Review by VixenChik

"Let the games begin!"

When I picked this game up, it was solely out of a personal interest in all things ancient-Roman. What I found was an incredibly deep, robust game that I fell in love with within the first 30 minutes of play. Seriously. I was hooked within 30 minutes. That says a lot. What says more is that I played 30 hours WITHIN 72 HOURS. It's addictive. Big time.

Graphics: 8/10. Pretty much stunning, and very impressive (though it looks even better on Xbox than it does on the Cube). It's very cool to customize your character's look and clothing and have it appear as such in the cutscenes. My only gripe is that sometimes the characters' hair can look a little boxy. Take a hint from FF, LucasArts. Hair can look good.

Sound: 10/10. The voice acting is fun, and it's done well. You come to love some of the in-battle comments. The music is sensational. Loved it.

Training modes/ease of learning: 10/10. You can play this game as soon as you complete the relatively short training exercises. Even better, you'll learn to create your own strategies in battle. It's not as simple as this-class-beats-this-class-and-this-tactic-will-solve-this-problem. There a many strategies that will work in many different situations, which gives you the opportunity to explore, experiment, and kick some serious booty.

Gameplay: 10/10. An ingenious and innovative battle system. If you've played a turn-based fighting game before, you'll pick it up straight away. If not, this is an excellent introduction. The movement-turn-based thing works perfectly here. This game was well-planned and my guess is that you'll feel comfortable with it immediately. You've got well over 80 hours of fun ahead of you. And this game sells for about 20 bucks. Can you beat that?

Difficulty: At some point in this game, you will be sitting high and mighty, thinking that you're slick and that no one can beat you. And then you will enter into some random league battle and get your ass handed to you. Once. Twice. Three times. Challenging? Yes. But not too challenging all the time. The difficulty level is well-managed in this game. Even at late stages of the game, you will find some levels easy. But not all of them, no sir. Your. Ass. Will. Be. Handed. To. You. You will have to rethink your strategies. And you will have fun doing it, once you stop swearing.

Replay: 10/10. I know for a fact that I will replay this game. With two complete character stories, and easily 100 hours of gameplay per story, and a completely addictive battle system....well...yeah. You'll play it again.

Rent or buy: Buy. Buy. Buy. You won't beat it in five days unless you have no job/school/sleep.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/13/04

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