by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
‘Improved battle system’
One of my complaints about the original game was that the combat system was too simple. In fact, I might have called it non-existent and still have done it justice. Haemimont seems to have realized that the battle system needed to be improved a little too late. They boast an ‘improved battle system with siege machines’ as one of the selling points for Imperium Romanum. That one sentence mentions the entire improvement: they have added a siege engine to your unit list and that’s it. Oh sure, you can do some basic formations but the original battle engine was so broken that this doesn’t save the day. In the end, combat still means training some units and pointing them in the direction of the enemy. Obviously gamers are not expecting to find the depth of Rome: Total War in their city builder. Yet, the battles are such a frustratingly dire experience that I am certain many will attempt to skip this part of the game entirely and opt for building some defensive walls around their city and deal with the barbarians that way instead.
Once you have finished a scenario, you can post your score to a ladder ranking system provided by Heamimont. I have yet to see one of my scores online and it seems this isn’t working very well yet. The game was released only yesterday so this may still change.
The same game
The feeling of deja vu will hit anyone who has played Glory of the Roman Empire, hard. In fact, the two games would have been pretty much exactly the same if it weren't for the fact that the graphics had received a major overhaul. There were plenty of things that could have been improved upon from the original. The game still lacks depth, the production paths are too simple, warring is a silly exercise (okay, it is that in real life too but you know what I mean) and the fact that there is still no random map generator is unforgivable in this day and age.
Haemimont chose to be lazy. They grabbed a paint stick, slapped on a new coating and are now trying to sell the same game as they did two and a half years ago. What makes it all so frustrating is that the game absolutely breathes potential. The graphics engine provides beautiful pictures and the game interface is sublime. Unfortunately I am forced to come to the exact same conclusion as I did with Glory of the Roman Empire: it could have been a great game. The original was not particularly strong and Haemimont cannot get away with providing ‘more of the same’. The lack of innovation causes me to subtract a point from the seven points I awarded Glory of the Roman Empire. My advise would be to dive into the bargain bin at your local game shop and pick up the two-and-a-half-year-old version. It will be cheaper, will look fine even by today’s standards and will offer you the same experience as Imperium Romanum.
No Pros and Cons at this time