Paradox Interactive is most often associated with grand strategies full of tables and data. The Imperator: Rome also joined the family, but it doesn't fame like the Europa Universalis or Hearts of Iron. Despite various, often negative reactions, it is not a loophole, but the result is not so comprehensive as to satisfy demanding players. But he can find his supporters, perhaps from a slightly different sort.
Let's face it - if you play the above games, Imperator will look poor and maybe trimmed. However, this is a very good introduction if you are still familiar with the genre of grand strategies. It has a certain depth, but it is not complicated enough to discourage inexperienced players. And even if a better tutorial is desired, you will learn the basics relatively quickly in a learning scenario where you can complete a collection of assignments in any order. They will teach you how to achieve the balance and stability of the empire, use the power of religion, create military troops and naval fleets, build buildings in cities, trade and conquer new regions.
The lessons focus on historic Rome, but you can also choose other powers, such as Egypt and Carthage. And there are a number of smaller countries to choose from, which may be even more interesting, though more challenging. Resisting a strong neighbor is a chore. But it is possible if you have a functioning economy, take advantage of the rich possibilities of diplomacy and insure yourself with the military. In managing your country and colonies, we need to think about securing several resources and developing key areas. Under your thumb, you have cities where you can build four main buildings - marketplaces, training camps, fortresses and granaries. They will provide you with higher tax revenues, population growth and satisfaction, and the ability to build a strong defense and army. Each province has different resources and the missing ones can be obtained by setting trade routes.
Natural families play an important role in managing the country, and you have an overview of the children born. The characters have different features, influence and popularity, they may be corrupt and less loyal if dissatisfied. You can make friends with them, bribe them, assign them an important function in government, or put them at the forefront of the army. If you perceive them as a threat, you will imprison them or even execute them. However, you need to be aware of your reputation so that you do not become famous as a bully. In a country, you can change your social order, make important regulations, and choose a way to deal with different situations. An important role is played by religion, which contributes to improving stability and includes the blessing of various gods, which brings temporary bonuses in different spheres. Technology has been forgotten, influenced by counselors in different fields and brings various benefits in the military, religious or other spheres.
When everything goes well, you can concentrate on the military area and conquest. You build armies that can consist of several types of units, from archers, to infantry with shields and various types of cavalry, to elephants and camels, at sea, of course, ships. It is optimal to assign troops to commanders, armies can be divided, joined, complemented by other units, you can set the mode of automatic behavior. They require money for maintenance, and supply and logistics need to be considered. If necessary, hire whole groups of mercenaries. The conflict is preceded by the claiming of the territory and, consequently, the initiation of war through diplomatic currency. Then your troops can enter foreign territory.
In the case of the Great Powers, the Allies usually help themselves to attack the enemies and occupy their territory on your behalf. The results of the fighting are generated automatically and take into account the number of armies, range of units and bonuses commanders. The defeated army usually retreats and you can occupy the territory and control the area after siege. Complete conquest of another country will be achieved after its comprehensive occupation and demand for peace - surrender with the indication of the desired regions in the diplomatic currency. These processes often delay the remnants of the opposing armies, which are often not strong, just trying to take back the lost areas and sometimes literally chase them on the map. Conquering is one of the less sophisticated elements of the game, and the victory could certainly have been solved more elegantly and practically.
All processes are carried out on a mock-up of the world with marked land, land and ocean. You can switch between several modes to keep track of military strength, population satisfaction, and other components. Strangely enough, apart from full-faction-controlled sectors, you will also find separate, inaccessible territories that are not affiliated with anywhere and you just have to bypass them. Otherwise, you can comfortably move armies and nicely zoom in on any section of the map and province.
The user interface is handy, convenient to navigate, and switch industries and items at the top of the screen. Resources and icons are also displayed to alert you to situations and problems. On the right side of the screen, you can see your troop data, siege status, ongoing conflicts, and state of war. The visual is appropriately chosen for the game type. The landscape and pop-ups are nicely displayed, complemented by portraits of figures, icons and still images with historical motifs. In addition, subtle sounds and period music.
Veterans, however, may not be enough, and will probably lack detailed statistics, more detailed settings of individual components and more options in the formation of the country. In addition, when playing repeatedly, even for a completely different country, the procedure is basically the same and will soon be down. So after completing the conquering campaign, you will not be very much involved in the next. Only if you try it together with other multiplayer players. It is questionable whether players can keep or reopen scheduled updates. Anyway, the game needs more content.
Imperator: Rome hardly impresses the seasoned fans of grand strategies. They seem to prefer more complex and massive pieces of this genre. But it really is a good entry for newcomers and less demanding players to whom this title can provide enough interesting content with a relatively easy to learn system. Imperator is not one of the strongest brands of Paradox, but can entertain, just as much as his stronger older siblings.