Universal acclaim - based on 58 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 out of 58
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 58
  3. Negative: 0 out of 58
Buy On
  1. A sumptuously detailed and totally engrossing RTS title that can even hook those who normally aren't fans of RTS titles.
  2. It has so much depth and aptitude that you'll find yourself drawn in for hours, which will quickly turn into days, months and, dare I say, years. There's been so much effort put into every single aspect of the game that it's hard not to admire the hard work of the developers behind it.
  3. 100
    Few things are more satisfying than watching the bodies fly as your cavalry charge breaks through a defensive line or watching your elephants flatten your foes as they run away in terror. Rome: Total War adds much needed personality to the battle. No other game in the strategy genre does it better.
  4. 100
    The most epic, cinematic real-time 3D battles ever seen.
  5. AceGamez
    A new breed of superlative is needed to even begin describing how truly revolutionary and fantastic Rome: Total War really is. "Medieval" was a strategic masterpiece but the superiority of Rome makes Medieval look positively, well medieval in comparison.
  6. Every couple of years a game is released that is so well crafted, so perfectly made, that it sets a benchmark for gaming quality. Rome: Total War is one of those games. We couldn't find a fault.
  7. Computer Games Magazine
    Enough staying power to keep you busy for years. [Dec 2004, p.72]
  8. Without a doubt one of the best strategy games I’ve played. Activision has successfully combined full RTS and turn based genres in one game while maintaining the balance between them, putting any serious strategy fan to the test.
  9. This is a MUST HAVE GAME, with stunning graphics, depth, detail and playability. This game provides a new level of challenge and enjoyment that other games will now be judged against.
  10. I suppose the most telling thing about this game is the way that it draws you in, making you ponder every turn-based move, knowing it will affect the outcome of each battle with each enemy army that takes offence to you.
  11. Still, despite the occasional glitch in battle, Rome: Total War is a superb game that easily consumes your day, evening, night and next morning. In other words, play this game with caution if you succumb easily to the desire to conquer the world.
  12. The most advanced, complete and realistic strategy game out there. No matter if you are looking for a great single player campaign which can fill weeks or even months with continuous challenges and new experiences, or you just want realistic cinematic multiplayer skirmishes of epic scale, this game delivers.
  13. Combining a powerful turn based engine for the management, and an insanely enjoyable RTS engine for the battles, Activision and The Creative Assembly have produced what could easily be the best strategy game of 2004.
  14. It's huge, thrilling, epic stuff. Give yourself unto Caesar. [PC Gamer UK]
  15. Like Romeo and Juliet, I was deprived of my love for so long, but the third Total War has made the franchise accessible to all but the most casual of gamers.
  16. 94
    Personally, I've never given a score this high before but Rome Total War is without a doubt one of the best games I've ever played. The combination of subject matter, game mechanics, and outstanding visuals add up to one of the best experiences you'll have on the PC.
  17. 94
    The atmosphere in R:TW is breathtaking...This game is by far the best Total War game released yet and, in our opinion possibly the best strategy game of all time.
  18. Rome: Total War is nothing less than awesome, and is engrossing enough to provide weeks of play at the very least.
  19. Jaw-dropping battle engine, Staggeringly deep yet intuitive strategy map, Fiendishly lifelike AI.
  20. As a total game experience, it is enchanting, and sometimes even astounding, if you have a machine that can handle it well.
  21. An ideal strategy game as it combines two rather different gameplay approaches into one very cohesive package.
  22. It has a seamless blend of strategy and tactics, giving the player the power to choose whether he wants to enjoy one or the other, the 11 civilizations to play – and it does this all in a very refined fashion.
  23. Crosses the rubicon of greatness with a Latin flourish; it's the equal of a hundred lesser games. [Nov 2004]
  24. 93
    The presentation is marvelous, the gameplay is terrific, and much of the strategy is tremendous. Strategy gamers, I implore you, buy this game!
