I am new here and first of all want to congratulate Longbow Games with creating Hegemony series. With its unique combination of simplicity and deepness I found it being a gasp of fresh air for strategy fans in rather grey and boring today’s market. Bought Rome a couple days ago, like it so far, however there is one very important side of the game that I found degraded since previous version and that I thought was one of the strongest points of Wars of Ancient Greece/Gold.
It’s tactics – maneuvering, marching, forming battle lines. I loved how in Gold you just select a group of different units and send them where you want. What happened next was an military spectacle opening up in front of your eyes – your armies march in close order, reach the intended place and then form tidy and disciplined battle line with hoplites (or other heavy infantry) in the first line, cavalry and skirmishers behind. Ready for battle straight away. According to the battle tactics of that time! In Rome units just bunch together facing different sides and leaving it up to you to micromanage every position of each unit.
Another thing is marching. Why all units in Rome are running? A group of hoplites or phalangites in their heavy equipment marching was the pleasure to one’s eyes in Gold. You click double and their run/charge. In Rome even though there is a charge effect, visually there is no change – everyone runs all the time. It is especially obvious when you have large groups of units – 6, 7 – then even disciplined Roman legionnaires runs to their destination like a large crowded mob.
Lastly - formations. Those from Gold are gone, even simple ones – column, line, wedge. Why? Stances are fine, but then they do not really differ, at least visually. You can’t really tell the difference between battle line and skirmish in the game – in the first one, units should stand much closer together, shoulder to shoulder, creating wall of shields that would be difficult for enemy to break.
Maybe some changes are still work in progress, I hope so at least. If not, maybe it’s still not too late to implement these for the release. It was especially pity to see these shortcomings as fighting itself in Rome is great and unit detail level is amazing.
Cheers and good luck!