ORIGINAL: Oleg Mastruko
Can you "objectively explain" as to why do you consider IG to be better than RTW, if it can be explained? Please, I am not trying to be confrontational, I'd really like to hear your opinion...
Maybe there's nothing to explain, maybe that's just personal subjective opinion and I'd accept that as good answer as well
Sure. Much of it is purely subjective. I enjoy horse and musket era games more than ancient era. So that's part of it.
But RTW, for all its glitter, fell short in several important areas of substance. The strategic map with tactical elements (mountain passes, river crossings, field fortifications, etc.)? Great, even brilliant, idea. Problem is the AI never used them. Sure, I could use them to beat up on the AI, which already was a push-over, but that hardly makes for a great game.
The campaign game was shallow. Diplomacy was essentially meaningless. Yes, you could enter into alliances, but the AI rarely adhered to them and, given the lackluster battlefield AI, you never needed their help anyway. And many of the "features" that were added simply to try to add some modest level of challenge to the game - revolts, Senate missions and plague - struck me as overly contrived and added more nuisance than strategy. (The silly busy-work Senate missions were especially ridiculous.) Overall, the campaign was little more than an excuse to string together a series of tactical battles; it offered nothing of substance on its own.
Which, in itself, might not have been so bad had the AI not been so weak. On the strategic map, the AI insisted on dividing its forces into multiple little armies - yet without taking advantage of terrain - so you could easily pick them off piecemeal in a series of lopsided battles (after only a few of which your general would have maybe ten stars and hence be all but invincible in most any battle). And the battlefield AI bordered on atrocious. Meet their line, hit their flanks with cavalry, they break and run. Every time. Or, in the seiges, they stand fast on their little platform in the center of town and just die under a hail of arrows. I fought a few seiges where I didn't lose a single man! The campaign fairly quickly turned into one lackluster battle after another, with precious little in the way of strategy in between.
Of course, if you grew tired of the repetitve battles, you could just buy off most of the enemy armies with bribes. Which was especially easy because the AI kept its armies scattered all over the map, just waiting for you. There's something definitely wrong with a game whose core is the tactical battlefield when players find themselves tempted to just bribe the enemy into submission.
Then there were a series of bugs and oddities. Silly units like screeching women, head hurlers and bum flashers. AI armies with nothing but warhounds. Massive enemy navies with nonsensical auto-resolve combat results. And the infamous save-game seige bug.
I recognize that some of these issues were adressed in patches. Many more were fixed or wired-around in the various excellent mods. But, the fact remains that RTW out of the box had more problems than a game of its lineage should have had. And many remain.
I've played the TW series since the day STW hit the shelves and have mostly enjoyed it. But RTW, in my view, was a step backward. I understand that most of the development effort went into the graphics, to the detriment of the campaign and AI. I can accept that if it means that the developer now can spend more time on the rest of the game for future installments. I must say, though, that their decision to bail on RTW after only a couple of patches and with serious problems remaining doesn't bode well for the future of the series. We'll see.
As for IG, it's still very early. But, out of the box, it has these advantages over RTW: the campaign is far more challenging and interesting, the AI is stronger, the land battles are more challenging and just as fun and you can fight the naval battles yourself (or auto-resolve them with results that make sense). Yes, the battles are too quick at present - but you can't give RTW the nod there because the battles were too quick there too and was one of the first things the modders struggled to fix. (I know because I was one of them.) IG still has some rough edges, but the developer still has time to fix them. (If they don't, I'll complain about them too.)
And, again, IG covers a period I prefer. So there's my take.
< Message edited by Queeg -- 6/27/2005 5:06:44 AM >