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Rome 2 - A casualty of the casual?

RayeRaye Senior MemberPosts: 233Registered Users
edited October 2013 in Total War: ROME II
I've played Total War for over 10 years now and I can honestly say that this release is just as bad as Empire, if not worse. They have slowly taken the winning formula for Total War and dumbed it down for the masses. 'Casual gamers'; the console and phone game generation, have been the downfall of many a great PC game series. From top to bottom this game is purely sacrilegious to any Total War fan who values depth and tactical battles. They have taken away all of our control and implemented gimmicks to please the casual gamer.
I will provide some insight into the fundamental flaws at the core of the games design rather than elaborate on the myriad of optimization problems and graphical bugs the game suffers from at this time. Just to clarify, I want the game to be a success! I am a rabid fan. I built a $3,000 Xfire machine just for the game early this year.

GAMEPLAY:
A huge number of features that were available even in Total War: Rome are missing or broken both conceptually and mechanically. I will try and break down the problems point by point as they relate to gameplay. Some outrage is expressed here but I'll try to keep things objective.


-No family tree. CA told us that they wanted us to connect with the human side of Total War. They then removed the family tree. Characters appear at random and you have no idea where they've come from. There isn't even a clear indicator as to who your faction leader is! You have to FIND that information. Politics don't seem to have any real tangible effect on your empire and seem arbitrary as a result. Exacerbating that problem is the fact that you can't really be bothered about 'Joe General #26' from the Mysterious Void gaining influence within your empire.


-No 'Loose' or 'Tight' generic formation commands. Can't spread to avoid enemy fire?!


-No 'Guard' command, your units cannot be instructed to maintain their position and formation at all costs. Even the most disciplined melee troops devolve into a blob during melee combat.


-Testudo and Phalanx do not currently function properly. Testudo does not properly protect against missile fire(A bug, I know). Hoplites will not maintain their phalanx formation and advance when instructed to attack an enemy. You must charge and then try and reform into a blobalanx. Why do we have to work around broken mechanics and inefficient control schemes?


-You cannot toggle fire at will on infantry with javelins, they only fire when they charge. Some unfortunate tactical consequences are that they cannot throw javelins to break an enemy charge and then receive the broken charge, they cannot fire on skirmishers and cavalry harassing them, and if you move reserves to reinforce a battle line they will AUTOMATICALLY throw their javelins into the backs of your own men who are already engaged. WTF CA?


-Troops have inappropriate context based behavior or a complete lack thereof. IE. They will stand in position and take arrows to the face from archers ten feet away (as if instructed to guard, but still lose unit cohesion in melee) and will not chase routing enemies. During a melee blob if a unit of men destroy their immediate foe (target) they will not engage nearby enemies. They will stand there watching their comrades get hacked apart five feet away.


-Auto run breaks unit cohesion.


-You can rush gates and burn them. Why be bothered with clunky and useless siege equipment? Rush in and torch those gates! Apparently walled cities are so rare in Rome because walls are useless. Who knew?


-BATTLES ARE WAY TOO FAST! The battles last a few minutes generally. You spend three minutes walking to the enemy force. Your lines meet and devolve into a chaotic blob and the melee is typically over in about 30-50 seconds as one side routes. If you were inclined to flank the blob you typically don't even have time to move a single flanking unit around into position before the melee is decided. You're far better served simply committing the unit into the blob of doom right away and spamming the 'magic' combat buffs/abilities your men have. Speaking of...


-MAGIC COMBAT ABILITIES! You can hit a button and suddenly your men charge with more force than usual or you can magically remove all fatigue? Get your voodoo out of my Total War. Abilities should have a justifiable function that makes sense.


-Units run entirely too fast, especially with tactical map speed buffs on roads for certain units and while charging. I would seriously estimate that your men can charge at nearly 30mph.. Again, wtf?


-Victory Flags. What is strategic or tactical about standing next to a flag in a location that is strategically irrelevant? Nothing. Artificial victory devices and logical strategy are mutually exclusive. Are we aiming for an arcade style console port or a deep, tactical, and engaging strategy game that rewards intelligent play?


-Diplomacy has improved so far as the campaign AI actually interacting with you in ways beyond declaring war but it is almost always on their terms. If you prefer passive diplomacy you wont notice the problem but if you want to proactively cultivate an environment of success with your neighbors, you will fail. The AI refuses to accept logical treaties of any kind without bribes, very unfortunate.


