I picked up Total War: Rome 2 during, as always, a Steam sale a while back. My only previous experience with the series was Shogun 2, which I played and enjoyed but was never fully blown away with. That said I put over 60 hours into it, so clearly I liked it ‘enough’ to grab Rome 2, especially because I like that time period a lot more than feudal Japan.
Until just a few days ago I couldn’t really get into Rome 2. The game is a complex beast of systems, stats, and decisions that aren’t all that clear for a while. I felt very disconnected from the game, and even when I got my feet under me and started having success as the Britons, I wasn’t really drawn into the game.
I think I’ve hit a turning point with my latest campaign, playing a German tribe on a higher difficulty level. I lost the first battle, had to start again, and I’m currently really struggling just to get started. And I’m loving it; can’t wait to play more. The higher difficulty really forces you to start paying attention to the small details and decisions you make, and now not only am I hoping to win battles, but I care how effectively I win them because later that’s going to matter.
The above is just another example of why I think games sell themselves short when they are too easy; because when they are too easy they allow you to ignore a lot of the detail the developers spent time designing, and sometimes those details are the real meat of the game that you SHOULD be focused on and enjoying.
Now if it didn’t take 5 minutes to load per battle, maybe I could make some real progress, but that’s a different rant.