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Colosseum: Road to Freedom Reviews (PlayStation 2)

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Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.

User Reviews

A promising start and a disappointing end to a potential franchise. Big John WV (27240) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

Our Users Say

Category Description User Score
Acting The quality of the actors' performances in the game (including voice acting). 3.7
AI How smart (or dumb) you perceive the game's artificial intelligence to be 3.8
Gameplay How well the game mechanics work (player controls, game action, interface, etc.) 3.2
Graphics The quality of the art, or the quality/speed of the drawing routines 4.2
Personal Slant How much you personally like the game, regardless of other attributes 3.5
Sound / Music The quality of the sound effects and/or music composition 3.2
Story / Presentation The main creative ideas in the game and how well they're executed
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Overall User Score (6 votes) 3.5

Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
games xtreme (Sep 15, 2005)
Ok, so the game has its down points, but it does have a very addictive story line although it can seem repetitive after some time of playing but it does contain enough random elements to prevent this from becoming a big problem. It should keep you occupied for quite some time, my record is currently playing for 8 hours solid. If you like your rpg’s then give the game a shot, it will appeal to certain audiences more than others. Surely it has its bad points, but no game is perfect.
If your listening, Koei, keep this franchise going. There is certainly room for improvement, but I will already choose Colosseum over a Dynasty Warriors title any day of the week.
MAN!AC (Oct, 2005)
Nach Action-Maßstäben veraltetes Gemetzel mit interessantem Simulations-Einschlag.
To sum up, you've got a case here of several awesome features balanced against some utterly frustrating ideas. I'd love to see the combat system tweaked and placed in a more story-driven escapade. In the meantime, even the addictive need to power up my beastly gladiator isn't enough to let me offer more than a lukewarm recommendation.
GameSpy (Jul 20, 2005)
Great Caesar's ghost! It's a Koei hack 'n slash game that is in no way related to the Dynasty Warriors series! Instead, Colosseum: Road to Freedom attempts to toss a few new concepts into the action and fighting genres. The resulting game isn't the most highly tuned title out there, but it is a welcome deviation from the norm.
Netjak (Oct 07, 2005)
Colosseum is definitely a more realistic gladiator experience than that found in Shadow of Rome, but it comes off as being rather stale. Perhaps an online mode or more intelligent enemies could make Colosseum a more compelling experience. Look for the series to improve should Koei decide to continue the franchise, but for now I’d advise you to hang onto your money, especially with so many high profile titles coming out this holiday season.
GameZone (Jul 12, 2005)
Unfortunately, a risk is just that – and when the new idea is bogged down in clichés, the chance that the game will be well received dwindles. KOEI is well known for its series of titles that delve into the rich history of the Far East and allows players to take part in frenetic battles on a grand scale. It was surprising when the company moved to the roots of Western civilization, and gave players the opportunity to participate in more personal battles, which still qualify as a spectacle.
60 (Sep 12, 2005)
Voici un soft intéressant, du moins lors des premières heures de jeu. La suite est moins excitante vu que l'absence de scénario est synonyme d'une routine un peu rébarbative qui se résume à une vie millimétrée faite d'entraînements et d'affrontements. Les points positifs (les mini-jeux, l'évolution du personnage, le système de combat) trouvent malheureusement un contrepoids avec les points négatifs (IA défaillante, peu de styles de combats, grande redondance de l'action), ce qui fait que le plaisir de jeu décroît à mesure qu'on avance. Ceci dit, son petit prix de vente devrait être profitable à ce jeu qui ne recherche nullement l'esbroufe visuelle mais plutôt une façon de concilier vie de tous les jours et combats pour sa liberté. Un pari à demi-réussi qui aurait mérité un temps de réflexion un peu plus important pour éviter un rythme lancinant ainsi que plusieurs problèmes d'IA et des bugs divers.
Overall… I had a feeling this might be a hidden gem. The fights and RPG elements are quite good, but it’s a game that the more I play the more disappointed I get. Definitely a game that falls into the category of ‘could have been better’; hopefully there will be a sequel that will improve things.
If Koei can balance the difficulty, streamline the learning curve to make it more accessible and iron out little kinks here and there, Colosseum II could be a dynamite offering. As it is now the steep learning curve will reward less talented gamers with incessant losses; but those who persevere will eventually discover an entertaining product born from your own blood, sweat and lots of tears.
Deeko (2005)
Come on KOEI you are capable of so much more. Although the game did get a tiny bit better near the end when I had my gladiator almost maxed out, I would rather take the manual and wipe my ass with my left hand, than pick up this game again.
GameSpot (Jul 28, 2005)