-Magic boats appear when you move an army into the ocean... Magic.... Boats.... The ability for armies to simply walk across portions of the sea in a single turn completely quashes the intricacy of the Mediterranean theatre. These transport ships are free and can be used to great effect in naval battles. Building and maintaining an incredibly expensive navy is rendered void of strategic value and ineffective. You can recruit a bunch of militia then march them into the sea and ram your enemies navy to death without much difficulty. Horrid.


-The campaign AI is atrocious even on the highest difficulty setting. The AI nations will maintain small armies and play passively. If they do field large armies the majority of the time they will consist of almost all slingers or other skirmishers. This causes the large field battles to involve a 10 second melee blob of doom then 10 minutes of you chasing down skirmishers at random. Epic, disciplined, and mechanized meat grinding battles? I bought the wrong game.


-Unit multiplier is locked. Why am I limited to smaller unit sizes than the original decade old game?


-One turn per year. Good luck utilizing the fresh and interesting general progression ideas. All of your generals will die of old age very quickly, assuming they survive even one blob of doom. (Not likely, thanks to the extremely high kill rates.)


-Army Limits. This is actually one of the few new features/restrictions that I find myself on the fence on. The army cap has some great benefits, if implemented properly.
If the AI can't be made to cope with building unlimited armies from cities then maybe it could be made to at least properly muster a few large armies with a cap. This may only be by virtue of the fact that if the AI is prompted to increase its military power then it has no venue for that beyond the generals on the field.
With fewer armies spamming the map then battles should become more decisive.
So far however, the benefits aren't manifesting very clearly. One major drawback is that moving troops (not armies), patrolling, and maintaining extra garrison forces are all tedious logistical nightmares. Another drawback is that you can wind up with a bloated and useless economy and no way to continue to grow once you've maxed out your military and civil caps.

The removal of freedom of choice in a game of this scope is a very delicate thing and can lead to unnecessarily frustrating methods of control. I think the army cap should be more fluid and potentially unlimited, relative to how much you invest into it. A logistics system that borrows its basic premise from Europa Universalis may be the solution. You could potentially have as many armies as you like, but it is going to cost you exponentially more to maintain all those supply lines and training camps..


-The UI is beyond inconvenient. It is a mess of sub menus and obscure iconography. You play the game through a figurative maze, not a streamlined UI for 2013.
This post by Siven80 covers the UI extensively, check it out:
http://forums.totalwar.com/showthread.php/78887-Rome-2-Interface-is-uninformative-and-a-downgrade-on-the-near-perfection-of-Shogun-2.


-The awesome in game encyclopedia of information that the legacy Total War games featured? Still gone. Sure, a cohesive encyclopedia is a great idea, if it is navigable and intuitive enough to provide information in a timely manner.

Edit: I expand on this as I discover more about the game, both good and bad.
Post edited by Raye on
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Comments

  • spartanlemurspartanlemur Senior Member Posts: 527Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    I completely agree with you.

    The lack of family politics is what's currently ruining my playtime, but I agree with every other point you've mentioned.

    The series is indeed becoming too casual, a decision I can't quite get my head around seeing as it's both PC exclusive and requires a powerful rig. I feel like it's more about steamrolling your way to the end of the victory conditions rather than sitting back and playing emperor, and this is exactly why it's suitable for mobile gamers but not people who want to sit and play a deep, hundred hour campaign.
  • lysforlysfor Member Posts: 68Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Civ effect all the way
  • dragonlightdragonlight Senior Member Posts: 2,840Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    I completely agree with you.

    The lack of family politics is what's currently ruining my playtime, but I agree with every other point you've mentioned.

    The series is indeed becoming too casual, a decision I can't quite get my head around seeing as it's both PC exclusive and requires a powerful rig. I feel like it's more about steamrolling your way to the end of the victory conditions rather than sitting back and playing emperor, and this is exactly why it's suitable for mobile gamers but not people who want to sit and play a deep, hundred hour campaign.
    There politics but its like 2nd to other features. Its like its missing something to make it actually worth using it. For now I use it very rarely also there isn't too of an impact if you let the others grow in strength but then again I am only turn ~20 I think.
    "Nothing happens to anybody which he is not fitted by nature to bear."

