Rome: Total War Articles RSS Feed | Rome: Total War RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Total War: Rome II Rise of the Republic DLC Getting Started Guide Mon, 06 Aug 2018 10:00:40 -0400 Fox Doucette

While Creative Assembly's last DLC for Total War: Rome II visited the Crisis of the Third Century, their latest DLC, Rise of the Republic, has gone in the exact opposite direction. 

And while the main draw here is to take control of the Romans when they're still just a minor player in a region of central Italy still dominated by the Etruscans, there's nothing stopping the player from giving history one heck of a rewrite.

But when looking at Rise of the Republic for the first time, it's easy to get overwhelmed, so here's a quick guide to picking a faction and getting to grips with the new mechanics that Rise of the Republic introduces.

Choosing A Faction

As with Rome II's base game, this DLC helpfully lets you know which factions are going to be relatively easy to handle and which ones are going to be early-game nightmares. So here's a quick cheat sheet:

  • Easy factions
    • Insubres
    • Tarchuna
    • Veneti
  • Medium factions
    • Syracuse
    • Senones
    • Samnites
    • Iolei
  • Hard factions
    • Rome
    • Taras
The Insubres

The Insubres start safely nestled up against the top of the map, meaning you'll only be fighting in one direction: southward into Italy. If you like systemic conquest and simplified strategic goals, this is the faction to pick.

The Veneti

Likewise, the Veneti have the northeastern corner of the map at their back, giving a similar advantage to a player that only has to look in one direction. If you're fairly adept at naval conquest, you can strike anywhere at any time with this faction, either expanding your empire or making big money raiding and sacking.

The Tarchuna

The Tarchuna start with control of a big chunk of territory and a southern flank ripe for conquest, as the Romans do battle with Veii and the Volsci. This is the faction for the more settled, “civilized”, methodical Total War player who likes limited wars and consolidating conquests.


Syracuse has a strong starting position and is great for a player who combines naval prowess with a good ability to build and consolidate. However, this faction also has the powerful (and non-playable) Carthaginians to deal with. You'll need to fight quite a bit in the early-game, but you can use this faction for a methodical mid-game strategy very easily.


The Senones historically sacked Rome in 386 B.C., but getting to Rome isn't as easy as it looks. You'll have to march through well-defended territory in the Appenines to get there. This is the faction for a militaristic player who has a very strong grasp on combat and serves as more of a challenge than their Gallic brethren the Insubres.


The Samnites have the ability to magic an army out of nowhere using the game's special-abilities system, but they also have aggressive neighbors who won't hesitate to declare war and swarm in. This faction is great for players who like to fight early-game defensive battles before exploiting a weakness to break out and mop up an enemy after dealing their attack force a decisive defeat.


The Iolei are in a league of their own, with troops that can deploy and hide anywhere on the battlefield, something they'll need when chasing Carthage off their island of Sardinia. This is a good faction to pick for players who like sea trade and diplomacy in equal measure.

Rome and Taras

Rome and Taras have the same problem: a poor starting position relative to their enemies. They also have a tendency to end up in two- or three-front wars. If you like mad dashes to put out fires in the early-game as your neighbors try to swarm you, these are your factions.

What's Different from the Total War II Basegame?

The most important thing to remember here with the Rise of the Republic DLC is this: it's still Rome II. Which means that the standard strategy of “deal with early-game threat, break out, then conquer toward your objectives” still applies here. Forming a fundamental strategy hasn't changed a bit.

Likewise, the new “ancestral” system gives more character to the game's politics. The “other” factions are the same as they've ever been, but now your dynasty is more like the family tree in previous Total War games, which gives a much stronger sense of the relationships between characters in the game.

By the same token, instead of time advancing by years, time now advances by seasons, while character progression continues at the same rate.

What this means in practice is that high-level characters are much more viable. There will be a lot of Level-10 spies, champions, generals, and the like, and moving characters up the game's cursus honorum to keep their political factions from revolting is a much more important strategic consideration than it's ever been in the basegame.

Imperium also racks up very quickly; this is both a good thing (benefits to running the empire) and a bad thing (civil wars happen early and often if you don't take proactive steps to stop them.)


