Total War: Rome, the original game, has gotten a surprise remaster. This has been billed as the gold standard for how a remaster should be done. The new changes are not only entirely consistent with the original, but also entirely optional. You almost have an entirely new game here that feels very true to the legacy of the first game. Say hello to the game that defined a legacy, reborn, in Total War: Rome Remastered.
Creative Assembly has teamed up with an outside developer to offer a full remaster of the great old war game. “What better excuse than the 20th year of Total War to revisit a grand master?” says Rob Bartholomew, chief product officer at Creative Assembly. “The original release of Rome marks a special time for us as our first major breakout title; it’s amazing to get the opportunity to remaster it with our friends at Feral.”
The new version includes a 4K visual option, all 16 factions, and a ton of gameplay modernization. Even right from the beginning of the campaign, you see improvements to the game. The whole mess of factions from the original game has been polished up and enabled from the very beginning. No need to mod the game’s files or worry about breaking game balance.
The campaign map itself is also much more varied. The ecology has been refreshed, adding a bit more life to it. And then you notice the UI changes. Total War: Rome Remastered has overhauled and refined just about every element of the UI. The entire UI is now packed into a more compact space, but everything is nicely accessible.
The more base-level refinements that affect gameplay are also great. The system for determining enemy and allied cities has been color-coded. The system for managing followers can now be handled automatically as well. Even more obvious changes like removing the weird negative monetary reports from the first game are in there. All in all, on the gameplay side, this is probably the best version of this game that will ever exist.
On the visual side, there’s a bunch of minor touches. Night battles are now in the game, and give you a chance to really see the new lighting engine. The joy of watching fire arrows immolate enemy armies is way too cool. In the daylight, the hideous painted on shadows and lighting from the first game have been replaced with a true lighting engine. But lighting isn’t the only thing that’s visually been improved. Creative Assembly has added a bunch of nice little touches for gameplay aesthetics as well.
Another minor tweak that adds to the depth shows through when recruiting units. Total War: Rome Remastered allows the full retraining of all units, including mercenary units as well, but with a twist. The ethnicity is now much more varied. Rather than units being comprised of the same generic clone model, they now have a composition reflecting where they were trained. If you retrain a damaged unit from northern Europe in an African city, the members of that unit will have different features and skin tones to reflect this. This is both a historically relevant example of Roman multi-culturalism, as well as a nice visual touch to help immerse the player. There are even little things that remain the same. The battle speeches and town layouts are all still there, giving veterans a nice hit of nostalgia.
Here are the game’s other features, as detailed by Sega:
New Gameplay Content: Wage war across new fronts with 16 previously unplayable factions to play on top of the original 22, and send the new Merchant agents on missions to establish lucrative trade networks across the map, buy out rival Merchants, and assert your empire’s economic power.
Modernised Features: Players can exercise more control than ever with new features such as a tactical map during battles, plus heat maps and icon overlays in campaign mode. Existing mechanics have also been improved, including an overhauled diplomacy system, wider camera zoom levels throughout the game, and camera rotation on the campaign map.
Improved Help Systems: A swathe of improved support has been added, including a redesigned tutorial, a new in-game Wiki, expansive advice and tooltips, and improved accessibility for colour blind players.
Cross-platform Multiplayer: Players can enjoy cross-platform PVP multiplayer between Windows, macOS and Linux, a first for the Total War franchise.
Complete Original Content: Total War: Rome Remastered includes the Barbarian Invasion and Alexander expansions in glorious new detail, and players will also gain access to the original Rome: Total War Collection (only playable on Windows).
This new version does far more than just add new visual flair, although it does plenty of that too. Get to experience the full reborn glory of Rome when the game releases on April 29, 2021.