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Crimson Crux

Pseudo-techblog where the Corsarius gets serious. Visit blog.corsarius.net for his alter ego.

Game Review: Barbarian Invasion (Part 2)

Saturday, February 04, 2006 at 9:00 PM

Rome Total War Barbarian Expansion Box Cover

[Read Part 1 here.]

The Nitpicking

I'm a picky gamer who's quick to find fault in the games I play, but oddly enough, I noticed only a few with Barbarian Invasion. These ‘flaws’ don’t really subtract anything from the game’s goodness.

The expansion is billed as having improved battle AI, but I still saw some AI quirkiness from time to time -– for example, individual units that are part of a legion sometimes go astray of the main pack and end up at the enemy’s area. (To console myself when this happens, I’d just whisper, So long, sucker. I don’t need idiots in my army!)

If your PC barely meets the game requirements (see next section), you’ll be able to play the game alright, but the fun factor will be decidedly limited. At worst you can only “enjoy” the campaign map, as the real-time battles (especially the ones fought at “night”) will put a strain on your machine.

And let’s not forget one fact -– the original Rome: Total War was very challenging and complex, and Barbarian Invasion even more so. If you’re a Rome veteran, then by all means jump into the expansion, but newbies better master Rome first before trying to lead the hordes!

The Wrap-Up

Requirements

MS Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP, Pentium III 1.0 GHz or Athlon 1.0 GHz, 256 RAM, 8X CD-ROM, 2.9GB hard drive space, 64 MB 3D Accelerator Card, Full Version of Rome: Total War

Gameplay

Barbarian Expansion, like the original game, appeals both to turn-based and real-time strategy gamers, to pure strategists and the action-oriented, to gameplay-first and graphics-first players. The game is addictive, the battles furious, and the campaigns engrossing. Everything you wanted in a strategy game can be found in this game.

Rome Total War Barbarian Expansion Huns

Barbarian Expansion sticks true to the formula of the Total War franchise -- historically accurate but exciting games. In fact, Rome: Total War and Barbarian Expansion have been used by The History Channel to portray massive battles of antiquity.

Sound

Every sound in Barbarian Expansion is either enchanting or adrenaline-pumping. The music fits the mood of the game –- sometimes dark, sometimes brooding, sometimes charming, but consistently reminding us of the classical and mysterious past.

But you’ve never truly heard the game’s music until you get into the real-time battles. Every sound is realistic –- the screams of men incinerated, the crackle of burning buildings, the thunderous hooves of the cavalry, the whizzing sound of arrows, the creaking of catapults, the taunts of soldiers (“Stinking rats! Stinking rats!”), the whistling of snow-laden wind, the general’s booming battle speeches -- all in all, the true sound of war. And that’s not counting the background music a la Gladiator.

Graphics

Rome Total War Barbarian Expansion Onagers

As mentioned, both the campaign and battlefield maps are delectable pieces of eye candy. What’s more impressive is how the game renders hundreds upon hundreds of warriors on the battlefield, and have them all slug it to death. Want elephants stampeding upon the enemy legion, tusks throwing the infidels into the air? Or perhaps a cavalry charge slicing through the peasants’ ranks? Or better still, fireballs hurtling from the skies? The game delivers ‘em all.

Replayability

The original Rome posited you as anyone from the Romans to the Carthaginians, from the Greeks to the Gauls; conquering the world was a unique sumptuous experience for each one. Barbarian Invasion features new factions and dimensions to the game. What more can you ask for?

Assuming Creative Assembly won't supersede themselves in their next installment of Total War, you can actually waste away your entire life with this game.

Overall

As an avid PC gamer for years, and having explored more or less every existing genre, I dare say that the original Rome: Total War ranks up there with the greats. Its expansion, Barbarian Invasion, is essential to continue that gaming goodness.

There are many must-haves in the gaming world, but this one is a must-have of the must-haves.

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Anonymous ia @ 2/04/2006 11:29 PM

Very in-depth. Very enthusiastic.

Of course, I envy your PC specs.    



Blogger Corsarius @ 2/05/2006 1:12 AM

thanks, ia. though my machine's specs aren't that high...just enough to run games like RTW smoothly, hehe.    



Blogger ipuipo @ 2/05/2006 3:23 PM

Hi Corsarius,

We'd like to invite you to visit our our new anime-inspired storyblog, IPUIPO @ http://ipuipo.blogspot.com/

It's a mythical story of a young boy’s journey as a mystical healer and warrior in the lush forests of Dakilang Bundok somewhere in the Philippine islands.

Thanks!

The Ipuipo Crew    



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