From: Carson City, NV
Having purchased and played on the new patch with the deep discount, I have to say I'm really enjoying it. Held off when it was released and I'm glad I did. But now it really seems like they're doing well to turn it around at this point. The No Man's Sky development track, it would seem.
Yes, No Man's Sky is a great comparison. It was a flop, got reversed. I started a post earlier and mentioned that, then I deleted it before posting. Imperator Rome was a flop. 2.0 reversed that. I've had this game from the start, gave up on it, now headlong into it more than ever. It's amazing now. If you like tons and tons of tooltips, perfect game. If you like tons of micromanagement, perfect game. If not either of those, skip it.
You can play a ton of different countries besides Rome. I'm playing as Egypt now.
I also recommend the Alexander DLC for $10.