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Shadow of Rome (PlayStation 2)

76
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
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Written by  :  MAT (70378)
Written on  :  Jan 08, 2006
Rating  :  4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars

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Summary

Almost perfect

The Good

Yet another great title from Capcom, they're just unbeatable. When they do something it not only works the assembly well, but is great to the core. "Shadow of Rome" is a peculiar mixture of arcade action game on par with "Golden Axe" with a stealth approach and adventure leaning much towards "Beyond Good & Evil". Caesar was murdered (or is he?) and Agrippa's father ended up being a scapegoat. Agrippa and Octavianus, a centurion and late Caesar's nephew, are the only ones determined to uncover the truth. Agrippa residing on his brute strength while Octavianus using more cautious approach to find out more about the conspiracy and uncover the culprits.

Game is split into several chapters that let you play as Agrippa (who became a gladiator due to new plans to rescue his father, with a help of beautiful gladiator girl, Claudia) who spends most of his time in the arenas battling other gladiators and wild beasts, and Octavianus who's trying to search for clues in the senate, forum and other places in Rome. Visuals are quite as stunning and you can use first-person perspective to get better view at the distance and camera angles that may be locked. Fighting, although hard, is regarding once you realise it's all up to a good strategy and not just reckless bloodshed (thought that too is heavily included). To add a slight touch of adventure, you can pick up and put to use certain items, use various disguises, and communicate with NPCs which may or may not give you useful advices and tips on how to proceed. This clearly does not seem to be some heavy project like "Resident Evil 4", but a touch of Capcom is there, from quality to cutscenes (which at time may remind you of those from RE4).

The Bad

Final boss battle is kind of out of the loop. It's hard, yes, but to me many battles were hard, and all the time. The only difference is, the boss was no warrior or anyone who would possess skill to put you through such a trouble, not to mention having some sort of supernatural abilities which alone stray from this game being true to the time period. At times I felt like playing Capcom's Onimusha series.

The Bottom Line

This game is almost as hard as "TransFormers", but twice as rewarding. The fights all lean towards strategy rather then brute force, and both you and your enemies wear out shields and weapons so you'll constantly need a new one on the battlefield. Game puts you through a seriously addictive story which starts mediocre but soon boosts up with unexpected twists and turns that give it a whole new look. There is drama, there is love, there is comedy, and it's all nicely implemented to make this game one of the finest with the setting.