    "Festina lente" (Make haste slowly)

    My mini beast PC :

    AMD FX 6120 6 core 3.5 Ghz
    10gb Ram
    EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC
  • PhalangitePhalangite Senior Member Posts: 383Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Agreed. Was hoping for Rome 1 with better graphics and more content, got some type of foreign RTS where content is lacking in favor of 5 min mosh pit battles, where strategy is not required.
  • dragonlightdragonlight Senior Member Posts: 2,840Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Phalangite wrote: »
    Agreed. Was hoping for Rome 1 with better graphics and more content, got some type of foreign RTS where content is lacking in favor of 5 min mosh pit battles, where strategy is not required.

    Wait for balancing units patch on Friday. We got a good product its just need more polish.
    "Nothing happens to anybody which he is not fitted by nature to bear."

    "Festina lente" (Make haste slowly)

    My mini beast PC :

    AMD FX 6120 6 core 3.5 Ghz
    10gb Ram
    EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC
  • black-black- Senior Member Posts: 279Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    The magic answer to all this:

    get modding tools ready for every aspect of this game!
    CA should ONLY focus on the technical part modders can't fix by changing values.

    See Skyrim? It's still alive, selling like nuts since years. It wouldn't without mod tools.
  • zzman305zzman305 Senior Member Posts: 459Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Agree. CA **** the bed on this.
    Veni Vedi Veci
  • XavierXavier Banned Posts: 64Banned Users
    edited September 2013
    Wonderful post, well said. CA need to read this before fumbling onto a patch that could well do more harm than good.
  • dragonlightdragonlight Senior Member Posts: 2,840Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Cry me a river but it will not help . If you upset just don't play until they patch it. Why be upset on a game that in few days will run well.
    "Nothing happens to anybody which he is not fitted by nature to bear."

    "Festina lente" (Make haste slowly)

    My mini beast PC :

    AMD FX 6120 6 core 3.5 Ghz
    10gb Ram
    EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC
  • MidgetsmasherMidgetsmasher Senior Member Posts: 292Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    This is very well written and i completely agree. These are the points many just ignore, what you mostly see here in the forums is "Oh, the game is just buggy and bugs can be fixed." But it's not just bugs, it's every aspect of the game down to the core gameplay mechanics everything is more dumbed down and casual.

    Casual gaming is not a bad thing when it's happening on your couch and you are just wanting to have some relaxing time.

    But when we are talking about a Strategy game like the Total war series, it's obviously not a good thing. What we want for games like these are in-depth strategy and management. But that has clearly not been done here. Hopefully for the next title they have learned something from this.
    I eat small metal objects.
  • The Great DaneThe Great Dane Senior Member Posts: 107Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Hey Guys and Ca

    Being a TW Veteran from way back in 2000 I absolutely love CA and the Guys/girls working there.

    I will forever love Total War games, but once again I wonder, why you use us as beta testers on a released game?

    Me -- and a LOT of veterans - would love to have given you the feedback you now recieve from angry fans.

    It's many years since I found out, that if I want to enjoy my favorite game, I'll have to put it on the shelf for approx 6 months before it has been patched to a state, where it actually is ready for release/playing.

    So out of pure love for you hard working CA guys and girls I really hope, that you involve us more in some sort of beta testing Next time.

    Just look at this forum: In one day it floats with a lot of good ideas / missing pieces / bugs / things, even we veterans don't understand in the systems because they're not properly explained/executed.

    A lot of this could have made this game epic -- so why on earth not use us BEFORE release?
  • VaporsnakeVaporsnake Junior Member Posts: 18Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Wow, I can actually relate with a lot of these points. I think the top 3 things that just feel off for me are unit speed, magical transport ships, and the UI. Oh God, the UI...
    I can't exactly pinpoint what it is with the UI right now, but I'm finding it rougher than Shogun 2's, even though it was meant to be 'streamlined'. Maybe it's the mass of data/values spread over multiple context menus rather than on one menu. Or maybe it's trying to determine what buildings I have each turn by deciphering iconography through more context menus.
  • black-black- Senior Member Posts: 279Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Cry me a river but it will not help . If you upset just don't play until they patch it. Why be upset on a game that in few days will run well.

    You still don't understand. They decided to casualize. Even if they fix everything, they won't stop casualising. The funny part comes when you think about why people bought Rome 2 - they expected it to be like Shogun 2 with Rome setting. And we got something no one ever asked for.
  • Drop ShockDrop Shock Member Posts: 88Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    GET AWAY FROM ME YOU FILTHY CASUALS.

    In all seriousness, if you think Rome II was dumbed down, I'm not sure what planet you're living on. It's more complex in many regards than most of the previous games. Battles can be combined naval/land, naval battles have ramming, units have more abilities, factions have way more variety of units, there are more diplomatic options, agents have many more actions, you have to specialize cities because you can't build every building in every city, armies have stances now that have a very major impact on the campaign, etc.