The keys to getting the most out of the Rise of the Republic DLC:

  • Pick a faction that best suits your playstyle and skill level
  • Survive and consolidate in the early-game
  • Enjoy the ride once you get the steamroller going

Basically, this DLC is the same Rome II you know and love, but with a twist. Stay tuned for more coverage on Total War: Rome II's Rise of the Republic update on GameSkinny. 

Top 5 best gaming communities Fri, 04 Mar 2016 05:36:13 -0500 Alec Pearce

1) Darks Souls

The Souls community is as unique as the games it worships. I feel the bond is so strong due to the reputation of the series we play and die in over and over again (note how I said we, yes I definitely consider myself part of the community). There is something compelling about being part of a group that takes pride in beating some of the most technically challenging games ever made.


Like other communities, Souls has several branches that make up its fan base. The most influential two, in my opinion, are the speedrunners and the lore content creators.


The speedrunners utilise the streaming capabilities of Twitch to broadcast their insane runs to the world. Elajjaz is one of the most high profile personalities who blitzes through the Souls games and has a large following on Twitch and YouTube. The insane feats they can accomplish attract more gamers to the franchise which helps boost its popularity.


The lore content creators are arguably even more incredible. They have the painstaking job of sifting through item descriptions and character dialogue to uncover the secrets of each game's wider and deeper story. The work of people like VaatiVidya, EpicNameBro and SunlightBlade helps you to understand and immerse yourself in the extremely intricate and complicated worlds of each game. 


When considering the games themselves, co-op is clearly an integral part of the series. There are entire covenants that are devoted to jolly co-operation. The Sunbros, i.e. Warriors of Sunlight (Dark Souls) or Heirs of the Sun (Dark Souls 2), are the most obvious and well renowned, but you also have the Princess Guard (DS) and Blue Sentinels (DS2) too. The challenging nature of the boss fights encourages co-operative play with others to overcome mutual obstacles together, rewarding players for doing so.


There is of course a notorious PvP element as well and fights between players are generally hard fought. The vast majority enjoy it as part of the game and don't whine when killed by an invader. There is always the option to play in offline mode, to prevent online invasions as well as friendly co-operation, for those who want to experience a purely solo, PvE playthrough.


I could easily go on about the fantastic temperament of the Souls community, but for the sake of your sanity I will not. Just know that it always welcomes players with open arms. Whining about the difficulty is not accepted, however, and doing so will simply result in our motto being shouted aloud..."GIT GUD AND PRAISE THE SUN!"

2) Guild Wars 2

In my opinion this exceptional MMORPG perfected the idea of a world-wide, co-operative, PvE experience. It is because of this that the Guild Wars 2 community has become so friendly and accommodating, particularly for new players.


In PvE, helping another player is almost always worth your while as without a strong group of fighters you will be unable to kill the toughest bosses which net the best loot. The game rewards your co-operation, during the various community events, with an individual loot sharing system that gives all players a reward based on how much they helped during the fight. This means that everyone gets something, not just the one guy who delivered the killing blow to the boss or mini boss. New players and veterans end up fighting together with very few whining and moaning if certain people play badly.


You can also find a huge number of character build guides online, where GW2 gamers attempt to help others out with their ideas of where to allocate skill points, the best weapons and armour and which skills to use. If you join a guild, your guildmates will always be keen to help you level up, provide you with some equipment, crafting items, trade commodities or even just a friendly monetary donation.


It is always awesome and gratifying to play with a bunch of random people to take down a champion boss and I have rarely seen anyone be attacked for making a mistake. The community is half of the reason why I am still playing the game today.

3) Elder Scrolls

Elder Scrolls is a long standing franchise that over the years has attracted a huge number of players to its fantasy realms. Said players have formed an equally huge community and all get on extremely well with each other.


The most popular titles: Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, each contain tonnes of content which promotes friendly discussion between players particularly when someone finds something new and interesting or funny in the game. Modding is another huge part of the Scrolls series with players creating and adding everything from graphical enhancements, to futuristic weapons and even nude mods...


