Total War: Rome 2 patch adds new faction, Steam Workshop support

Tom Sykes at

Total War: Rome 2's latest patch has a couple of welcome surprises, in addition to the usual bug fixes and the like. Surprise the first is support for Valve's handy Steam Workshop, making it easier to find and install the game's burgeoning assortment of mods. Surprise the second? Well it's a brand new faction, the Seleucid Empire, who were apparently quite good at city building and engineering. Also, one would presume, killing.

Stardock announces Galactic Civilizations III on its 20th anniversary, releases trailer

Kevin Kelly at

Two decades have passed since Stardock released its first game, Galactic Civilizations, and on the eve of the company’s 20th birthday, it’s unwrapping Galactic Civilizations III, a sequel to the game that put the studio on the map. Seven years after Galactic Civilizations 2, the follow-up is promising massive scale, moddability, and a redesigned ship builder alongside its trademark political intrigue. Joining Watch Dogs, it’ll also only run on 64-bit operating systems.

Spice Road: an alternate history trading strategy game, now with demo

Tom Sykes at

Spice Road is an upcoming indie game about a very spicy road. It's also about trading, economic simulation, empire-building, expansion, eighteenth-century alternate history, real-time strategy, and dudes with particularly luxurious sideburns. That's a lot of stuff to take in all at once, but developers Aartform Games have you covered with that most antiquated of things: a playable demo (direct link). If you enjoy buying, selling, building or expanding, you owe it to your clicking finger to take a look.

Frozen Endzone dev diary: Exposition

Paul Taylor at

Mode 7 Games, creators of our Strategy Game of the Year in 2011, share an update on their progress with Frozen Endzone.

Frozen Endzone had its first public unveiling at London’s Eurogamer Expo earlier this month.

Exposing a game to the wider world is always stressful: not only did we have to cope with a barrage of unfettered opinion but also with managing the torrent of gamers, journalists, children and passive-aggressive bears (yes really) which threatened to swamp our humble creation.

Divinity: Dragon Commander trailer rounds up players' political decisions

Phil Savage at

Divinity: Dragon Commander has been out for a few months now, giving Dragon Knights ample opportunity to decide the fate of its colourful world. Now, developer Larian Studios have collected up those myriad political decisions into an infotrailer showing what players decided. What would the world look like if it were ran by people who enjoyed pretending to be a dragon? Well, for one thing, there'd be slightly more nudity.

Wargame: Red Dragon's first screenshots are intercepted

Phil Savage at

Wargame: Red Dragon was performing covert operations throughout Gamescom, and now it's ready to be brought to the attention of our collected war(game) council. The follow up to European Escalation and Airland Battle, Red Dragon is on manoeuvres away from the series' traditional European stronghold. This time, developer Eugen Systems have taken the battle to Asia, where China and North Korea will stand off alongside three other countries between 1975 and 1991.

Space Hulk's latest free update includes new campaign to show fan appreciation

Patrick Carlson at

In a nod to its fans, indie strategy game Space Hulk has released a new—and free—three-mission campaign as part of its latest patch which went live today. The appropriately titled Messenger of Purgatory campaign surfaces as part of update 1.2, which also addresses the game's optimization, visuals, and a variety of other improvements, according to its official changelog.

Reinstall: MechCommander

Evan Lahti at

Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, we take to the battlefield with not just one, but A FEW mechs in MechCommander.

Time to roll the dice. I’m replaying the third mission of MechCommander, a few giant robot steps away from a big moment: my first run-in with a MadCat. If I play things right, I can bag it. One problem: I’m totally outmatched. My four-man rookie squad is piloting wiry light mechs (Commandos and Firestarters); essentially, I’m about to send a gaggle of Chevy Cavaliers against a Ferrari.

The MadCat’s iconic frame emerges from the fog of war, its egg-shaped cockpit perched atop raptor legs, shouldering twin blocks of long-range missile racks. I’ve got to make a call: do I sprint to the extraction point and attempt to complete the mission without a fight? Do I use the nuclear option and zap the rows of gas tanks near the MadCat for a sure kill—but with no chance of salvaging it? Or do I fight it head-on, and maybe—if I range correctly, kite it away from my damaged scout mech, and find enough finesse—knock the beast down without killing it, adding it to my squad and taking it into mission four as a playable prize?

Total War: Rome 2: Patch 3 now live, brings more optimisation and improvement

Phil Savage at

The thing about games is that sometimes they lock up when loading into battle with DirectX 9, or report the wrong per-frame time in the Graphics Benchmark frame rate display. Honestly, I don't know why we put up with them. Actually, wait, it's because they're brilliant. Even better, they can be fixed. Total War: Rome 2's third patch, announced last week, is now live, and offers technical and performance fixes, along with balance changes, and improvements to usability and the general game.

Total War: Rome 2's third patch launches another attack on performance and AI issues

Phil Savage at

The republic of Creative Assembly continue to work on the list of complaints presented to them by agitated gamers after the launch of Total War: Rome 2. Much like last time, Patch 3 makes changes throughout the game, focusing on key weaknesses in the formation, including performance and AI tweaks. CA have also focused fire on multiplayer, and claim to have significantly improved the online campaign speed, which will now be determined by the slowest player's machine. Patch 3 is currently in beta, and can be applied through the game's Steam properties menu. A general release should come later this week. You can see the full changelist inside.