    If you think diplomacy is impossible you haven't tried to affect it enough. Sure, it may be on their terms on the surface, but you can very easily change what terms they're pushing for. Affecting relations with surrounding factions, military strength, past history, all impact what the faction will agree to. I think manipulating diplomacy is a nice challenge.

    The removal of a family tree makes organization a bit harder but it isn't dumbing down, especially since there's this internal politics system now. Which is more complexity.

    Battle speed is subjective. I like how it is. My battles last long enough for flanking and everything.

    No guard button is a bummer. I hope they add it back in.

    Loose/tight formations, not really that big of a deal. There's already enough to do with formations, and units with shields already automatically raise them against missile fire.

    Okay. There's my post. Just wanted to say.
  • EptesicusEptesicus Senior Member Posts: 422Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    The exclusion of being able to set your men to guard is quite baffling. Why did they get rid of that ????!
  • MephalamosMephalamos Senior Member Posts: 1,026Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Fantastic post. Agreed.
    Snappera wrote: »
    Culture - Total War fan

    Eternal Virginity: -2 provincial growth rate
    DLC Rage: Taxation negative public order modifier x2
    PC Master Race: -10% unit recruitment cost
    Fake Historical Knowledge: Can recruit units from nearby factions
    Nerdy: +25% Research Rate.
  • 82nd2LTBigX82nd2LTBigX Member Posts: 69Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Cry me a river but it will not help . If you upset just don't play until they patch it. Why be upset on a game that in few days will run well.

    You obviously did not read the OP's post. None of the major problems he cites will or can be fixed in two days.
  • XavierXavier Banned Posts: 64Banned Users
    edited September 2013
    Cry me a river but it will not help . If you upset just don't play until they patch it. Why be upset on a game that in few days will run well.

    Few days? That's optimism, folks!
  • PhalangitePhalangite Senior Member Posts: 383Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Cry me a river but it will not help . If you upset just don't play until they patch it. Why be upset on a game that in few days will run well.
    How do you know it will run well with there first volley of patches? It's possible they make it even worse with patches (although I don't think they will). People have a right to complain when they paid $60 for this game and CA hyped it with their "largest total war ever" and "40% bigger budget" lines only to deliver the **** we have now. They will most likely fix the issues but it will take them a few months if not longer. They could have let people beta test this for a few weeks and they wouldn't have to spend months after release fixing issues that shouldn't even be in the game based on fan feedback.
  • FrancisFrancis Member Posts: 107Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    I agree with almost everything the OP said, having played total war games since medieval 1 I can honestly say that this is the worst release I have exeperienced from CA (I think ETW might have been worse objectively, but I was so looking foreward to this game and now I feel really let down) :(.
  • GryffinGryffin Junior Member Posts: 20Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    With regards to the loss of formation, it's down mainly to the excessive amount of animations and the absolute lack of the old 'hack and slash' mechanic that existed exclusively in Rome 1 and 50/50 in Medieval 2. I find the graphical bugs associated with animation very offputting, especially with cavalry. When units practically teleport from their current location to the other side of the blob to perform an animation on another unit, it's pathetic. Much rather see units retain formation cohesion and hack and stab from behind their shields rather than splitting off to perform flashy animations, often in a bug ridden fashion.
  • CrackfoxCrackfox Senior Member Posts: 118Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Yeah, the die is cast. It's clear that CA envisage a much lighter, pick up and play style TW game for the future. A scheme that could in essence get it on to consoles (somehow).

    Cap points
    Streamlines UI that plays nicely into a controllers selection method
    Loss od detailed features (family tree, proper city view)
    Magical general abilities.

    No doubt MED 3 will be announced but imo, the essence of TW has been lost.

    Sad panda eyes :(
    CA: Shameful Display!
  • MacklesMackles Senior Member UKPosts: 5,358Registered Users, Cakes!
    edited September 2013
    Raye wrote: »
    -No 'Loose' or 'Tight' generic formation commands. Can't spread to avoid enemy fire?!

    -No 'Guard' command, your units cannot be instructed to maintain their position and formation at all costs.Even the most disciplined melee troops devolve into a blob during melee combat.

