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Shadow of Rome (Mr_Bag Review)

Et tu Bute. Yes, thats Latin, and those were supposedly the final words of Julius Caesar before he died. And this review has everything to do with this history lesson in terms that Caesar died in the game. Coincidence? I think not. Shadow of Rome has a lot to offer, yet it seems so miniscule. Lets review it, shall we?

Ill just start of by saying this: The graphics in gameplay are beautiful, but the cinematics in the game are satisfactory. When you take the chance to amputate a limb from an enemy, blood splatters all over the arena. Well, its beautiful and kind of makes me wish I could take a vacation to Yellowstone Park. The detail on the characters is high. If you can't tell just from the original perspective that youre given, zoom into First-Person with the R2 Button. The graphics style on the characters reminds me of X-Men Legends a little bit, with the small amount of cel-shading. Now, the low points in this department would have to be the cinematics. Poorly rendered objects make you want to skip the scenes, but you cant, because the game forces you to watch most of them! Whether you're in a chariot race at the Circus Maximus or the Gladiatorial Games at the Roman Coliseum, the execution of the crowd is horrible. They are rendered in a 2-D format, which is kind of sad, considering that the gladiator battles revolve around use of the crowd.

Graphics: 7.8/10

Ah yes, one of the most important aspects of gaming. The gameplay is just awesome. Well, not all of it. When in the arena or a chariot race, you are compelled to competition as youre trying to whoop a little ass, seeing that the game is pretty damn hard, even on the Normal difficulty setting. Weapons break after use, but you can get more by performing awesome combos or glorified attacks that release a river of blood from your opponents body and then pressing Square + X simultaneously to show that you killed the sappy Roman bastard for the crowd alone, who in return throws out items such as: food, weapons, shields, roses (Yes, roses) and even some armor. Armor in the game is vital, because during a few matches, youll find yourself losing and restarting the match over. So, my advice to you is to kill your opponent fast, and then pick up their armor and equip it. Now, on to the stealth missions. Well, the stealth missions suck, horribly. I find them a real nuisance, because you find yourself doing one after every two to three arena matches. Not only are they extremely tough, they are boring, because you'll find yourself waiting three minutes for a guard to return to his post. In the stealth missions, you dont have a chance to fight back. Once you get hit, you die simple as that. The only way past guards are the use of: Pots/Jars/Vases to hit them on the head with, banana peels and oil to make them slip on and fall unconscious, and the occasional robbing of the comatose foes for their outfits. Yes, you can dress up as a woman. Its funny, because you play a guy, get it? No, you dont, and you probably hate my lame joke. Well, okay then.

Gameplay: 8.2/10
The music in the game is reminiscent of the Pax Romana era, which some of us history buffs, all two of you, happen to know is the Time of Peace in which Rome wasnt at war with any neighboring nations. Basically, the music fits the game, which isnt all too common in most games, because they have the new rock and rap collections. As for the voice acting, it sucks. Thats the best way to put it. From the best of my knowledge, the voice actors have no talent, whatsoever and were most likely college frat boys who needed the extra cash. This falls together with the cinematics, since thats where most of the voice acting is present. The voices of the characters are either too late, or dont even align with the actions that are happening in the cut scenes. The sound effects in the game are wonderful. When you hear that cling of two steel weapons clashing, it makes you want to watch Ridley Scotts four-star movie, Gladiator. The spurting of the blood sounds pretty cool too. Kind of like when you hear somebody taking a piss in the bathroom. Voice acting aside, the sound is great. But when its involved, it sucks.

Sound: 8/10

The premise of this game is mostly historical, but fictionalized for our enjoyment. It all starts when Julius Caesar is murdered. The culprit is Vipsanius, who happens to be the father of the main character, Agrippa. Agrippa doesnt know about this, because hes a soldier in the Army of Roma, or Roman Army to be simple. Agrippas friend, Octavianus a.k.a. Caesar Augustus, the adopted nephew of Julius Caesar himself, finds out about the tragedy and that Agrippas father was imprisoned and slated to be executed in a public showing. Agrippa learns of this after a messenger is sent to inform him. He gets really angry and decides hes going to intervene with execution. By the time he reaches Rome, his mother was on death row as well. For what? Well, Romans were assholes back in the day, so thats why. He intervenes and is exiled outside of Rome. His mom is killed, and his fathers execution was postponed until a later date. In this time, Agrippa learns that the winner of the Gladiatorial Games has the honor of being the executioner at his fathers end. He enters the games and then Octavianus tries to find the true culprit before hand, just in case Agrippa doesnt make it.

Story: 9.3/10
Well, the game doesnt have any really noticeable bugs, besides the fact that the voice acting and the whole synching process with the movies is sad.

Finesse: 8.4/10
The features in the game are pretty cool. In the game, you play as Octavianus, and you can pimp out his room with items ranging from apples to a full size tiger. Yeah, just like Siegfried and Roy. I find that pretty cool, seeing as how owning a certain amount of antiquities can earn you some extra costumes and hair styles. Salvo. WTF is that? A Salvo, is a certain action, combo, or show display of fighting, with Agrippa, that earns you new armor. You have a salvo meter which is technically how much the crowd likes you. If you behead an enemy and cheer to the
crowd, you get weapons ranging from a stick, to a maul, which is a 6-foot pole with a heavy, spiked, ball at the end. You also have the ability to use body parts as weapons, which is somewhat of a new concept. After you cut off an arm, you can use it to go on a slapping spree and get major salvos out of it. At the start of the game, you can choose between either the Normal, or Hard difficulty settings, and Extreme mode is unlocked after you beat the game once. All of your earnings and items transfer over to a new file after you beat the game. You can unlock a menu of cheats after beating the game. The controls are easy to get
into, and so is the role of a gladiator.

Features: 9.8/10
Do you like blood and gore? Are you 17 years of age? Do you prefer swords over plasma rifles? If you answered yes to all of these, then get this game. I suggest buying, rather than renting it, because its pretty damn fun killing enemies.
-Dane Paskell (Mr_Bag)