Imperator: Rome, the review

Emperor: Rome, of which you are reading review, is one of them strategic that initially crush you. Looking at it you recognize the 4X structure, but at the same time you realize that its forest of menus hides much more than you could dream of. Paradox Interactive decided to continue on the path that made it great and crafted an uncompromising title that honors classics such as Crusader Kings 2 or Europa Universalis. In reality we are faced with a game that tries to take the good things done by its predecessors by mixing everything in the most effective way possible.

Imperator: Rome, the review

Let's clarify one point immediately: describing every single function of Imperator: Rome is practically impossible. The interface is made up of so many menus, themselves filled with so many buttons, that it can leave you disoriented. It was the same with the other Paradox strategists, but here, too, fans will need some time to acclimate to all the new features. There is actually a tutorial which, in an intelligent way, does not waste time explaining the individual buttons, but sets goals to be achieved and explains how to do it. Unfortunately it is not very complete and a lot of important information is lost along the way, which must be deduced by playing. After all, the problem of similar titles, at least for the average player, is not so much understanding that from the religion menu it is possible to make sacrifices to the gods, as understanding how the different sectors influence each other and how each of our actions ends up producing effects on the internal governance and relations with neighboring nations.

Unfortunately it would have been practically impossible to create a tutorial that included every possible game situation, so you have to be content and start Imperator: Rome in a certain sense, aware that before starting to play with full awareness of what happens on the screen, you need to dedicate more than a few hours to it. .

304 AC

The matches of Emperor: Rome begin in 304 BC. Unlike other strategic ones, it does not allow you to select only some of the factions on the map, with the others to act as a contour, but one among all the populations of the time included in a geographical area that extends from Europe to India . Obviously there are some recommended countries because they are more structured, such as Rome or Egypt, but if you want you can select the Tsang region in Tibet and start from there. Part of the difficulty level of a game is determined precisely by the chosen nation: Rome, for example, immediately has excellent resources, a fairly large territory and an advanced form of government, while Boras, to mention another nation, has less population, a more limited army and a more primitive political organization, as well as fewer technologies available.

Imperator: Rome, the review

La map gameplay is completely 3D and much more dynamic than that seen in other Paradox titles, including Europa Universalis IV. Depending on the zoom level and the type of display selected, it provides valuable information on our and other countries by eye. The player's goal is simple: to expand. How to do it is up to us and here, so to speak, the fun begins. The games of Imperator: Rome vary enormously depending on the selected nation. For example, a monarchy offers very different internal problems than a republic. Let's take the descent to war: a monarchy offers a much more direct approach, since it is the ruler who decides. At the limit, too much aggression can cause discontent in the population, but for example, there is no need for a vote in the Senate to decide whether or not to attack someone. A republic, on the other hand, requires a much more lateral approach. For example, before declaring war on someone it is always better to create reasons for discontent in an artificial way so as to have a strong casus belli to use to obtain the positive vote of the Senate. The type of government also greatly changes the internal and external power relations, such as those with the families of potentates who form the ruling class of our nation.

Imperator: Rome, the review

All these aspects, to which many not mentioned are added such as the possibility of researching new technologies, that of managing the creed of the population, and the immense diplomatic side (to which we will dedicate a few more words in a subsequent paragraph) make every game of Imperator : Rome a challenge in itself, which can go on even for tens of hours and which always offers new stimuli to the player.


After the initial break-in, Emperor: Rome is able to give great satisfaction. In particular the military side it has been taken care of very much and offers a number of new options for the genre. Armies can be made up of different units, be they foot or horse infantry, chariots, elephants, camels, and so on, and can take on formations that give them advantages and disadvantages over the battlefield. This translates into the possibility of seeing large armies beaten or decimated by teams that are numerically much smaller. Also, depending on the troops, the CPU will tend to use different tactics. For this reason, before fighting, especially against the strongest nations, it becomes very important to know the enemy by sending scouts on reconnaissance.

Imperator: Rome, the review

The type of region in which you are going to fight and the conformation of the map itself should also be taken into consideration. For example, Lazio does not present negative modifiers in terms of climate compared to the territories of Northern Europe, while the high mountain areas of mountain ranges such as the Alps create real funnels, such as the terrible one of Ambisontia, which can lead to massacres on large scale. However the military side is much more than how it can be expressed in words, also because it is systemically intertwined with the rest of the game. Apart from the armies, for example, it is necessary to consider the game of alliances between populations, which can lead to significant problems in strategic terms. For example, in a game at the helm of Rome we proved too aggressive with the neighboring populations expanding quickly, but without paying too much attention to diplomacy. So the other tribes joined forces against us and started to create problems for us, particularly on the borders, slowing down our race towards the empire. The battles have started to get tougher, with more casualties in our ranks. Surprise attacks have multiplied, forcing us to spend more resources to upgrade our defenses.