Frozen Endzone dev diary: Origin Story

Paul Taylor at

Mode 7 Games, creators of our Strategy Game of the Year in 2011, share an update on their progress with Frozen Endzone.

Welcome to the first in the series of this behind-the-scenes look at Frozen Endzone. Although it’s our third game, Endzone feels a lot like a difficult second album. Our previous title Frozen Synapse had an amazing critical reception, winning awards and exceeding all of our expectations. Following something like that that is a pretty torturous soul-searching process as you try to find the needle of an intelligent decision in the haystack of random gibbering that accumulates in 4 years of making a single game.

Giveaway: Win a Digital Storm gaming PC and a copy of Total War: Rome II

PC Gamer at

Friends! Romans! PC gamers! Want a free copy of Total War: Rome II—and a beefy new gaming PC to play it on? We're giving away a Digital Storm Bolt PC and a copy of Creative Assembly's newest strategy game to one lucky reader.

Total War: Rome 2 creative director: launch issues are "totally unacceptable"

Ian Birnbaum at

Total War: Rome 2 came out last week, but though it was just short of greatness, it has also had a bit of a rough launch. Some players have been unable to login and others are reporting game-crashing bugs. Now Total War creative director Mike Simpson has posted to the game's forums to apologize and lay out the plan for the next few weeks.

Total War: Rome 2 to get first patch this Friday, weekly fixes for immediate future

Phil Savage at

Creative Assembly have announced the update and support strategy for their latest Total War, and, like the city it's based on, revealed that Rome II won't be patched in a day. The developers plan to release fixes for the game "on a weekly basis in the immediate future", targeting their updates based on player feedback, as they configure and tune the release post-launch.

Total War: Rome 2 trailer celebrates the betrayal of Caesar, the launch of the game

Phil Savage at

Et tu, CA? In a tradition dating back to roughly 44 BC, the developers of Total War: Rome 2 are celebrating the launch of their game with a trailer. If you can tear your eyes away from the sight of Steam downloading, unlocking, or perhaps even playing their latest strategy lasagne*, spare some time for a CGI retelling of ancient history. As with all of history, everybody dies.

Total War: Rome 2 review

Tom Senior at

The Roman senate will weep for Crassipes. They'll talk proudly of how the great general threw himself against the walls of Massalia. They'll talk of how he burned the gates and took the central square, and how a dozen Averni javelins ended his illustrious command of Legio I Italica there. But will they talk of the fleet barely a mile away that sat still and watched the great man lemming his way into the history books? Do they realise that the patriot they adored was sent intentionally to his death? I wonder what that would do if they knew that the fate of Crassipes and all the armies and settlements of Rome were not beholden to the gods, but to one bearded games journalist moving them like pawns on a vast playing board.

What a beautiful board it is - an intricate papier mache caricature of Europe, decorated with landmarks, rivers and exaggerated topography. Total War has come a long way from the papery maps of Shogun, but its form is the same. You must guide your chosen nation to glory by managing cities, conducting diplomacy, plotting espionage and moving armies to conquer new settlements. When your armies meet resistance, you dive into a real-time battle and command the troops personally.

Total War: Rome 2 reveals its plan for post-launch free DLC

Phil Savage at

Don't worry, you can unclench your buttocks. As a video game made in 2013, Total War: Rome 2 will have paid-for DLC, but today Creative Assembly have confirmed that their cavalcade of post-release content isn't all destined to end life as a line on your bank statement. Alongside the additional purchases, the developers are planning to sprinkle in some free content updates and support.

Endless Legend announced, a fantasy 4X from the Endless Space devs

Tom Sykes at

Space is endless. We knew that much, but it turns out legends are endless as well. Or rather, one Legend in particular, and probably not the one where Tom Cruise shares a curry with a guy named Tim (as is my understanding of the film). Not content with just one 4X strategy game, the Endless Space developers are back at it again, this time using those 4 Xs (eXplore, eXploit, eXpand and eXtreme) in a fantasy setting, with no spaceships or anything. You can see some hexy screenshots after the break.

Tropico 5 announced: follow El Presidente through the ages

Phil Savage at

Kalypso have announced Tropico 5, the next game in the light-hearted banana republic dictatorship simulation series. Where Tropico 4 drew slight criticism for being a marginal improvement over its predecessor, the sequel's plans are more wide-ranging. The game will feature multiple eras, with players taking El Presidente from the colonial 19th century, through to the future. Not that you'd know it from the announcement trailer, which is more concerned with showing the great dictator's creepy fascination with globes.

Europa Universalis 4 video tutorials take you through the basics

Phil Savage at

As good as Europa Universalis IV is, if you're new to Paradox's information dense strategy games, you may be put off by the continued bombardment of stats and figures. And there's little more demoralising for a nation's army than being forced to wait around while there leader learns who they're supposed to be attacking. Understanding the benefit of patiently explaining their game, Paradox have released a series of tutorials meant to get you up to speed.