Rome: Total War, the whole thing, has been released on iPad. Can you believe it? Seems like only yesterday I was studiously sat at my computer conquering Europe and defying the Pope, and now you can do it on an iPad. What's that? It was 12 years ago? Right I see. That's... cheered me up.
Rome: Total War costs Ł8/€10/$10 on iPad and you'll need at least an Air, mini 2 or Pro device on which to run it. Takes up a chunky 4GB of memory, too.
The full-fat experience of old should be intact and present, but with plenty of optimisations for a touch-screen device.
Kieron Gillen reviewed Rome: Total War for Eurogamer back in 2004 - back when then series was still making its mark.
"Holistically," wrote Gillen at the time, "it could be argued that there are better turn-based strategy games than Rome - but not by much. It could be argued that there are better RTS games than Rome - though not nearly as convincingly if you limit it to pure tactical combat games. And it's not even that Rome manages both, which would be an impressive game design feat but of no actual intrinsic worth... it's that Rome manages to integrate both, and by doing so elevate both.
"In any strategy-scale game, you construct armies, but thanks to its real-time side in Rome you know the units in a far more intimate fashion that makes the acquisition of elite troops suitably powerful, since you know exactly why they're feared. In any real-time strategy game you'll fight desperate battles against hopeless odds, but here, thanks to the strategy side, you know the precise cost of loss will be. It's a magical, beautiful synergy and there's nothing quite like it in the entire gaming lexicon."
Today Total War is well known and established. That marriage of a Civilization-like campaign map with real-time battles you control is a given. Rome even got a sequel in 2013, although Total War: Rome 2 (the brand nowadays comes first) struggled initially to find its feet.
Today there's a Total War marriage of another kind: one with legendary tabletop brand Warhammer. The result is a "godly blend of franchises", wrote Chris Bratt in his Total War: Warhammer review. And it's miles away from where Rome: Total War and its history books were in 2004.
Let us know how you get on with Rome: Total War on iPad, if you get it. Be interesting to see how well it carries across.