Imperator: Rome, the review

Obviously the population was not happy with it and productivity dropped quite a bit. The senate itself, initially all in our favor, has begun to request more efforts to be persuaded to vote our maneuvers, to the point of having received votes against. Our slowdown went to the advantage of the opponents who strengthened and managed to take back some border territories, where our defenses were less aggressive.

To bargain

We therefore decided to stop the expansion for a few years (in terms of game time), focusing on internal issues and trying to reconnect with some of the rival nations. By spending resources on gifts, espionage, religious activities and research we have therefore been able to regain strength. In the meantime, we have limited ourselves to defending the borders and patrolling the seas with triremes, in order to avoid sudden ambushes, manipulating possible rivals with manifestations of benevolence that are often even excessive. In all this, as you will have understood, diplomacy has played a fundamental role. From this point of view Emperor: Rome it's the best game on the market, little to say.

Imperator: Rome, the review

What is not achieved on the battlefield can be achieved by convincing, bribing, allying with the right nations or spending to support rebel forces that want to overthrow the governments in office. The army can also be used in meaning diplomatic, for example by attacking a rival nation of another with which we are interested in establishing relationships, or by creating alliances between nations that have a common enemy. At the beginning you are almost lost in front of the number of possibilities offered, but when you understand the differences and the potential, it is impossible not to get involved. We really struggle to remember such a complete strategy from a diplomatic point of view in which the choices made by the player have logical and, if we want, historically consistent consequences, without seeming to be entrusted to arbitrary factors that immediately reveal the artificial nature of the system itself. It should also be noted that theartificial intelligence manages to manage diplomacy sensibly even where the player has no role.


Emperor: Rome it is much more than what we have described. As you should have understood, the numerous systems from which it is composed work together to create a coherent gameplay that, once the interface is internalized, tells in a very effective way the evolution of the guided nation and the neighboring territories. To support the whole there is also a series of Events and choices related to the micro-management of the population that make the games even more interesting.

Imperator: Rome, the review

For example, how to deal with the slavery? Slaves improve our productivity, make landowning families happy, but at the same time lower the level of happiness of the nation and can cause problems of public order. Focusing on slavery also increases expansionist hunger, because to keep the slave population high, new territories must always be conquered. And the religion? Fostering the beliefs of the people is important to keep them good, but at the same time some cults can conflict with certain choices made. In short, you will surely have understood that we are faced with a title of rare complexity, not suitable for everyone, but precisely for this reason capable of offering more than most competitors, especially over the long distance. The only ones defects of Imperator: Rome are the lack of a few more information screens, with access to some data that is more complicated than necessary, and the management of tribal nations, worse than all other types of government because it is less thorough and lacking in uniqueness.

Imperator: Rome, the review

Probably both problems will be fixed with updates and expansions, which the developers will not miss (just think of the post launch support of their other titles like Stellaris to be sure). One final note: unlike many of Paradox's other strategists, Imperator: Rome showed no major stability issues. In particular, it never got stuck. To many it will seem strange to see this underlined, but those who know some of the previous Paradox titles know that it is not a small achievement.


Digital Delivery Steam, GoG Price 39,99 €


Readers (23)


Your vote

Imperator: Rome is simply one of the best strategists on the market, one of the few capable of convincingly balancing military expansion, diplomacy and internal management, without creating major inconsistencies in logic and gameplay. Honestly, we do not feel like penalizing it for its undoubted complexity, given that the latter is justified by the goal pursued by Paradox to create the best possible strategy for an audience of true fans. Even the two defects illustrated in the article, namely the deficiencies in the management of the tribes and the lack of some clearer information screen, do not undermine the quality of a game that we can only recommend to anyone looking for a true strategy.


  • Excellent balance of army, diplomacy and population needs
  • Each game offers different ideas
  • Hundreds of hours of gameplay
  • The 3D map is excellent
  • Artificial intelligence is smart
  • Tribal nations lack more pronounced unique elements
  • A few more information screens wouldn't hurt
  • Evaluate your level of proficiency with the genre before buying it (this is more advice than a flaw)
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