Total War: Rome 2 preview - Fights of the old republic



May 4, 2013

If you ever see an elephant in the wild, I really think you want to be standing behind it rather than in front of it. Standing behind it when it charges is dazzling, in fact - at least if Total War: Rome 2 is anything to go by.

Rome 2 features a new close-up unit camera, and it allows you to swoop across a vast battlefield and plonk yourself right behind any of your individual squads. Tag yourself to an elephant team in full pelt, and you get a real sense of the seismic horrors at your command. Everything's so big, so detailed! You can see the folds in the elephants' grey skin, while the chinks and dings in the armour of the enemy soldiers you're rushing towards really drives home the fact that these guys are, y'know, paid to stand in front of elephants for a living. War is terrible! the unit camera declares. And war is brilliant!

It's all part of a wider approach. The latest Total War sees you taking charge of the Roman Republic and leading it, hopefully, to some manner of glory, and it wants to make that process personal - wincingly, skull-crunchingly personal - without sacrificing any of its massive scope. Hence micro-management tweaks like getting right down on the ground with your troops (close enough to watch new animations as they freak out in combat, scatter when the line is broken, and sail through the air post-elephant-rush), and its equal and opposite addition, the ability to pull out from the battle to a brand new tactical view, where you can look over a whole arena of shifting icons, SupComm-style, and get the lay of the land before zooming back in wherever you're needed the most.

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