Review by Dom Colosi
"Great game, it's only fault is lack of Multiplayer."
Shadow of Rome is a great, fun game to play. It's really two games in one, a sneaky, thief-type game, and a blood-filled Gladiator game.
The game looks really phenomenal in battle scenes. The cities that you wander through look really great, too. It feels like you're in Rome, to tell the truth. There are really only three problems that I can see: The characters look bad around the edges, especially fingers. Even though they're all lighted properly, sometimes you catch a glimpse of some really square hands, something I personally can't stand. That only happens in cutscenes, though -- you'll never notice any other time. The only other problem is that characters don't seem to take real-time damage. You can cut off limbs and heads, and cause a lot of bleeding, but your character never gets a cut on his body, nor does anyone bruise or anything like that. I just feel like every slash of a sword should result in a cut or something. The biggest of the three problems is that the voices tend not to line up with the mouths' movements. Oh, well, it's close at least.
The sounds really aren't anything too spectacular, but they're certainly not bad, either. The screaming of people as you cut them up is priceless, and all the voice acting is very well done, and sounds pretty believable. I would have preferred it to all be in Latin with English subs, but I didn't take off points for that, as it is just as good in English. The music is nice. Nothing that attracts attention, which is good. It makes it feel like you're in Rome without getting in the way.
Gameplay (Octavianus): 9/10
Playing as a sneaky Octavianus is pretty fun. A lot of people tend to find this frustrating, it seems, but I really enjoy having to use my brain to figure out what needs to be done. Getting attacked once results in a loss, but usually after dying you can from the very same place, so there is very little redoing of areas, just redoing of what you failed. My favorite part is sneaking up on people and smashing them over the head with a pot or choking them out with a rope. It's really fun. I only knocked off one point because of how frustrating it is.
Gameplay: (Agrippa): 10/10
This is the best part, hands down. It's a lot of fun to play as Agrippa in the Arenas, period. There are a large amount of weapons to find, and lots of fun ways to attack. The ability to chop off an arm/a head and beat someone up with it is fun, too. The crowd goes nuts when you're particularly violent, and sometimes rewards you with big weapons for it. I can seriously play for hours on end without stopping.
This is the only thing that disappoints me. There is no multiplayer Gladiator mode. How fun could it have been to chop off your buddy's arm then beat him with it? There's also a bit of a lack of secret weapons and such. You can unlock weird outfits as Octavianus, and you can decorate his room, which is nice, but that's about the extent of it. I would have liked a mode where you can play as other characters, especially in a multiplayer mode. Unlocking specific rewards is great fun, though, and playing through as you try to get gold trophies is very fun. The 7 isn't a bad rating at all - it's average.
It's great. It is far from perfect, of course, but if you have hours to play by yourself there's not much better than it. You can take turns with a friend or two, but that only really leaves me wishing for a multiplayer.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/19/05
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