Review by Def Freak7
"Capcom goes "Ides of March" on the genre."
Hack-and-slash games lately are a dime a dozen. It's hard lately to distinguish as a great hack-and-slasher anymore. Shinobi and Nanobreaker failed miserably. Thankfully, Shadow of Rome is a great game. It provides a unique experience and fun gameplay all at once.
The characters and animations in the game are very well done. There is a lot of blood, but you can turn that off. The cut-scenes are actually kind of choppy. They're still good, but they definitely could be more polished. The environments are pretty good, but there isn't much variety. It's either the arena, or the hallways that look a lot like each other. They're still done very well, but Capcom could have done a way better job here.
The music is very orchestral and traditional of what you'd expect in Rome. It sounds very nice and it works well with this game. The sound effects aren't very different (especially the sword slashing) but they do sound nice. The voice-overs are okay at best. Some are annoying (Octavianus) and some are actually pretty good (Agrippa). Even though Agrippa's lines in the script are a rip-off of Gladiator. Still okay, but this area could also have been more polished.
Basically, this story is set around the death of Julius Ceasar. After he's assassinated (Et tu Brute?), one of the main characters, Octavianus, goes through his father being accused of lining it all up. So, he tries to sneak around and solve the conspiracy that's going on in the government. At the same time, a warrior general named Agrippa becomes a gladiator (RUSSEL CROWE RIP OFF ALERT!!!!). He also tries to figure out what's going on in the government. All in all, most of the story feels too much like a rip-off of the movie Gladiator, which was great by the way.
This game is incredibly fun. Most of the levels are Agrippa levels, where it's pure hack-and-slash at its finest. You can also mash one button and kill many people. Yet you can also set up many of your attacks using items scattered around the arena. You can even fight on chariots! Now that's new. Ben-Hur, eat your heart out! All of the stuff in Agrippa's levels are very fun to go through, whether he's the soldier or the gladiator, always a pleasure. Then you hit Octavianus' levels. Here's where the concept kind of falls on its face. Octavianus can only attack from behind, so his levels are mainly stealth. While these levels are fun to play, it's hard to compete with all the other stealth games out there (MGS3, Chaos Theory). There is one element that's cool that neither of them have. You can actually switch clothes with a guy you knock out. This adds more to the engaging stealth gameplay and makes it more unique, even though it's kind of a tired genre. All of the levels combined make a very fun experience that proves why Capcom is one of the most successful game companies around.
This game is a very solid experience from Capcom. If you own a PS2, you should check this game out, even if it's just a rental.
OVERALL SCORE: 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/01/05
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