Well Hello there, So this game came out on Tuesday, me and my friend have been waiting for this game well for years, the last week I was actualy counting down the hours. I went to bed early on Monday just to get the time to go faster, got up 8 in the moringen eventho I had nothing to do that day. Wainted an hour, and the game was out.
Then the shitstorm happend, people had super problems but from a desgin point of the game, but also lots and lots of bugs. I have been fortunate, except a few anoying bugs(one that led to the demise of Pyrrhus and Epirus) I have not have had huge bugs. I have low fps but it's playable on max graphics, alot of people can bearly play on the lowest settings. So my problems are mostly gameplay wise. I still enjoy the game imensly.
First the bad.
Some of my "problems" these are slighty personal and not all will have problems with them.
1. way to fast battles, 2000 dead in 3 minutes, you have the ablity to have 60 minutes count down on battles, but any battle that last more then 15 minutes, usualy have bugged them self(like enemies not attacking cities)
This has sevral problems, like not beeing able to enjoy the spectical, it's over so fast you don't have time to zoom inn and watch the fight. Second no time do to any tactical stuff, the battles are so short, so doing grand flanking with part of your army or just your cav is imposible. The only flanking you have time for is just to bend your battle lines in on the enemy.
2 Victory points, anoying as hell and leads to ai bugs, you are in the middel of a desert, you are attacked, you would think the only mission is to defend your self and/or kill all the enemies, but now, a magical capture points is in the middel of your battle line, if you loose it, you loose, even tho you might have 2000 menn left.
It also leads to ai bugging out in seige battles.(that killed Pyrrhus)
3. Ai dosn't make high end units, so far into my Macadonia campaign, I realised I have not seen any enemy units that are well worth anything, all enemy armies seems to be the lowest or next lowest infantry unit(milita, freedmen, ect) and light infantry(archers, slingers, javlinmen) Thats it, here I come with heavly armord Phalangites in Chainmail, with full 9 levles of experience and high level armor and shield upgrades, and the enemy throws Libyan Spearmen, Numidian spearmen, hoplitie millita at me. In my 20 battles I played personaly in the macedonia campaign, only in one battle did I see high level units(thoracrites, called thorax swordmen) And yes they did put up much more of a fight.
3. no love for the manipeler system, as rome you start with just hastati, then you can get principes and triarii with upgrade to a better barracks, but the also have techonology tree, and locking up the Marian reforms takes a very short time, so you will end up with getting rid of your propper republican romans, and getting the proffesonall legionare, some 100-160 years ahead of when it really happend, leaving very little time to play around with my wonderfull triarii and hastatii! And it's not optional, you kinda have to do the upgrade to get other technology. if you don't do it, you willl be left behind in the quality of the troops(if the enemy did upgrade that is) The technology upgrade should have been higher up on the tech tree.
4. Later in the game, it gets desolate, I'm moving into asia minor, and it's empty, no armies, the towns are not upgraded so no real defences. I have not seen a single army with more then 800 menn in it in a long time now. they are all small scale forces.
So thats my big gripes.
So I guess I should have started with the basics of the game first, but here they are.
The game lets you play as a leader of a faction/nation/tribe You have a germanic tribe, gallic tribe, Britton tribe, as well as Parthia, Pontus, Rome, Carthage, Macedonia, Epirus, Sparta, Athens, Egypt, soon you will be able to play as Selucids to. To win, you have to "take over the world" so to speak, there are diffrent goals, you have economic, culutural and military victory. You build your empire, take over other nations. You build armies and buldings. research tech. There are sevral balls to jugle, food, money and happyness is the big ones. Make sure your populace is happy, this is done by making ceartain building, like ampitheatere or aquaducts. Other buildings actualy make people less happy, so you have to balance it, you need military, economic and agaculture buldings, but higher teers of those make people less happy, so you have to also build buildings that make them happy. Food is important or they stave, again some buildings make food, while others use them up, and some make money. So those 3 resoarses have to be balanced. It did take me a few rounds to get the hang of it, my carthage campaign went to hell because of massive food shortage, so I was super carefull with it as Macedonia, and had like 60 surplus food.
The game is centerd around provinces, a province is 2-4 "towns" There are bonuses to having an enitre province, for one you can give an edict, that gives bonuses. Second the more towns you have in a province, the easier/harder depending on how you look at it, it is to balanse the 3 resorces. Also it gives you the ablity to make very good armies, as the towns are conected. I'll give you an example. you generaly have 3 diffrent options in military buldings, heavy units(heavy cav, infantry ect) another options is higher teer light infantry, archers ect. and then you have armorer, so if you have a four town province, you can have 3 of the towns have one of each(or one town can have sevral) So you can then build a good army in that one provice, with heavy infanry, archers and good armor bonuses.
Ofcourse not all provinces have to have military buildings, infact that would make it hard to make enough money and food. so some provinces are food or money makers, while others are military, generaly your first province is gonna be a military province, as you need military early on to expand. As Macedonia, I had 2 main centers of military, Macedoina with pella as center, and rome, I later did a few smaller military suply stations in cities like Antioch. Also you have just a limited number of armies/fleets. At the start you can only have 3 armies, then later 6, then 9 ect.
Each army has a general, he gets better as he wins battles, also as your army get better it gets "traditions" that makes it better. My main Macedonian army had 4 traditions and had been with me sins the start, so the army had lasted 150 years. generals come and go, but the army traditions and units stay.
So in the end , the game is fun, 30+ hours in 4 days, even tho I was super sick most of the time, with headaches.
City defence, the javlins are very cool, they make a good sound when they hit, they get stuck in soldiers