ROME: Total War - Barbarian Invasion Review

ROME: Total War - Barbarian Invasion Review

Building on the success of the initial Rome Total War iOS conversion, the first expansion for the series, ROME: Total War - Barbarian Invasion ($4.99), has also made its way to the iPad. Has developer Feral Interactive struck gold again with its latest effort? Read on to find out.

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ROME: Total War - Barbarian Invasion takes place 349 years after the conclusion of the initial Rome Total War game. For those who have not played the original, those events focused on Roman era conquests. This title focuses on the last days of the Roman empire with the introduction of eight different attackers ranging from the Goths and Huns to the Franks, Vandals, and Saxons. Players can either defend Rome against these invaders, or take on the role of a Barbarian leader seeking to ultimately topple the empire. As the hordes expand their invasion efforts, they can either sack a city or settle in it, furthering destruction and conquest toward this goal. Other aspects such as the introduction of religious factions (Christianity, Paganism, and Zoroastrianism) also confound the Roman attempts to hold the empire together.

 Total War Barbarians

The mechanics of the game are identical to the original Rome Total War for iOS conversion. As such, be prepared for a hand and finger workout. Controlling the camera, issuing orders to units, and managing resources requires a heavy dose of pinching, rotating, and tapping. Keeping track of your armies, their formations, and the attacking enemies is a significant factor in what makes managing the hectic battle sequences so engaging.

 Total War Barbarians Options

Even though Barbarian Invasion is technically considered an expansion, Feral Interactive has smartly chosen to release it as a stand-alone game at half the price of the original. Since Barbarian Invasion doesn't require prior Rome Total War knowledge to play the game, it is actually a great way for anyone curious about the Total War gaming approach to give it a try without having to take the risk of spending a lot of money to evaluate the experience. That said, you will need an iPad running iOS 10.2 or later. You will also need around 2.2 GB of available storage for the app to install the separate audio and music packages when you first launch the app. But considering that players will experience the actual PC title without compromise on their iPads, the steep system and storage requirements are understandable. And thanks to the high resolution of the iPad display and the reworked interface that has been optimized for touch, Barbarian Invasion looks and controls even better on the iPad compared to its original PC source.

 Total War Barbarians

Final Verdict

Overall, ROME: Total War - Barbarian Invasion is an excellent game that showcases just how far gaming on the iPad has come. Hopefully this expansion is well received by the iOS gaming community so that Rome Total War's second expansion in the series, Alexander, can be ported to the iPad as well, thereby completing the series. Then it's on to the other historical Total War spectrum of games, from Shogun and Medieval to Napoleon and Empire!

 

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Mike Riley's picture

Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.