Rome: Total War, part of the Total War series, was released in 2004. Features turn-based empire building alongside real-time battles. Rome: Total War is the first in the series to use fully 3D graphics, and also implemented a fully interactive world map, a departure from the RISK-like maps of the previous games.
At first, you start the game as any one of three Roman factions. After beating the game with them, you unlock another eight factions to play with. During the game, you will have a goal of a certain number of provinces. When you capture your goal, you win the game.
The world map is divided into provinces. Each province has a city. The city is where most of the economic management occurs. Each city has a settable tax rate and a building tree depending on your faction. Cities are also where military units are trained, and control of a province depends upon control of its corresponding city. Unlike previous Total War video games, armies do not move directly from province to province like RISK-style games. Instead, each army has a different range, the armies range is different depending on where the army is and what units are in that army.
When an army attacks another army, the player has the option of choosing to fight it out in real time. As in all Total War games, Rome's battles are very realistic. You begin setting up your formation, and eventually, the goal is to make the opposing army rout. The engine supports thousands of individual soldiers, which are divided into controllable units. Every unit has a list of stats which will affect its ability to fight such as fatigue, experience, moral, and for missile types, ammunition.
During battles, players can make use of real-life tactics like flanking and skirmishing. Cavalry, for instance, will rip through a unit if they hit an unprotected side. Some units have multiple stances (such as the hoplite phalanx) which changes its effectiveness in certain situations.
Each faction has a different play style and different positives and different negatives. For example, the Roman's are one of the more balanced factions while a faction like Parthia relays upon its horsemen instead of its regular soldiers.
Although all factions except the Rebels are available to play in multiplayer and custom battles, not all factions can be played in campaign mode (unless if you mod the game).
The following factions are playable:
- Julii (Roman Faction)
- Brutii (Roman Faction)
- Scipii (Roman Faction)
The following factions are unlockable after completing either a long or short campaign as one of the above factions:
- Gaul (Barbaric Faction)
- Britannia (Barbaric Faction)
- Germania (Barbaric Faction)
- Carthage (Greek Faction)
- Greek Cities (Greek Faction)
- Seleucid Empire (Greek Faction)
- Parthia (Eastern Faction)
- Egypt (Eastern Faction)
The following factions can only be played after a little modding of the game:
- Roman Senate
Despite being touted as a historical game, Rome: Total War has many historical inaccuracies which certain members of the community have been frustrated by. The three Roman factions are largely ahistorical, as are many aspects of other factions, particularly Egypt and the Barbarian factions. Barbarians as a whole are underdeveloped, and the game focuses on a largely Romanocentric point of view. The Latin used in some place-names is also not of a high standard, to say the least.
Rome: Total War is highly moddable, and many exceptional mods have been developed over the five and a half years since the game's release.
Europa Barbarorum started out as an attempt to bring depth to the barbarian factions, and ended as an attempt to make the entire game as historically accurate as possible. The total conversion makes heavy use of scripts, and while the game is longer, slower paced, and generally more hardcore than the base game, which can put some people off, it succeeds in making a game that is historically rich, although there is still some contention over linguistic reconstruction, not least the British "Casse" faction or the German "Sweboz".