Rome: Total War Gold Edition
Even after almost a year and a half has past, Rome: Total War still remains one of the best strategy games I've played. The combination of both the RTS and turn based aspects of the game, where either gameplay style could stand on its own is still remarkable. If you're buying the Gold Edition, I'm assuming you haven't paid Rome: Total War yet and you're in for a treat. The difference with the Gold Edition however is the inclusion of the Barbarian Invasion expansion pack and of course the latest patches. This review however will focus on the expansion pack as the same gameplay elements are almost identical to Rome: Total War (link above).
Although there may only be tweaks to the gameplay in Barbarian Invasion, the entire dynamic of the empire has changed. Set during the downfall of the Roman Empire, Rome is now fighting for its existence as a number of 'barbarian tribes'? are starting to pick at the once great and stable empire. As you might expect, there are ten new playable factions with unique units reflecting the historical strength of these tribes (Huns are expect horseman). In many cases completely new strategies have to be created as ones that were effective previously are almost useless.
Other new additions include night battles. Not only is watching flaming arrows shoot through the air at night add a different dimension to the battles, but it also fits with at least my vision of barbarians waiting till it gets dark then ransacking cites. Speaking of sacking cites, that can also be done now if you choose in addition to religion playing a strong role now and also the fact the some factions can survive without a settlement in place, allowing them to pop up where you least expect them to.
Honestly, at $40 you can't go wrong here. This is one game that will spend a long time on your hard drive. Don't let its age scare you. Even newer games like Empire at War haven't been able to capture the balance and gameplay quality Rome: Total War has.