In my day it was called Rome: Total War, and I poured hours into it. My favourite moment was toppling the Pope, obviously, but also the time I hid a tiny Celt army in the woods and baited a much larger Romano-British army there, then sprung a trap to break their morale so I could chop them up. For a moment, it was very Braveheart, until their reinforcements arrived and trampled me, but we don’t talk about that. It was the height of my war-mongering hubris, the sort of outrageous odds one attempts after spending many a happy weekend waging war across Europe in pleated Roman skirts. I really loved that game.
And now it’s back! Back as Total War: Rome – Remastered, and smartened up for 2021, with some new graphical effects, higher definition this and that, bigger resolutions, gameplay improvements, and (probably most importantly) more factions than ever to try and win as. But it’s still unmistakably what it once was, that game I remember, and there’s something so unbelievably comforting in going back.
It’s really nice not to have to figure out the winning formula again. These kinds of games seem much more complicated today. They’ve had years to get their audiences used to more features, more nuance, more depth. And whenever I’m confronted with one of them, I wither. But Rome Remastered: it even has a warning when you begin, saying sorry but it does some things differently to what you’re used to now. How I clucked with excitement when I read that! “Oh this is the proper stuff!” I snorted. They don’t make them like this any more!”
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