I think it is also worth pointing out how fantastic the wiki guides are. My most used site is probably the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Page (UESP), which continues to add pages to a huge archive of in-game information as well as lore. These wikis would not be possible without a dedicated and loyal fan-base such as that of the Elder Scrolls.

4) Total War

I am proud that one of my most beloved franchises has such a fantastic community of like-minded individuals. The forums are always awash with strategy guides and opening moves guides and battle tactics, and the community is always keen and willing to help each other improve in any of the available games.


The Total War modders are seriously talented people and produce a wide range of mods for people to enjoy for free, that usually massively improve upon the vanilla games. Many people will only play certain TW games with mods, such as DarthMod, installed as they claim this is the only way to make the game challenging enough- *cough* Empire *cough*.


No matter your opinion on some of the TW games, many are considered to be quite underwhelming, you will never cease to find enthusiastic gamers and history buffs playing this renowned RTS series and 99% of them are lovely. 

5) Rocket League

I have very recently got into Rocket League, after it was released for the Xbox One, which is perhaps partly why it has made this list (it's still fresh in my memory). I was immediately impressed with the friendliness of the player base and how the idea of fair play is not yet dead. The whole point of the game is co-operation and team work with an entire mode made separate for those who wish to go it alone. Players very often congratulate each other for good plays and goals, even when it's the opposing team who has scored. It's always nice to see 3 or 4 'Nice shot!' or 'What a save!' messages pop up when you score a goal or prevent your team from losing.


I was also involved in one particularly chivalrous moment. I had just started a 1v1 game when my internet decided to have a nervous breakdown and I suddenly started lagging all over the place. My opponent easily scored his first goal before asking in the chat if I had lag as my car randomly slid around the arena. I said yes and he said he wouldn't play until my ping was back to normal. Moments later when it sorted itself out, he allowed me to score a free goal so we were back to level scores and continued the match.


Even though I went on to lose the game, this kind act resonated with me as a prime example of how gamers should behave toward each other.


The other day I decided to rant about the 5 worst gaming communities that I'd had personal experiences with. This time I'm down at the other end of the spectrum, if you'll pardon the cliché, looking at the 5 best, friendliest and most helpful communities in gaming.


Like last time this is based on my own first hand experiences and you may agree with my assertions or you may not. Either way let me know in the comments below. Let's begin!



What Game Genre Would Super Bowl XLIX Players Be A Part Of? Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:20:11 -0500 WesleyG


Rob Gronkowski Is The Final Boss of a Fighting Game


Genre Examples: Street Fighter IV, Tekken, Soul Calibur 2


You have finally conquered the 31 other fighters through strategy and determination and the only thing standing between you and the end credits is...Rob Gronkowski. Is it too late to lower the difficulty?


Yes, the New England tight end known as “Gronk” frustrates defenses the same way Shao Khan has frustrated Mortal Kombat players for years. Built like a lighthouse at 6’ 6” and 265 lbs, he can still catch passes as well as any wide receiver in the league. If this guy gets the ball, prepare for cheapness not seen since Seth in Street Fighter IV.


First of all, he has no stun animations so don’t even bother with weak attacks. He also has an insane speed for a guy his size, so don’t think you can lock him down either. He even has a one-hit kill move!


If the Patriots have their way at Super Bowl XLIX, don’t be shocked to see the Seattle fans (aka the 12th man) sending letters to the league office asking them to nerf Gronk. He’s obviously overpowered, but don't expect a patch anytime soon.


Russell Wilson Plays Like He's In A Shoot 'em up


Genre Examples: Batsugun, Ikaruga, Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony


Shoot 'em ups (especially so-called “Bullet Hell” games) are all about patience, precision dodging, and firing bullets right back. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson executes all three with mastery beyond his years. Like trying to dodge the insane amount of bullets in Ikaruga, Russell Wilson has been dodging linemen his entire career. His ability to get out of trouble and find receivers downfield have made him one of the most dynamic players in the NFL.


What makes Wilson so special, though, is how smart he plays. He very rarely puts his body at any risk, choosing to run only when no other options are available to him. Even when he does take off, he will step out of bounds before any defender can touch him. If the game gets to a point that requires it, however, Wilson is not afraid to get physical with defenders to get crucial yards and extend the drive.


