Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
I have to admit, I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Total War: Rome II. Though I’ve always been an avid fan of Creative Assembly and the Total War franchise, Rome II‘s lackluster release and empty promises had me worried. Despite my attempts to give it an honest shot, I’ve always found myself drifting back to Shogun 2 (namely, Fall of the Samurai, because who doesn’t love guns and artillery?). Rome II did have one redeeming quality: Steam Workshop. Given the amount of overhauls that were popping up shortly after the game’s release, I found that I wasn’t alone in feeling that the game needed some beefing up.
Enter Radious, the spiritual successor to the legendary Darthmod series. The mod is a complete overhaul of Rome II, tweaking virtually everything from the core AI, to building values and characteristics, to unit models and rebalances. You name it, Radious has probably edited it. Made by a modder of the same name, Radious is so good that I have no interest in playing the game without it. With all the extra units, the smarter AI, among all the other additions, this isn’t a mod you want to pass up.
Honestly, Radious hits all the nails on the head; the mod has succeed in reversing Rome II‘s rather “arcade-y” gameplay and restore it to the level of depth and detail we’ve come to expect from the series. Each faction has literal dozens of units, filling out the rosters on every tier. Though intimidating when you first get your empire standing on its own two legs, strategists will appreciate the choices they’re given, comparing strength, weapon type, and cost when considering the make-up of their forces.
With the retexturing and updated unit models, it’s also a welcome treat to watch your ragtag militia grow into modernity with better armor, weapons, discipline, and combat abilities. Pontus’ units, for example, are initially a handful of Eastern spearmen, reliant on mercenaries to round out their forces. But as their power and military research grows, they can choose from a variety of Hellenic- and Persian-influenced units.
As far as the AI is concerned, NPC combatants are more responsive and aware of their surroundings. For instance, if the battle map offers any tactical advantages–such as forests or hills–the enemy general will utilize them as best as it can. If they have cavalry, you bet they’ll attempt to attempt to flank you quicker than Caesar was stabbed in the back.
In order to counter this, remember the basic, classical logic to strategy games: spearmen are good defenders, especially against cavalry and in a fixed position; soldiers who wield axes and swords are good at charging and should outflank spearmen; cavalry should harass the flanks, swordsmen, and ranged units; and ranged units should wear down spearmen before an assault.
Because of how many different units there are, the sheer number alone might be overwhelming for even veteran players. A way to counter this would be to capitalize on Rome II‘s already-present unit “upgrade” feature. This way, those loyal companies from the beginning of your fledgling empire can follow you into modernity.
Aside from that, nothing really needs improvement.
That said, Radious is a great overhaul for Rome II with its attention to detail and compatibility with other mods like Traits, Talents and Toadies (it’s like Radious, but focuses on special units like generals, agents, and champions, as well as their traits and retainers). Whether you’re someone like me who felt the vanilla experience was somewhat lacking or a passionate Rome II fanboy who wants a new challenge and feel to the game, Radious is definitely worth the try.
Feel free to subscribe to the full overhaul on Steam Workshop and tell us what you think!