Rome 2 Total War was released by Creative Assembly in 2013. As a part of the Total War franchise Rome 2 is a historically grounded real time/turn based strategy game set in Europe from 272 BC.
Rome 2 focuses on the period of expansion for the Roman Republic, following the Pyrrhic War of 280-275 BC. It is first and foremost an empire building game, accommodating a wide variety of factions for the player to control.
The game instituted the “province system” into the franchise, which had been every subsequent game. The division of provinces into groupings of towns/cities makes the campaign map more manageable to the player, whilst reflecting the historical importance of provinces to the administration of ancient empires. The campaign map is vast, however at times it feels limited with inter-factional diplomacy feeling shallow. Likewise, internal politics, after a certain number of turns can be ignored entirely- despite emphasising the importance of family and reputation in Roman politics. One noteworthy inclusion in the game is rebellions which, being prevalent throughout the Republic's history, arise when the player mismanages their empire.
Where the game truly shines is in its multiplayer. The variety of fleshed out factions leads to some of the most entertaining competitive battles in the franchise, with the online community still being active today. The units of each faction symbolises the strengths and weaknesses recorded for each nation. While Carthage specialises in hoplite units, using mercenaries to expand its sword roster, Rome, as one would imagine, has a wide variety of heavy infantry, as recorded in historical records.
Ultimately, Rome 2 is an empire building game. Because of this, it takes liberties with historical accuracy in the campaign- despite each faction's start position giving the player a good foundation of knowledge for the period. The battles incentivise the player to use the historical tactics associated with each faction. Whether you prefer Rome’s “testudo”, Macedon’s “pike phalanx”, or the Arverni’s “frenzy”, Rome 2 Total War can appeal to people of all playstyles, and that’s where the true strength of this game lies.