Expeditions Review: Rome. Legate, we have a lot of new lands to conquer

A few years ago I reviewed Expeditions: Viking – an ambitious, but error-free RPG. The Danish studio Logic Artists showed so well that they found a publisher for their next production. At the end of 2018, the rights to the Expeditions brand were taken over by the publisher THQ Nordic, thanks to which the Danes could freely work on the next installment of the series, having the financial backing of one of the larger publishers. The word “ambition” fits both the publisher and the programmers who released Expeditions: Rome on Thursday, another … ambitious production that I can honestly recommend to any fan of turn-based RPGs or the times of ancient Rome.

All roads lead to Rome

Expeditions: Rome focuses on the story of a Roman high society subject (depending on our choice, we can play either a woman or a man) who loses his father as a result of an assassination attempt. Our mother, however, uses her influence and we manage to escape from Rome. The coincidence of various events causes that we become a legatus – that is, something like a military official, and we receive our legion to fight the Greeks in Asia Minor. The history stretches over several years and as a legate we will also visit Egypt and Gaul, we will also return to Rome – both between subsequent campaigns and at the very finale of the story. There are many historical characters woven into the plot, such as Cleopatra, Vercingetorix, and Cicero, but this is not a game that we can draw from when it comes to historical realism. Several supporting characters will also join our team, each with their own story and special, additional missions. They are also heroes with whom we can make friends or romance – there are even moments in the game that make them the main characters. We can in a way reverse the course of the history of these characters, because there are many moments in which someone’s fate is in the balance in Expeditions: Rome. The action in the game slowly takes off and only when we get to Egypt does it get specific and then we learn a lot about the political conspiracy in which our family is involved. The epilogue itself is much more elaborate than the one in the Vikings and this time I did not feel disappointed – firstly, the plot does not break off suddenly and without explanation, and secondly, our decisions made even at the very beginning in Asia Minor, have meaning in the last hour games. It may not be the best story I have seen in the games, but it is very solid and it is possible that I will be tempted again at Expeditions: Rome one day to conduct a few more important threads differently. You have to be prepared to spend 30 to even 50 hours to play the game once, but if you like a lot of “non-one” choices, the new Logic Artists game is for you.Our hero as Legatus has a Roman legion at his disposal, which he controls on the map of a given expedition. Regardless of whether we are fighting the Greeks, Egyptians or Gauls, the goal is the same – to conquer all areas. The territories are divided into provinces in which the outpost is located. The capture of the outpost is simple – we send a legion, and then a simple mini-game takes place, in which we use one of three randomly selected maneuver cards in 4 turns. The use of a given card has consequences, e.g. increasing the player’s defense or the death of 100 legionnaires. These 4 turns decide the outcome of the battle. I can praise the creators for the idea and approach to the subject, but after the next 20 battle, in which I use similar maneuvers anyway and achieve the same effect – I felt bored and practically clicked through the battles to the very end. There was no greater need for the normal difficulty level – the right battle advantage meant that even the worst cards would not change the result of the duel. Therefore, despite the fact that in our legion we can assign team members to “discover” better maneuvers – it was not necessary. Legion battles are the weakest element of the game, it is not thrown in, but it torments in the long run.

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A separate entity on the world map, after the Roman legion, is our team, which consists of close companions and praetorians. They are Roman warriors, with whom we may not interact, but they are equally important members of the team, gaining experience just like the heroes. When traveling on the world map, when we move between places, we have to make sure that we do not run out of water and food. From time to time, random events take place during which we make a decision and feel its effects immediately. Most often they are simple stories, such as – we meet a trader and we can buy or rob him, sometimes we end up in an ambush and have to fight off the opponent. They start to repeat themselves at the end of the game, although there are also unique events for each expedition. There are also farms, tanneries and iron mines available on the entire map of the world, which will help to develop our legion. Our soldiers, although they conquer dozens of outposts, occupy one at a time. In this post, we can deal with matters related to our team and legion, and managing it boils down to replenishing our legion’s strength and creating new buildings. There are not many of them, but they are very necessary – in the outpost we can heal injured comrades in combat, forge new weapons, or refill tactical items (javelins, bandages, etc.). Alea iacta est

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Expeditions: Rome did not run out of turn-based battles, although we may not spill blood at decisive moments.Before each skirmish, we can arrange our team as we want, no more random setup, which could get us into trouble at the very beginning. Character classes are not too many, only four, but each of them is further divided into three “subclasses”, with unique passive and active abilities. This is enough to create a diverse team (we can control 6 characters in a skirmish), so I had fun during the clashes. It is worth adding that the clashes have different goals of victory – we do not always have to defeat every opponent, sometimes just a few are enough to break the morale of the rest.

The increased budget for the production of the game, thanks to the publisher’s support, can often be seen, and in the case of the Danish studio – heard. Logic Artists was finally able to voice acting for their game. Vikings was very poor in that respect, but Rome already has decent sound. Graphically, it’s also nice – vivid and bright colors are the order of the day, the expedition map looks beautiful, and the interface is stylish and we get used to it quickly. Beautifully drawn backgrounds or portraits of our heroes also deserve attention. It was not without mistakes – Expeditions: Rome in the review version could have crashes, sometimes some minor errors in animations, or a sudden return (from beyond the worlds, I believe) of the deceased protagonist. However, the 26 gigabyte patch should fix many of them.

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Is it worth playing Expeditions: Rome?

If you’ve had fun with your previous Logic Artists games, I don’t see why you shouldn’t try Rome. The new edition of the Expedition is the most extensive and the least bugged (despite the 26 GB premiere patch) position of this brand. You can see that the programmers and their ambitions have reached the budget, so you could be tempted with more content or richer audiovisual setting (is voice-acting). I definitely recommend all fans of tactical RPGs to play Expeditions: Rome. Remember that there is also a demo available that should answer all possible doubts.