  25. The graphics for Rome were nothing short of great in my opinion from animations to the smooth camera work and lack of lag even when large numbers of troops filled the screen. The sound in the game is also spectacular.
  26. 92
    If you loved "RISK," you’ll feel right at home with this title.
  27. PC Gamer
    To say I loved every minute of Rome: Total War is a tremendous understatement. For my money, it's the ultimate strategy game. Not only does it effortlessly combine turn-based strategy with raucous real-time warmongering, but it delivers them in a package that is accessibe and easy to play. [Nov 2004, p.76]
  28. Rome's campaign mode can be a bit daunting for all but the most hardcore RTS veterans.
  29. A constantly impressive element is the rousing speech your general hollers before a battle.
  30. Many games are excellent world-builders, and many are deep real time strategy war games. Rome: Total War sets out to be both and pulls it off wonderfully.
  31. netjak
    The best part is that players can zoom in to watch the battle in glorious detail, and players will want to zoom in just to sit back and watch the action.
  32. No other game so expertly combines a cerebral challenge with visceral thrills.
  33. A fantastic conquest. The power of the game engine has finally caught up with the developer’s vision of what a war game should really be like, and what a cool vision that is. It’s almost like getting two games for the price of one...and you can even just play your favorite.
  34. It's as much a revolutionary step as it is an evolutionary one, thanks to a beautiful new 3D graphics engine that makes the series' tactical battles--featuring thousands of soldiers--better than ever. The results are nothing short of spectacular, helping make Rome: Total War the very definition of an epic strategy game.
  35. An epic game in terms of both visual execution and longevity...Campaigns can last for several hundred turns, so prepare for the long haul.
  36. The tactical battles are better than ever thanks to an improved engine and significantly smarter enemy AI. You can now take up to 400 units into battle, leading to some impressive large-scale scraps.
  37. Primarily for hardcore strategy fans but, thanks to the great tutorial, it's still accessible enough for the casual gamer interested in delving further into the world of armchair generals. The game play is steeped in depth and can sometimes be overwhelming, but that’s a good feature—trust me.
  38. It seamlessly combines real-time and turn-based gameplay, gives the player ultimate control of their experience, and provides a level of depth that verges on bottomless.
  39. Edge Magazine
    Rome: Total War is more compelling, more beautiful and more expansive than anything that has gone before. [Dec 2004, p.104]
  40. Where the series goes from here (Please, a cross over with the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" series?), it will have a mighty legacy to live up to.
  41. 90
    Finally, the campaign elements and the 3D combat have merged into a game that's practically perfect in almost every way.
  42. Computer Gaming World
    A stroke of brilliance. With its unparalleled scope and enough strategic gameplay for two top-flight games, let alone one, Rome is a game that triumphs over its minor bugs and A.I. glitches and once again redefines what a historical strategy game can - and should - be. [Holiday 2004, p.100]
  43. In any real-time strategy game you'll fight desperate battles against hopeless odds, but here, thanks to the strategy side, you know the precise cost of loss will be. It's a magical, beautiful synergy and there's nothing quite like it in the entire gaming lexicon.
  44. 90
    Almost a perfect strategy game. It has strategic scope and splendor nearly matching that of "Civilization" and a tactical game unlike anything else on the market.
  45. This game is not only visually overwhelming, but intellectually, too. This is not for the casual gamer, or for people who only have a few hours a day to play. Instead, it is for those armchair generals who enjoy both the slower turn-based elements of games like Civilization and faster paced real-time strategy games.
  46. GMR Magazine
    The multiplayer could use a few more game options, like allowing players to actually play the campaign rather than only skirmishes. Still, for anyone who wants strategic depth with their RTS game, there's no better title out there. [Dec 2004, p.131]
  47. 90
    A stunning title... Sure, it might be a little complex for the casual gamer, and it might be a little rough in places, but Rome is as deep and as satisfying as they come.
