Friday, September 30, 2005

Barbarian Invasion!!

Attention: Game related post

Amazing how early one can wake up with the right kind of motivation. This morning I woke up at 4.00am. Why the hell would I do that?

Because by 4.00am, my RTW: Barbarian Invasion ISO image download was completed, that's why.

Last night, I was on the Net when i came upon a RTW:BI torrent file. The full one, not the demo. I immediately downloaded it. The thing is, the game isn't supposed to be out until today. I wonder who managed to get it early..

Uploaded the ISO image onto my Daemon tools, ran the installation and ran the game without a hitch.

So far the game has impressed. The world map is slightly different. There's religion in the game now, Catholicism, Aryanism, various pagan religions, Zoroastrianism. Very important factor to determine population loyalties. Choose to be tolerant or hardline, up to the player.

The interface is nicer looking. Darker, reflecting the rather chaotic period in the game. The game is set to start at 361AD (I think). This is after the Roman Emperor Diocletian split the Roman empire into two halves and when the so-called barbarian migrations began. The Old World is in upheaval. The Classical Age is about to end and the Dark Ages is about to begin.

A good setting for a brutally violent strategy game.

I started a game as the Huns, which was interesting, because they start as a nomadic horde. As a horde, I have the option to keep moving until I see a city I want to take. Another extra option is what happens after one of my horde armies capture the city. I could occupy it and settle, or I could sack it for loot and move on.

And talking about battles, the AI can fight now. No more dumb mistakes. No more suicidal charges. I actually got beaten in open battle, an impossible thing before BI. I saw the AI use horse archers just like I would. It was amazing. You had to be there.

In sieges, the AI can defend properly now. It will try to plug gaps in the wall where my battering ram is and tried to push out my attacking troops instead of marching back and forth while my archers shoot them to pieces. Inside the city, the AI now stands fast and fights hard. It actually tries to reinforce crisis points and tries to flank me. Some of its defensive tricks are the same ones I use!

It was so much fun! Finally a challenge!

I can’t wait to see what else the game has in store. Oh yes, I have noticed one thing about barbarian factions. They can horde, meaning to say that if you take their last town, they uproot completely and turn into vast horde armies that can either counterattack immediately or migrate to some other place. That means that barbarians will be difficult to eliminate, unlike before.

Makes for some interesting strategic possibilities.

I’m going to start a proper game later, but I still don’t know what faction to play. Do I want to be civilised or do I want to be barbarian? If I take Romans, do I stay Christian or I do go back to the Roman gods? If I play barbarian, do I settle down at the edges of civilisation and build up slowly or do I stay as a horde and pillage my way into Rome?

So many possibilities!

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