    -You cannot toggle fire at will on infantry with javelins, they only fire when they charge. Some unfortunate tactical consequences are that they cannot throw javelins to break an enemy charge and then receive the broken charge, they cannot fire on skirmishers and cavalry harassing them, and if you move reserves to reinforce a battle line they will AUTOMATICALLY throw their javelins into the backs of your own men who are already engaged. WTF CA?

    -Units run entirely too fast, especially with tactical map speed buffs on roads for certain units and while charging. I would seriously estimate that your men can charge at nearly 30mph.. Again, wtf?

    -Diplomacy has improved so far as the campaign AI actually interacting with you in ways beyond declaring war but it is almost always on their terms. If you prefer passive diplomacy you wont notice the problem but if you want to proactively cultivate an environment of success with your neighbors you will fail. The AI refuses to accept logical treaties of any kind without bribes, very unfortunate.

    -The UI is beyond inconvenient. It is a mess of sub menus and obscure iconography. You play the game through a figurative maze, not a streamlined UI for 2013.

    I agree with the above points for the most part. These seem to be fairly basic design flaws.


    Raye wrote: »
    -BATTLES ARE WAY TOO FAST! The battles last a few minutes generally. You spend three minutes walking to the enemy force. Your lines meet and devolve into a chaotic blob and the melee is typically over in about 30-50 seconds as one side routes. If you were inclined to flank the blob you typically don't even have time to move a single flanking unit around into position before the melee is decided. You're far better served simply committing the unit into the blob of doom right away and spamming the 'magic' combat buffs/abilities your men have. Speaking of.

    -Magic boats appear when you move an army into the ocean... Magic.... Boats.... These transport ships are free and can be used to great effect in naval battles. Building and maintaining an incredibly expensive navy is rendered void of strategic value and ineffective. You can recruit a bunch of militia and march them into the sea and ram your enemies navy to death without much difficulty. Horrid.

    -The awesome in game encyclopedia of information that the legacy Total War games featured? Still gone. Sure, a cohesive encyclopedia is a great idea, if it is navigable and intuitive enough to provide information in a timely manner.

    Partially agree with these.

    - Battles need slowing somewhat, particularly units breaking and kill rates.
    - Transport ships need a massive nerf to actually reflect that they aren't warships in any way, shape or form.
    - The encyclopedia could be much more user friendly in terms of navigation.
    "Conquer, Punish, Enslave" - Words for the would-be Imperialists to live by!

    Somewhere on that hill, its gonna get bloody contradictory between us and them real fast. - Anon
  • DalamarthDalamarth Senior Member Posts: 202Registered Users
    edited September 2013
  • WildRover75WildRover75 Senior Member Posts: 362Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    One year/one turn kills the game. It takes a ship seven years to get round Italy, an army about the same from Rome to Massilia. Also when you've had a battle it can take up to 10 years for your army to replenish fully. Worse, I took Patavium with a full stack, after about five turns I was attacked, only to discover that my 'full stack' had been reduced to about an eighth of its size due to lack of replenishment and desertion. I had lost a third of my men on the boat trip up to Patavium with another army through 'attrition'.
  • AegrunAegrun Junior Member Posts: 3Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    The OP sums up exactly what I've been thinking as well. They have the potential there but they've taken away too much for it to really feel like a Total War game (They advertised feeling more for your generals and armies, yet take away the immersive features like the family trees...).
  • KnutKnut Senior Member Posts: 623Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    +1

    You forgot about pointless sieges/cities without walls/...
    Stuck in the boom bap.
  • LorimerLorimer Banned Posts: 75Banned Users
    edited September 2013
    Hey

    I could play Empire on release - crashed a bit but I could crush france as the english & get a good MP battle

    My concerns

    a) for the love of god why no amd laptop switchable graphics support ? Did no-one think this may come up across 200K users ? And to be frank thats not a AMD issue .. that CA / Sega doing basic testing .....
    b) why oh why even at the 10 fps hell I am in now .... does the AI retreat their units from citys I am threatening let me capture it and then decide sending small stacks a turn later is going to help them ?

    Shogun on "hard" was hard .... at least at first .... the current AI just seems meh

    How am I supposed to build a new Dark Empire of Granbretan in tribute to lord Moor**** when things are this easy ?

    That aside - Can you just give me a fix for (a)
  • SheperdSheperd Member Posts: 77Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    Lol

    CA, what in gods name were you thinking? The only explonation I can think of is that CA new of the faults of this game but greed took over. All abou the money eh CA? Dispicable
  • TheHandsyTheHandsy Member Posts: 79Registered Users
    edited September 2013
    I completely agree with the OP!
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