I am not a big gamer. I'm old. Over 50. When I purchased a new computer recently, wanting to take it for a spin, I asked my son what to do and he told me about Steam. As an ancient history buff (I'm also a writer and have written a novel about the ancient Spartans), I did searches on Greece and Rome and eventurally found Rome 2.
I read all the negative reviews about the launch. Things haven't changed much in the gaming industry. Companies have always rushed their product to market. I imagine after spending years developing a game they end up deep in the hole and pressured by corporations like Sega to push it out - no matter how many problems exist. That's been going on for years. The wise thing to do is to wait. You know there is going to be a patch. Why not let someone else trip over all the bugs? From what I gather, a lot of gamers just can't wait today.
Anyway, I love Rome 2. When I read about the Emperor's Edition having worked out most of the problems, I dove in. It's been a delight. What a great game. It's more addicting that crack. Being able to play so many different factions gives it limitless re-playability. Thus far I've played as the Romans, Spartans, Athenians and Epirus, and have had a blast with each. There is a huge amount of strategy and tactics available on both the campaign map and the battle maps. Placing your armies at choke points in the mountains or at river crossings... putting them in ambush mode... slaughtering 2x or 3x your number of units without getting your hands dirty... it's all so gratifying.
One of the things I've noticed is that I usually end up winning by gaining a technological edge over the computer AI factions. If I can survive the early stages of play, eventually I'll start kicking out armies composed of better units than my opponents. When the autoresolve gives me results I don't like, saying I'm going to lose, or take unexceptable losses, it's fun to take control of your army and lead them on to victory when the oddsmakers are betting against you. Of course, often times you're leading superior units against hordes of untrained spearmen or levies, but occasionally the computer gives you a run for your money and there's nothing like destroyng your opponents Praetorian guard or Oathsworn unit that fights to last man.
Big kudos to the modding community. After playing vanilla R2, I found the Workshop and have been in pure amazement at the products the community has added to the game. The 4x moves per year mod, agent color coding, the new unit mods, and many others deserve effusive praise. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning every time I look in the Workshop, wondering what new toy I'll find under the tree today.
The Bad. I have none. Okay, okay, there are some, but I'm like a newlywed on his honeymoon right now. I don't care if she leaves her panties on the bathroom floor or that the 4x calendar year mod makes agents overpowered. For right now, I'm enjoying the game far too much to complain about a thing.