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Total War: Rome II Builds an Empire One Battle at a Time

The "Total War" series has been sucking up players' free time through various incarnations for years now, but the one entry into the series that always stood out was "Total War: Rome." And as a result, fans of the series have been clamoring for a sequel to the turn-based/real-time strategy game. Thankfully for them, the folks at The Creative Assembly heard their fans' loud and clear and are getting set to launch "Total War: Rome II," and we got to spend some hands-on time with the game here at E3 2013.

During our demo, we were put in the role of Julius Cesar as he attempted to negotiate a trade agreement with the Egyptians. Unfortunately, Cesar made the mistake of landing an invading army on the shores of the Nile River, something to which the Egyptians didn't take kindly. Naturally our trade negotiations tanked leaving us no choice but to declare war on Egypt in an attempt to force the agreement through. 

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Our battle saw us trying to take a heavily fortified cliff overlooking the Nile River. With the Egyptians packing everything from heavy artillery to archers, we had no choice but to call in our secret weapon, war elephants. As we positioned our troops in their formations, trying to flank the Egyptian's positions, we simultaneously tried to maneuver six ships up the river to land reinforcements on the Nile's shores. Unfortunately, we were blocked by the Egyptians own ships.

The fighting was, as expected from a "Total War" game, fierce and required a fine knowledge of the games mechanics, as well as when to use certain troop formations. Naturally, we were crushed by the Egyptians in relatively short order. In fact, we were beaten so thoroughly, that our troops eventually abandoned the battlefield, fleeing to the shores of the Nile where they were eventually destroyed by Egyptian archers and war elephants.

While our demo was heavily focused on the battle aspect of the game, there are plenty of other elements that influence your ability to conquer the world. You can, for example, build out city states, buy allies, pay off enemies and more. You'll also have to gain political favor in the Roman Senate, while trying to keep potential usurpers at bay. If the final product is anything like the demo we played, "Total War: Rome II" should fine a home in many strategy game fans' collections.