Though not the highest rated of the real-time strategy (RTS) Total War games, Total War: Rome II is generally considered one of the better titles in the series. Recently, its latest expansion, Rise of the Republic, was released. Despite being overly-simplistic, Rise of the Republic offers a fun and engaging gameplay experience that feels unique compared to the base game.

Weather the storm

In Rise of the Republic, you are tasked with leading the Roman Empire to victory in the regions of Italy, where numerous factions are trying to kill both you and each other. However, there's a catch: These are the early days of Roman expansionism, and as such, the empire's iconic technologies and legionary-filled military did not exist. Therefore, you need to develop these things over time while also surviving against enemy forces.

Ultimately, Rise of the Republic centers around your ability to endure long stretches of violence. Unlike a typical Total War campaign, every faction is out for blood from the start; as a result, conflicts are guaranteed to start sooner than they normally would. The balance of keeping an effective defense force at the ready for this, while also building up technologies so that you can go on the offensive, is what makes this DLC satisfying and fun to play.

This action-packed design is not without issues, however. Because there's very little downtime between military battles, Rise of the Republic can feel stale after awhile. I wouldn't say the never-ending warfare is boring, but if you enjoy Total War games for other reasons besides armed conflicts, you won't love this DLC.

Another issue is that the campaign feels too easy in the game's later stages. While I definitely want my armies to be strong, it isn't really that much fun to watch them defeat their foes with relative ease.

Italy's finest lands

Presentation wise, Rise of the Republic is solid. Italy is well detailed and well thought out, which was critical since it's always being used as a battleground by you and the other groups. When it comes to performance, the DLC runs very well and there were no problems.

Final thoughts on the Rise of the Republic DLC

Though it has a few problems, the Rise of the Republic DLC for Total War: Rome II will be a fantastic experience for anyone who decides to pick it up.

Pros:

  • Hectic, action gameplay.
  • Engaging.
  • Great visuals and performance.

Cons:

  • Too easy in the latter stages.
  • Feels stale sometimes.

4 out of 5

You can get Total War: Rome II now on Steam for $59.95, and the Rise of the Republic expansion pack for $16.99.