is currently on its public beta version 0.7.2, so while it isn't completely finished there is plenty to be going along with. Like the Total Realism mod Europa Barbarorum
is aimed at the hard core history-loving strategist. Including twenty playable factions on an even larger map than the Total Realism mod, extending out as far as India, it's clear that once again this is not a campaign game for the faint of heart.
Unlike Total Realism, where the changes are mostly felt on the battlefield, the changes to Europa Barbarorum are most notable in the strategic game. For instance, each year is broken up into four turns - one for each season - with movement speeds of units reflecting this (so in summer you can move and fight at speed, but in winter units do well to seek shelter). One of the other more notable changes in Barbarorum is that units are much more expensive, so fielding a large army is a very difficult task, particularly in the early game.
Battles in Barbarorum last less time, since the troops have less morale. The early Roman army (right) look like a bunch of mincers
Combat in Barbarorum is very similar to how it is in the vanilla version of Rome Total War, and as such is much faster paced than the battles in Total Realism. Depending on how you like to play the game and at what sort of speed, this could be a deal breaker in terms of which mod you prefer, as the character of fights is completely different between the two mods.
Graphically Barbarorum shares the gritty, realistic look of Total Realism and once again this doesn't impair the performance. There are also many more units available in Barbarorum from much further afield, including Indian troops and even some from the nomadic tribes as far afield as China. Dominating the world in Europa Barbarorum isn't just a matter of conquest as it was in the original game, you're really going to have to walk a hell of a long way to even see the ends of the earth.
With Europa Barbarorum still very much a work in progress, as can be seen from the lack of descriptions to some units and factions, it is clear that there is still some way to go before it is as highly refined as Total Realism.
Considering that Rome Total War is a couple of years old and already has an add on pack (Barbarian Invasion) and a second (Alexander) available soon, as well as a mouth-watering sequel (Medieval 2: Total War
) due out this year, it is pleasantly surprising to see the community so active in modding the game. With new conversions such as Chivalry Total War
due for release as a public beta on the 20th of May, it's clear that there is still lots of mileage in the Rome Total War community.