, that when you play Rome Total War (the original version) most of the units were copy and pasted. Now in the Remastered version, the units vary upon which region you train them from. You could recruits legions in Egypt and they could be entirely different from the ones you recruit in Gaul for example. There are many facial options and units don’t look the same. There’s improved graphics, saturation, up-to-date modern features. Another thing that must be mentioned is a well-known YouTuber in the Total War Community: Melkor. He built his channel on the 2004 Rome Total War Game, covering aspects of what the game’s historical accuracies were and weren’t, covering content that didn’t make it into the final version of the game, and consistently put the case for remastering Rome Total War remastered. It seems Creative Assembly listened and Feral Interactive was put in charge of this project. It seems Melkor did a fantastic job, and hopefully, we may see more good content coming from him in the future when it comes to determining other total war ports (A Medieval 2 remastered would be nice.)

So now we come to the point of this: Rome Total War Remastered. What does it offer to new players and to new fans? It has 4k textures, an additional upgrade on the textures of new and old buildings, bringing back new features such as:

  • Attacking cities by first having to build siege engines. Something the newer titles are lacking where you can directly attack a settlement fist.
  • A day/night cycle where you can fight battles in real-time and at night. This also reflects on the campaign map
  • Improved weather conditions, an additional upgrade to diplomatic options
  • Enhanced camera to zoom into battles like never before – this is something you can do with Rome II (The sequel to Rome Total War)
  • Screenshots can be taken by removing the UI with the K control. Something which wasn’t possible in Rome Total War.

There is a lot to unpack here. Suffice to say, the Rome Remastered version has been upgraded to be better with modern systems. Another excellent feature is the modding capabilities. Part of Rome Total War’s success was the fact that it had an innumerable amount of mods. Those mods covered the eras of the Roman Republic to the Empire. There was Europa Barbaroum, which gave the game a much-needed uplift in historical accuracy, over-hauling the campaign map, adding its custom soundtracks, and voice acted historically accurate dialogues. That mod put Rome Total War on the map. Many others came with Rome Total Realism, Classical Age Total War, and so on. They added new units, over-hauled campaign maps, and had a more historical emphasis. The mods increased the longevity. With regards to the modding capabilities, in an AMA on their discord with their fans, Feral Interactive (A third-party developer that is behind the remastered version of Rome Total War, they were also responsible for bringing RTW to iPhone and Ipad) stated that the campaign map was divided into a thousand tiles. So basically put, the game takes a base texture as input to a basic shader and then combined with topography would generate a battle map. This was back in the days of 2004. Now what Feral has done is to keep the same system, but re-define the ones needed. There are now 104 4K textures, generated through the in-game engine, and are now assets. Quite basically, it is a long answer to go through. But map modding ability so far, seems to be in the right direction. Faction limits have been removed, and you can unlock factions at the start of the game, there will be a Steam workshop. Some mods can be ported onto the new engine, while some won’t. It would be better to start with a new base and re-doing old mods as well.  Units have been over-hauled, and they are on a 1 to 1 basis when it comes to battles. You will be able to identify with new units as such during battle. All of this sounds they are respecting the moldability of the old game, and helping modders with the newer version.

And that’s what makes me excited the most. With these improvements and enhancements, it is only a matter of time that once the full modding tools are released, there will be many modders coming and creating new assets, cities, and such. For example, in the current Total War scene, we have a Third Age mod for Medieval 2 based on LOTR. We have an Elder Scrolls/Warhammer mod for Medieval 2. For Attila Total War, we have Ancient Empires (A mod that ports the classical annuity setting into Attila complete with custom units, city maps, and unique battles) A Rise of Mordor Mod which is coming along very nicely, and a Medieval 1212 mod which makes the era of Attila into the Medieval Era. Rome Remastered will offer a much easier time in terms of installing mods in my opinion, whereas if you’ve downloaded a mod for Rome Total War, it took time to install it. There is a limitless range as to what mods can come for Rome Remastered. I think it’s like Bannerlord. The mods that will come for these games are going to sweep the community off their feet. I feel that this is a great moment.  The AI in Total War has been a contentious issue from the very beginning. I have been watching other YouTubers play this game and reading the AMA, Feral have said they are looking to improve the campaign and battle AI. In my opinion, it should be fixed as much as possible before the release date. It is good news to hear that smaller nations during diplomacy will scrutinize you, and there is a trust-based system put in place. The AI will attack across seas, so that’s also a good thing. There’s a ton of changes and improvements that I could go through in every little detail. But I won’t because you can find most of the answers in the Total War discord: https://discord.gg/totalwar – go to the Rome AMA channel and you will find the majority of answers there. I am giving you a glimpse of what is to come to the least.

Overall, this is a very faithful adaptation. I do hope that this game will have potential new DLCs and that it can revive the historical community who for some time have felt CA has been focusing on the direction of the fantasy franchise which is doing very well for them. Some great features that are returning: City viewer. You could directly view the city on the campaign map. Man of the Hour returns and if your general fought greatly, he becomes promoted. Storms and natural events make their way back to the game. Free for all has returned in the multiplayer version. The game will be supported post-launch. They are working on the AI and that’s also a good thing. They brought merchants into the game who can bribe, monopolize resources and pretty much benefit your factions. The UI is streamlined, thus being smaller, but it allows you to keep a track of where your agents are. You can send Assassins to remove a certain diplomat. It is pretty much structured in a way that you don’t feel overwhelmed. Out of all the total war games, Rome Remastered is one I would be wanting to recommend. Plus, the original game had an extreme balancing issue with larger unit sizes. As a result, the larger the unit size, the population of your cities becomes too difficult to manage. The AI and you as a result couldn’t upgrade the settlements to the higher tiers that were needed. So, you had lower-tier armies as a result, because this game works on a population system. Now in the remastered version, population levels balance the level of recruitment. The choice of your unit size is no longer affected so you can fight better-trained armies as a result. I am excited about this game. This is a game you should buy on Steam and the modding capabilities are immense.

The Total War Trailer Quality of Life brings you the new changes made:

 

 

 

 

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