Total War: Rome II has been released as a bit of a mess. Our review score of 60/100 mirrored the depth and scale of the bugs currently plaguing what clearly wants to be a good Total War game.

However, with all their marketing talk, The Creative Assembly failed to deliver on a number of points they specifically outlined in their marketing materials. Sieges currently see units plunging off walls for no apparent reason, armies pay no attention to any sense of formation, and the enemy AI is both generic and ineffectual. These are just a few of the bugs currently ruining the game for a lot of early-starters, preordering because it was the cheapest way to the Spartan and Greek states because of Day 1 DLC.

Since release, the team have said “We just wanted to reassure you that we do know it’s an extremely annoying and frustrating time for some of you at the moment and we are working around the clock to sort out those issues that you are having,” said Mike Simpson.

“The first patch has just gone up – it’s not trouble-free we know and are fixing with a hotfix, but there will be another next week and every week after that till the problems are gone.”

Friday’s patched helped improve the framerate for our team, but not enough to merit the substandard visuals in some areas. Although we understand the unit sizes have grown hugely over Shogun 2, things aren’t looking so hot at the higher settings.

“At the moment it may seem that the changes are slight, but they aren’t the only ones we are working on currently and bigger changes are happening now for future patches,” continued Simpson.

“If you are having a problem, it is totally unacceptable and a big deal for us, please know that we are spending all our dev effort on fixing outstanding issues.”

Simpson claims that only 2% of Rome II players have reported technical issues – despite the fact there’s now a 24 hour hotline for technical support.

He continued, “Again, I know this is scant comfort to you if you have a set-up that is not performing well, but we do intend to fix your specific problem – whoever you are and whatever it is – as soon as we can.”

Analysis

The fact of the matter is that even without performance bugs, Rome II didn’t deliver on its promises. The massive, open map has too many irrelevant factions per CPU turn, taking too long. Cities are too spartially placed, and it’d clearly have been more interesting to break up the map, with more detail, focusing more critically on the relevant factions within 3 geographic regions. Because CA threw everyone on the same map, everything feels bloated and generic. Armies all feel the same, and AI is so poor that battles are literally a matter of walking up to the enemy, staring at them, and throwing everything at them, watching your and their armies run around in circles in a massive brawl.

CA have some time to pretend certain design decisions are ‘bugs’, but a lot of what’s being fixed is supposed to be there. That’s the problem. This is why beta is important, folks.