The high drama and theatrical violence of gladiatorial combat seems like the perfect setting for a video game. It worked for Capcom and the recent Shadow of Rome, and now Koei is stepping into the arena with Colosseum: Road to Freedom. Developed by Ertain, Colosseum is an action role-playing game that lets you lead the life of a slave who is forced to become a gladiator in order to slice, skewer, and bludgeon his way to freedom. Unfortunately, being a slave in ancient Rome isn't as fun as you might think, at least not in this game. Colosseum has a few fun moments, but they're mired in dull hack-and-slash gameplay that isn't compelling or rewarding enough to make the game worth playing.
GamePro (US) (Jul 15, 2005)
Koei loves taking sections of history and turning them into video games. Its latest title, Colosseum: Road to Freedom, makes gladiatorial combat into a challenging video-game premise.
IGN (Jun 19, 2005)
Way back when, all roads used to lead to Rome and once there the best entertainment in town was at the Colosseum where the gladiators would engage in mortal combat for the entertainment of the masses. Fast forward a ways and the idea of men hacking at each other is still entertaining, if not completely legal. So with the magic of the PlayStation 2 system we are seeing the arrival of a new simulation, Colosseum: Road to Freedom. And while the game delivers on providing a feel for what the daily life of a gladiator was like it doesn't quite hit the mark in the combat part of the game.
Diehard GameFan (Aug 04, 2005)
A game that suffered from the poor choice of control scheme. If you are dying for something to play, this isn’t really a bad choice so long as you go into it knowing there is a steep learning curve. It’s sad that Koei either didn’t have the budget or the skill to truly make this a game to step out of the Shadow of Rome, because there is potential here.
DarkZero (2005)
Overall, the title has its flaws that cannot be overlooked. The ideas that are presented are well thought out, but poorly executed, and as a result the whole title feels unfinished and incoherent. As I said in the opening paragraph, the title can feel like work for your freedom, rather than fight for your freedom, and that is its downfall unfortunately.
Yahoo! Games (Jul 24, 2005)
What's this? KOEI releasing a game that gives a pass to ancient Chinese and Japanese warfare? Someone must have snuck off with the company's copy of Romance of the Three Kingdoms and left a Gladiator DVD in its place. Colosseum follows the same "combat-as-character building" paradigm KOEI loves so well, but as the name implies, the action is transposed to gladiatorial arenas in ancient Rome. A change of scenery isn't enough, however, as the game is characterized largely by sloppy control and repetitive action.
Worth Playing (Jul 25, 2005)
Colosseum is a great and startlingly innovative idea for a game, and it should've been a lot of fun. The fact that it's not is sort of heartbreaking; it's not like there's a glut of kick-butt historical games about ancient Rome out there, or games that try to blend the strategic simulation Koei excels at with bouts of intense action. Unfortunately, Colosseum's attempt to hybridize action and strategy just resulted in something that shares all the worst traits of both genres. The strategic elements are repetitive, the combat engine slow and clunky, and the entire experience loaded with arbitrary obstacles and pointless micromanagement. It's not impossible to enjoy Colosseum, but it is improbable.
1UP (Jul 19, 2005)
Ancient Rome doesn't receive enough love from game creators, but if Koei's new Colosseum: Road to Freedom is any indication, much of the problem rests with developers failing to create decent games based on the era. Capcom's Shadow of Rome was full of kick-ass action sequences squished between yawn-inducing stealth segments, while Colosseum doesn't bother with mixing genres but drops the ball in the action department.
Jolt (UK) (Sep 13, 2005)
The idea of a no frills RPG is an odd one. If you’re going to spend hours upon hours killing and levelling up, you at the very least want to be entertained all the way through, as an incentive to actually carry on and earn rewards. Ertain’s Colosseum: Road to Freedom is built upon a couple of ideas, and then just leaves you to do everything for yourself. There’s no storyline, no plot twists and no quests. You’re a slave in the Gladiatorial system of Ancient Rome, and must earn your freedom in the arena by earning money. That’s it.
40 (UK) (Sep 26, 2005)
While Colosseum is a possessor of an array of faults to have a nice little natter about for the remains of the review, it’s the passing, strange ones which stick. Put aside the camera controls, or the character responsiveness or the general repetitiveness; why do the designers think it’ll be a good idea to walk through a good half-dozen completely empty screens on the way to fight in the colosseum?
Game Revolution (Aug 19, 2005)
Considering the built-in gaming appeal of gladiatorial combat, there have been surprisingly few gladiator games over the years, and surprisingly fewer good ones. Perhaps the best in recent memory, LucasArts, Gladius, was actually a turn-based strategy game set against a gladiator backdrop rather than a full-fledged brawler. Want to be like Russell Crowe? Then hire a crappy backing band and beat up a doorman, because all the gladiator games in the current-gen empire are best served... to big cats.