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ROME: Total War - Barbarian Invasion review - the same RTS action you've always known


For: iPad

March of death

Product: ROME Total War: Barbarian Invasion | Publisher: Feral Interactive | Format: iPad | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
ROME Total War: Barbarian Invasion iPad, thumbnail 1
Not everyone in the world has played the original ROME: Total War, one of the defining strategy games on PC that eventually found its way to iPad over a decade after it launched.

And if you're one of those people, the newly-launched standalone expansion ROME: Total War: Barbarian Invasion isn't going to be for you.

It's a hugely-complex beast of a game, perfect for those who know what they're doing, but potentially too obtuse for newcomers.

For the hordes

If you've played the first ROME: Total War on iPad, you'll know exactly what to expect here – huge battles and intense strategy lasting decades of in-game time.

You'll start on the overworld, moving units around Europe to scout out the area, set up new camps, and engage in diplomatic negotiations with other nations.

This is also where you need to keep an eye on your populous, generals, royal families, buildings, and armies as you look to take over as much of the world as you can.



It's a lot to take in, but there's an advisor on hand to give you tips and help when you need it, and holding down any of the buttons gives you some indication as to what it does.

New additions to the formula include the ability for barbarian tribes to form Hordes if their settlements are lost, and religious issues that may have to be dealt with as you go.

Blood and steel

But the real meat of the game is in its large-scale battles, where you'll need to keep an eye on hundreds of troops at a time across enormous arenas.

It sounds like a daunting challenge, but the touch controls are intuitive and give you plenty of scope to lead your troops where you want, when you want.

On top of that, you can pause the battle at any time to take stock of your forces, before dropping in with new tactics and orders to give yourself the advantage.



The whole ROME: Total War experience is present and correct, but to be honest, it's difficult to determine who exactly this game is for.

Fans of the original aren't going to see much new added to the previous game, and they can't even take the new mechanics into the old title.

New entrants will be even more on the back-foot – the game's only tutorial is a lengthy, dull video that throws new information at you faster than you could possibly process.

We surrender

Overall, ROME: Total War – Barbarian Invasion is just more of the same, and how much mileage you'll get from that depends on how much you like the series.

Newcomers will be put off by its poor tutorial and highly-complex systems, while experienced fans will question what exactly they can get from the package.

If you're craving more Total War on the go, this is where you need to be, but if you're on the fence about the series, you might want to give it a miss.
 
ROME: Total War - Barbarian Invasion review - the same RTS action you've always known
Reviewer photo
Ric Cowley | 3 April 2017
Barbarian Invasion is more of the same Total War experience, but unless you're already a fan, there's not much here to enjoy
 
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