Friday, April 26, 2019

Imperator: Rome Gameplay Review

I'm playing Imperator: Rome, a real-time grand strategy game by Paradox Interactive.

Starting in 304 BC, you can start with any nation from England to India. This is a more military-focused game than other Paradox titles, as you are trying to constantly expand, thanks to easy-to-obtain casus belli. The interface has a lot of statistics, but features such as the macro builder and robust tool-tips ease the process of gathering information. The detailed map contains a ton of cities, grouped into provinces, each of which produces taxes, research, or manpower depending on the number of citizens, freemen, tribesmen, and slaves present. Each group of cities can have a governor that can dictate a policy direction. Characters in the game can also hold office in the government, or lead troops. There are a lot of Crusader Kings-like events dealing with characters that add flavor to the game, and individuals can be bribed, imprisoned, recruited from other lands, or revolt against you in a civil war (bringing their own troops against you). Each province can have a number of trade routes; each good provides a specific bonus (access to a military unit, population increases, happiness, et cetera) and income. Power points (slowly accumulated over time) can be spent on new inventions, religious omens (various bonuses), diplomatic actions like casus belli, or military tradition (more bonuses!). Diplomatic options are plentiful, though you can only ally with nations of the same size. There are several land types to recruit, and mercenaries can be an option in nations with a lot of income but not a lot of manpower. Units can be automated to assist in especially spread-out countries, or ordered to build roads, construct border forts, or reorganize (faster reinforcement rate for a cost). Despite the expansion-heavy focus of the game, aggressive expansion penalties with make the AI unite against you if you expand too far too fast. The AI provides a good opponent that will sign appropriate treaties and declare war reasonably, and barbarians can be a nuisance in large nations. Imperator: Rome is a more streamlined grand strategy experience that incorporates the better aspects of Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings.