I played this game an unhealthy number of hours before so I had to pick up an original copy just to write this review.
One of the best strategy games and my favourite in the series. An absolute classic!
This game is a mix between turn based strategy (on the world map) and real-time strategy (on the battle map)
8/10 Macro mechanics - you can manage your cities, conquer, develop and train your armies
10/10 Micro mechanics - the feelings of managing thousands of units on the battlefields adds both realism and grandeur to battles. Tactical decisions are what wins fights. Positioning and good decisions that are not necesarily split decisions make the clashes immensly fun. DON'T YOU DARE use auto-resolve. You'll miss out on a lot.
7/10 Graphics, because it's dated. Newer versions of the Total War series like Medieval 2, Shogun and the new Rome coming out have better graphics if that's what you're looking at, altough you shouldn't pay attention to the graphics.
Learning curve isn't steep at all. Modding scene has some goodies in store afaik. Never tried multiplayer but it has to be tons of fun.
It's an AMAZING game. It's like a middle ground between games like Civilization and Age of Empires and everyone should at least try it.