From the creators of Expeditions: Conquistador and Viking comes Expeditions: Rome, a story-driven turn-based tactical role-playing game set in the twilight of the ancient Roman republic circa the rise of Julius Caesar.
Expeditions: Rome places you in the smelly caligae of a young roman noble whom as you learn in the opening cut scene is forced to flee the city and seek refuge with an offshore legion after your father is probably poisoned for political gain or something. I’ll be honest your origin story feels pretty rushed because not more than an hour or so later, you with your near complete lack of prior combat experience are suddenly chosen to head a new six thousand soldier legion and overthrow the Grecian province of Mytilene. The ensuing plot spans an entire decade and zips you all over Greece, Gaul, parts of North Africa and of course Rome. The sheer scope and scale of this ridiculously well researched occasionally reactive plot has left me impressed thus far with the dialogue fully voice acted and nails an impressive range of historical dialects and regional pronunciations.
Combat is classic small squad turn-based tactics similar to titles like X-Com or Divinity, each character has class specific skills and there are seven different swappable weapon types each with randomized attacks, add in interactable plot specific items and the ensuing combat is as satisfying as it is strategic. The game also encourages or really demands experimentation, a single character’s positioning can often prove the difference in battle for better or more likely worse so don’t forget to quicksave. Legion combat meanwhile is like turn-based tug of war, each battle phase culminates in a player choice that asks you to prioritize one war resource over another in order to advance. It’s not the flashiest thing in the world but it’s a nice change of pace minigame and I haven’t even mentioned sieges a mechanic I’m still exploring but very much enjoying. When it comes to Rome’s non-combat, Logic Artists left no tiny marble penis unsculpted, there are your classic RPG elements like character customizations, leveling up your party, advancing skill trees, looting and equipping new gear, tending to companion injuries and then there’s legion building through conquest, you’ll accrue world currencies used to build bigger and better bases, the buildings of which have time-gated levels you’ll use your companions to complete. I’ll also note that I was pleasantly surprised by Rome’s user interface which is bursting with helpful yet unobtrusive tool tips and tutorials, to be honest this game does throw a lot at you but an appropriate level of hand holding meant I never felt left to the wolves.
There is an occasional frame rate lag in places you wouldn’t really expect not to mention incessant loading screens but I’ve yet to encounter a game breaking bug and the camera controls quite nicely and the AI is a worthy opponent, though the graphics side, the game feels a tad dated, environmental textures look decidedly last gen and the combat animations here are pretty disjointed lacking real impact the music and sound design have yet to grab my attention too but nothing disappointing or annoying to report.
In conclusion, Expeditions: Rome is ambitious, it’s a 70 plus hour multiple campaign multiple continent kind of experience and one I’m very much still completing but with no complains thus far. The quality of the game is good but not amazing, if you are itching for a Rome themed tactical RPG I’d say go for it and buy it, otherwise wait for a sale.