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Rome: Total War - Barbarian Invasion review

More angry Goths than a Marilyn Manson mosh pit


  • Perfect blend of strategy & tactics
  • Glitchy gameplay is gone
  • Even bigger battles
  • now at night


  • Cities changed
  • but no new map
  • Few historical battles
  • Historical context is very thin

You conquered the world in the real-time strategy masterwork Rome: Total War, but can you hold onto it? The Barbarian Invasion expansion puts you in the hot seat as the leader of your faction during the apogee of Rome's power, as the Roman Empire begins to fade and barbarian hordes invade. You'll conquer land during the tumultuous rise of Christianity and decline of Paganism. If you side with the Romans, the odds are stacked against you; pressure from all sides makes it nearly impossible to keep your borders. Enormous roaming tribes from the east flood over the frontier and eventually threaten even Rome.

The combination of intricate turn-based strategy blended with an award-winning battlefield engine places the Total War series at the top of the genre. Fans of the franchise will immediately grasp the familiar real-time strategic gameplay and dig right into Barbarian Invasion. New factions and unit types give a completely different tactical outlook and fresh challenges; but nothing significantly changes the way that things operate on the battlefield.

More of an already good thing makes this a worthwhile sequel. The battlefield engine is still the centerpiece of the game, and remains a masterpiece of RTS gaming. You'll pitch epic battles that are bigger than ever, even nighttime battles are now possible; bloody spectacles that involve literally thousands of individual units. While your armies fight effectively against equally matched forces, winning against the giant hordes means carefully directing your troops to feint, flank and charge their way to victory.

More Info

DescriptionIntricate turn-based strategy blended with award-winning battlefield engine puts Total War at the top of the genre.
US censor ratingTeen
Release date27 September 2005 (US), 30 September 2005 (UK)