Tobold's Blog
Friday, October 14, 2016
Total War

No, this is not a post about the second American Civil War starting on November 28th when enraged Trump supporters who have been told to go voting that day will discover that the election is already over and start a total war over this obvious election rigging by Clinton. No, it is about the news that Rome: Total War is getting a port to the iPad this fall, costing $9.99. I don't think that this is a good idea.

I have a strained relationship with the Total War series of PC games. On the one side I do like games that broadly fall under the 4X description, building up an empire from a small starting position by a mix of domestic advancements and conquest (and yes, I'm aware Civ6 is coming out later this month). On the other side the Total War series has always had a very, very bad AI; and I always found the real-time battles to be a bit fiddly with the controls and not really intuitive in the tactical decisions. The graphics of the real time battles are great (and I've even seen a TV show using the Rome: Total War graphics), but the gameplay of them I found not so much fun.

Somehow I doubt the situation will improve with a port to the iPad. The best one can hope for on the AI side is that it won't be dumbed down further for processor-power reasons, and we get the same sucky AI as the PC version. And the controls of the real time battles are likely to be problematic. There are some games on iOS, like Autumn Dynasty, which have real time battles using intuitive and fast touch screen controls. But they would be difficult to implement if you want to keep the Total War feature of being able to zoom into the action down to the individual soldier.

So right now I consider a wait and see approach: Even for 10 bucks I won't buy the game before I've read some in-depth reviews, e.g. on Pocket Tactics.

The game is already really hard to control during battles with a mouse and keyboard I can't even imagine how its going to work with touch controls. I feel like Rome is a bad choice to translate over to tablets as well. They should have maybe gone with shogun which has a simpler system, but I guess Rome is the most popular title they have.
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