It’s a lot like playing Raiden Fighters where you have to judge the right time to press forward and collect power-ups, usually while attempting to find the gaps between enemy bullets. Sometimes you have to put yourself at more risk, but you know that power-up can mean the difference between life and death against the boss.


If you need any more convincing, just play this video of Wilson scrambling with your Shoot 'em up song of choice.


Marshawn Lynch Plays Like He's In A Beat'em Up


Genre Examples: Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Battletoads


Marshawn Lynch and Mike Haggar are kindred spirits. Both are ridiculously strong and are fully capable of tearing through any fool that steps in their way. In fact, the only way to stop either man seems to be swarming them with guys until they finally fall to the ground.


Great, now I can’t decide if I want to see Haggar play halfback for the Seahawks or see Marshawn take on the Mad Gear Gang. I mean, Beast Quake sounds like such an awesome screen clearing special move.


Just like Marshawn, though, I’m going to keep this one brief. He is all about that action boss, you know.


Tom Brady Plays Like A Real Time Tactics General


Genre Examples: Total War series, Syndicate, Valkyria Chronicles


Tom Brady is one of the most efficient field generals in the entire NFL, making him a prime candidate for the Real Time Tactics sub-genre of strategy games.


Brady’s ability to recognize defenses and counter accordingly are legendary. It’s like when you’re setting up your units before a Total War battle. You see the enemy units suspiciously stacked on one side of the field, and you realize that they’re probably hiding some cavalry that’ll come charging in from your flank. You set up your spearmen in preparation for it. The cavalry charge is dead before it ever began.


In Total War, you get unlimited time to set your troops up. Tom Brady does all this in 40 seconds between each and every play.


Tom Brady also boasts an impressive 95.9 passer rating, ranking him fifth all-time. Combine that with six Super Bowl appearances, and you've got an experienced general who is looking to lay siege on the Seahawks secondary this Sunday.


Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman Play Like An NES Action Platformer 


Genre Examples: Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man, Ghosts N’ Goblins


You remember those old platformer games back on the NES where you couldn't make any progress because an enemy would guard the edge of a platform? No matter how many different ways you try to attack him or avoid him, he still manages to hit you and knock you into the bottomless pit below. That’s the easiest way to describe opposing quarterbacks going up against Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman.


Though they play on different teams, the Patriots’ Revis and the Seahawks’ Sherman are among the best in the game in denying any progress to NFL offenses. Though their stats with things like interceptions are impressive, what makes them scary is how often QBs will refuse to throw the ball to their side of the field.


Heck, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers didn't throw the ball Sherman’s way in Week 1. Not even once. That’s the football equivalent of playing Ghosts N’ Goblins without Arthur’s armor. It didn't end well for Rodgers.


After 17 weeks and three rounds of thrilling playoff action, we are finally less than a week away from Super Bowl XLIX. On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks take on the New England Patriots to see who will prove themselves the best team in the NFL and take home the Lombardi Trophy.


Before all that happens though is the NFL Media Day, a big event where all the Super Bowl players are made available to the press. This event is where the press gets all the quotes and pictures it needs to begin hyping the Super Bowl proper. GameSkinny wasn’t invited to attend (the nerve!), but we don’t need direct access to the superstars of the gridiron to answer the tough questions.


Questions like “If you were in a video game, what genre would it be in?”


I delved into the record sheets and watched hours of game film in order to bring you the definitive list of what genres key players in Super Bowl XLIX would fit. In the words of’s Dave Dameshek, “LET IT BEGIIIIIIIIIIIIN!”

Top 5 Historically Great History Games Sun, 20 Jul 2014 14:48:57 -0400 Alex D'Alessandro

History, especially in the video game format, has a funny way of conflating itself with war and the most atrocious moments in human history. While war and history aren’t mutually exclusive, there hasn’t been a long time where humans aren’t trying to kill one another. Because of this apparent lack of compassion for each other and the “idea” that history is behind and not ahead, most of the best historical games have some aspects of war, but not all.  With that said, historical facts and figures will always capture our attention, especially when we can connect with those past moments by interesting and interactive means.