  48. No matter if you’re a fan of strategy, combat, really angry guys with spears or some mixture of all of the above, Rome: Total War will definitely please.
  49. It sucks you in and holds on for hours. Anyone with the slightest interest in RTS games would find it well worth their money.
  50. While I wouldn’t way Rome: Total War is a good title for novice strategy players, there’s plenty of depth and fun in this masterful effort from Creative Assembly without being overwhelming.
  51. For people who loved "Gladiator," fans of top-shelf strategy games and history aficionados of any stripe - all roads lead to Rome.
  52. 89
    Niggly controls, cheating AI, cluttered management screens, a rash of aggravating bugs and an unshakeable sense of over familiarity all combine to keep Rome: Total War from being an outright classic.
  53. As far as tactics and empire management are concerned, this is not a (much) more elaborate strategy game, and the AI does have its faults, but this is certainly an infinitely more cinematic and spectacular looking strategy game than before.
  54. 87
    The in-battle game engine is entirely unmatched for realism and its unique vast - and yet personal - nature, while the turn based world map is both complex and involving.
  55. In the strict application, and importance, of strategy in regard to your success, Rome: Total War is to most other strategy games what chess is to tic-tac-toe. Far from flawless, Rome is, unquestionably, an enjoyable and immersive game.
  56. My last whine is lengthy AI turns.
  57. Game Informer
    As it stands, Rome: Total War is merely a good empire simulation with a minor real-time strategy diversion built in. [Nov 2004, p.165]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 1148 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. PatrickT
    Oct 29, 2009
    One of the greatest Strategy games of all time
  2. Jan 21, 2012
    A great game, along with Shogun 2 the best of the Total War series. What's unique about this game compared with the rest of the series is thatA great game, along with Shogun 2 the best of the Total War series. What's unique about this game compared with the rest of the series is that it is actually quite balanced. Full Review »
  3. JeffD
    Mar 8, 2007
    I'm starting to get pretty sick of the gaming press' absurd hyper-enthusiasm for any even remotely-interesting game. This is the I'm starting to get pretty sick of the gaming press' absurd hyper-enthusiasm for any even remotely-interesting game. This is the third game I've spent my hard-earned cash on in the last six months which had a Metascore of 85+ and which, nonetheless, was lackluster-to-bad. Coupled with the fact that games can't be returned (a practice which badly needs to end), it's just unforgivable. Hello, journalistic integrity? Where are you? With regard to this specific game, yeah, it's an OK strategy game. Certainly not the godsend that the gaming press and some of the folks around here seem to think. Gameplay is initially rather convoluted and confusing (no doubt due to a less than stellar user interface), then fun for a few hours, then repetitive and tedious. The graphics are OK -- nothing special. I think that folks may be getting off on the "epicness" of the graphics, on the sheer fact that you'll have thousands of soldiers fighting in a battle. But all those soldiers look alike and move exactly alike. And the terrain they're fighting on, as well as the campaign map, and the cutscenes as well, are all pretty lacklustre. Despite this game's general classification as a RTS, the gameplay emphasis is on the campaign (turn-based) play. I say this because all RTS battles can be skipped...and frequently they will be, since the AI will spend a lot of time attacking your armies even when they're badly outmanned. Naval battles can't be fought in RTS mode at all. And as a turn-based campaign game, R:TW is really lacking in depth. About 8 hours into my campaign game (now at about 12 hours, I seem to be about 1/3 of the way through it), I enabled the "Automanage AI" option and never looked back. So, I'm not fighting my battles on the battlefield, I'm not managing my cities. It seems like all that's left is what would be the most tedious part of another turn-based game like Civ IV -- ferrying my troups around the campaign map. Yuck. It's not all bad. I did have some fun with this game in the few intervening hours between figuring out the rather poorly-documented and unusual-but-not-in-a-good-way UI and getting bored with the repetitive gameplay. But was it worth my $30? Hell no. Full Review »