The Total War series has an element of elegance to it. Treating the ways of historical battle as finely and closely as it does is rare, and only some years after its first installment (Shogun) did the videogame industry begin to shoot similar titles.
After the legendary Medieval, not many people believed that, apart from a change of setting to a different historical moment, a considerable amount of different content would come up. Then Rome shouted: you're wrong.
This game brings pretty much every element of real-time strategy and tactics to the table: city development, troop development and upgrade (besides restoration of battered troops), a ranking system for experienced details that smell pleasantly of Total War spirit, and a turn-based diplomatic conflict and tension only rivaled by the Civilization series, in my opinion.
Rome does have its flaws, mainly related to in-battle bugs and primary AI, but its general brilliance is undeniable. Total War lovers meet RTS lovers in this game, as we witness the rise of Rome from the eyes of three powerful political strata of the Roman Empire (houses Brutii, Julii, and Scipii), besides several pagan tribes from central and eastern Europe - some of which you can control after the main campaign has been finished -, as well as northern Africa. A complete set of compelling diplomatic progress is also displayed in Rome (you can constantly set up family alliances, strengthening the power of military stations in cities you control through the maturing of new generals and governors), as well as completude of technological upgrades, and plurality of maps for different battle strategy tastes, from snowy forests of Northern Germany to Spanish plains to Eastern European rocky hills.
Rome: Total War puts you right into the heat of pre-medieval belli, the moments of Roman rise and fall, the pressure from the outside and from the inside. Intrigues, military management, civil complexities, and territorial tension.