Take my hand, historical time traveler, and gaze through the ages at 5 great historical games. 

1. Victoria Series (Paradox Interactive) 

Paradox Interactive has a lengthy lineage of historically based grand-strategy games that have you leading your chosen country to great heights or, on a bad day, eradication. Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, and Hearts of Iron all have excellent historical depth and addictive gameplay, but when it comes to complete control and immersion, none stand taller than the Victoria series.

So much of our modern foundation was set in those turbulent years of the 19th century...


By accessing the spiritually destructive yet modern world building event of the Industrial Revolution, the Victoria series deals with the most important era for modern man. As you take your country from your humble, pre-steel, pre-electrical, pre-penicillin days, wholly useless as a modern human, you will find the driving force behind your country to advance --all in the name of capital and nationalism. So much of our modern foundation was set in those turbulent years of the 19th century and because of this Victoria is as relevant as it is challenging.  

 2. Assassins Creed II  (Ubisoft)

 It’s difficult to pick one title from the "Assassin’s Creed" series, but because our historical cause demands it, Assassin’s Creed II is the most rewarding, historically, of the series. Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed IV have beautiful vistas entwined with engaging and addictive gameplay but Assassin’s Creed 2 had me longing to be wrapped in some Venetian cloth as I strolled down to the local duomo for a quick shout out to family in purgatory.

The gameplay's balanced on a concealed knives edge, slipping between fast and fluid combat and white knuckle, urban climbing. With the help of the frequent codex alert, AC2 invites you to look upon great historical structures, cultures, and people in a fresh light as you meander down the narrow alleys, alive with fast talking commoners or overly protective royalty, enticing gamers with the prospect of living in a reconstructed past.   

3. Rome: Total War (Creative Assembly) 

 Ancient Rome has no shortage of histories, plays, and other forms of artistic representation. With Rome: Total War, we are allowed to conquer the lands of proto-Europe and at the same time advance the noble cause of Romanization. With every unit, building, faction, and philosophical advance, you can read a small pamphlets worth of information that might teach you a thing or two about those ol' imperial Romans. It’s like being in history class but without a teacher or fellow students to warn you not to enslave an entire town. What do they know?  With Rome the real historical fun comes from the choice to sack cities and then crucify their entire male population. Those were the days…

4. The Oregon Trail (Mecc)

Who didn't want to be the leader of their family as they crossed rivers and fought off venomous snakes

 Oregon Trail works on so many levels of historical goodness. First off, a large majority of gamers and non-gamers alike played this game at school; reliving one of the most harrowing and endemic parts of the American narrative. Who didn’t want to be the leader of their family as they crossed rivers and fought off venomous snakes, or had to stop trail side for a few days while your daughter's dysentery calmed down — it’s what making your way out west in a covered wagon was about. Oregon Trail is that beautiful blend of player interaction with a strong historical narrative; teaching the player about American history through difficult choices and thoughtful gameplay. 

5. Civilization Series (Firaxis)

Sid Meier's games might slowly whittle our lives away, one turn at a time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something in the process. From that one more turn philosophy, you slowly start you to realize the destiny of your nation. Civilization has always prided itself with real world leaders, architectural wonders, and military units. What would happen if Genghis Khan and the Mongolian people started on a tropical island abundant in bananas and sunshine? These are the types of questions that lead to a deeper historical inquiry, and if you want real world application the game lets you read a rather large civopedia that has historical information on all things within Civ. Oh Leonard Nimoy, your dulcet notes are a wonder to my ears.with real world leaders, units, building, wonders, etc… within a sandbox world.

History will always be a great avenue to stroll down when the wellspring of game ideas has run dry. Although almost all of these games are PC and strategy exclusive that doesn't mean that great historical games aren't available in other game genres and consoles. 

What did we learn? For one, history class is for the birds, especially with such a great wealth of gameplay focused on Western history out there. What can we really learn from history other than humans have magnificent moments of enlightenment followed by horrid moments of exploitation and destruction. Oh yeah, and we can have fun doing it.