[Read Part 1 here.]
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 â€˜flawsâ€™ donâ€™t really subtract anything from the gameâ€™s goodness.
The expansion is billed as having improved battle AI, but I still saw some AI quirkiness from time to time -â€“ for example, individual units that are part of a legion sometimes go astray of the main pack and end up at the enemyâ€™s area. (To console myself when this happens, Iâ€™d just whisper, So long, sucker. I donâ€™t need idiots in my army!)
If your PC barely meets the game requirements (see next section), youâ€™ll be able to play the game alright, but the fun factor will be decidedly limited. At worst you can only â€œenjoyâ€ the campaign map, as the real-time battles (especially the ones fought at â€œnightâ€) will put a strain on your machine.
And letâ€™s not forget one fact -â€“ the original Rome: Total War was very challenging and complex, and Barbarian Invasion even more so. If youâ€™re a Rome veteran, then by all means jump into the expansion, but newbies better master Rome first before trying to lead the hordes!
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
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.
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.
Every sound in Barbarian Expansion is either enchanting or adrenaline-pumping. The music fits the mood of the game â€“- sometimes dark, sometimes brooding, sometimes charming, but consistently reminding us of the classical and mysterious past.
But youâ€™ve never truly heard the gameâ€™s music until you get into the real-time battles. Every sound is realistic â€“- 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 (â€œStinking rats! Stinking rats!â€), the whistling of snow-laden wind, the generalâ€™s booming battle speeches — all in all, the true sound of war. And thatâ€™s not counting the background music a la Gladiator.
As mentioned, both the campaign and battlefield maps are delectable pieces of eye candy. Whatâ€™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 peasantsâ€™ ranks? Or better still, fireballs hurtling from the skies? The game delivers â€˜em all.
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.
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.