When is the game industry going to learn that simply repackaging a game, calling it Gold and smacking in the Emperor expansions isn't going to immediately make us change our minds about the original feeling of the particular game. You've read my reviews to know that I don't have much time for twee expansions and adding things like achievements is going to make me gnaw my own foot off in frustration since I thoroughly hate them.
Trophies, achievements and gamerscore can all go die in a fire.
So, yeah, one of us reviewed Imperium Romanum when it first came out and sort of liked it. It wasn't brilliant by any means but it wasn't the kind of game that you wanted to set fire to and leave in a burning bag on someone's front door, a special someone that you really hate. It was passable according to the review and if you can't be bothered to read that it's found over here.Imperium Romanum review
A 7.5 is pretty good, and guess what, that's roughly what you're getting from me as well. I'm not as easy to please as a lot of people. There's this guy, Yahtzee, he's a bit of an idol of mine and I like the cut of his gib. Me, I'm a cantankerous Brit that has a habit of looking at the faults of a game before I really can be bothered with its strengths. So bear that in mind as this review is short and sweet.
Imperium Romanum Gold doesn't suck, nor does it wow you with amazing gameplay and fun gameplay at that. It's decent enough and does what you might expect; it's a combination of some graphical tweaks that should make some of you back there happy and a few more missions, with the usual objective cards and a sandbox toy mode where you can just build the city of your dreams. The problem is that nothing seems to have overly changed from the initial outing, yeah; shiny new graphical lushness has been applied to the buildings.
You can assign a patron god to a city.
You can build the city of your dreams in the aforementioned sandbox. There's no sense of direction though, even in the actual core game. The historical missions may appeal to the armchair Caesar and his particular brand of Dog Food…but in the end it's about as satisfying as watching a group of people in roman helmets and carrying swords wave them around at a re-enactment event, actually, it's probably more satisfying paying the ticket price to go see that.
The combat is probably going to be better too. They haven't learned a thing from the original criticisms of the game that I can see, and even if people tell you it's been improved it's just as exciting as watching Songs of Praise on a Sunday. Yes DaPsycho, we know you do that, don't lie! Seriously though, it's like the developers took the first game, bundled the lack-lustre expansion and then added some other things that they felt were needed.
Then they slapped the word: Gold on it.
I could go to a shop, buy a metal tin that was partly rusty, and stick a label on it with Gold. But I'm still left with a partly rusty tin, and I've paid for a Gold label. I was underwhelmed by this, as many of the other gaming press at IGN and so on were underwhelmed by the original and the Emperor expansion.
This game is just for the hardcore die-hard fans of the original and expansion, for those people who love that kind of thing. Me, just like the Dragons in Dragon's Den, I'm out and won't be investing any time in this beyond several weeks of play to come to the conclusion that it's only slightly better than the previous one.
That's all I can say really, it's the same game as before with nothing much except a slight new lick of paint and lots more of the same old missions. Despite my harshness I have to clarify that I don't hate the game or the genre, I really love city builders and I was looking forwards to this game.
What I do hate is when my expectations are hyped and then I find out that the promise is hollow.
Take a tip from CD Projeckt Red and Atari with the Witcher, that's how you do a GOLD edition of a game. Of course I always thought that the game should have been like that in the first place, but I didn't get to review it!
Tune in tomorrow for Sacred 2. (Hint: I actually found that pretty decent)