Today we’re looking at two critically acclaimed titles that are back for another run: Sega’s Judgment and Total War: Rome both return for another round and we were keen to check them out.
It hasn’t been that long since Judgment came out on the PS4 in the summer of 2019, but until now it wasn’t available for any other systems – including the next gen ones that were released since then. This newly released version isn’t just an HD Remaster of the original game, it also brings it to new platforms with the Xbox Series S/X and Stadia.
As we pointed out in our original review, Judgment is a well-executed spinoff for the Yakuza franchise that all fans of the main series will want to play despite the differences in approach to gameplay. Judgment for next gen system is essentially the very same game, although it does contain all of the available DLC content as well. This won’t be a reason to rush out and buy the game if you’ve already played it though, since there’s no additional story content and the DLC is limited to cosmetic items and consumables.
The main draw for this new version isn’t in the game’s mechanics or content, but in its technical merits. Both the city of Kamurocho and the people that inhabit it benefit from the extra horsepower with enhanced detail, better lighting and more realistic character and building models – for a game that aims to be both cinematic and visually realistic the improvements are noticeable and worthwhile at the same time.
Of course these visual boosts come on top of the usual enhancements that we get with next gen versions: an improved framerate (a stable 60 fps instead of the original’s 30 fps) and drastically reduced load times. There’s DualSense support, but it lacks some of the subtlety that we’ve seen in other PS4 titles.
The only thing that’s holding us back from an unconditional recommendation here is the fact that a free upgrade to the PS5 version isn’t included for owners of the PS4. For them, the upgrades will seem too small to justify the price tag. For those on Xbox or Stadia, or those who missed it on PS4, this is a title you won’t want to miss.
Total War: Rome Remastered
Going back much further in time is Total War: Rome, which prior to its new remastered version was launched way back in 2004. It’s a remaster of one of Creative Assembly’s most acclaimed titles, but also to the lasting appeal of the Total War franchise as a whole – where Three Kingdoms is still going strong with new content and Warhammer III looms on the horizon.
Therein also lies the “problem” for Total War: Rome Remastered. How well you’re going enjoy it depends largely on what you compare it to. Look at it side by side with its original, and you’ll see a lot of polish when compared to Creative Assembly’s first outing that was truly 3D, built for 2004 hardware – which is about 10 generations of GeForce tech ago. Look at it when compared to some of the more recent entries in the series, and you’ll miss some of the nuances in the gameplay and you’ll consider the visuals somewhat dated at best.
At the end of the day, however, Total War: Home holds up – just like the first Civilization from 30 years ago is still brilliant despite all the advancements we’ve seen in visuals and gameplay since then. And where the original UI would have fallen short, the remaster adds a few tweaks that make things easier to manage. If you’ve played any of the recent games then you can tell that UI is a topic that’s been much improved since the days of Total War: Rome, and even though this remaster isn’t quite as refined it’s certainly a step up from the original.
Feral Interactive, who took care of the remastering duties here, also added a few features that were never in the original game. This includes a better view of the battlefield thanks to improved camera controls and UI enhancements like a new tactical map, as well as control over additional factions.
The new 4K and UHD resolution support can’t hide the fact that – even with the improved textures – this is an older game, and it mostly shows in the character models. The terrain looks rather nice, as do the lighting effects, and although it may not look like a 202x release they’ve made a substantial leap forward from the original game.
Will you enjoy it? That largely depends on where you’re coming from. If you played the original all those years ago then nostalgia will go a long way towards exploring the early days of the series once more, but if you came on board some time after Rome II was released then this might feel too dated for your liking.