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Shadow of Rome (Seventh_Force Review)

People like samurais, some like ninjas, some like knights. But me, I've always preferred the gladiator. A mix of entertainer and cold-blooded killer, they always intrigued me. So naturally I bought Shadow of Rome a few days after it's release. Money well spent!
The controls of this game combines that of stealth and no holds barred hack-and-slash fun. Because of this the controls take a wee bit of time to get the hang of. But hey, the controls are somewhat easy for a multi-genre game. The hack-and-slash gladiator combat is is nothing short of amazing. The variety of fighting moves, and weapons will bring out the sadistic beast in just about anyone. The stealth missions however though done well, can become challenging and quite tedious at points. The game rotates you with playing with Agrippa pleasing the crowd with salvos, salvos are certain parameters met during a match. (Blocking numerous attacks get you the salvo, Human Tank, bashing someone's head open with a mace gets you, Juicy Tomato, etc.) The salvos will increase you crowd meter and in turn will get you strong weapons and food (healing). Meanwhile when playing as Octavianus you cannot get attacked (instant death) and you must utilize you cunning to escape and bypass foes. However you may use weapons like pots and banana peels (You heard me!) to aid you. But the gladiator combat is main draw of the game offering the player different matches from team battles, escort missions, gauntlet matches, and my personal favorites, the chariot races. (Probably the most fun and exciting thing in any game I have ever played!)

The backgrounds are quite dull, but the character detail and the game flow smoothly, the visuals of the greusome amputations, blood splatters, and popping heads are and greusome and graphic. (So awesome)The cutscenes are quite excellent (Some of them are kick a**!)

One of the factors Shadow of Rome delivers is its story. You play most of the game as the muscle-clad centurion named Agrippa, and a smaller portion as the stick-figure sneak Octavianus. While Agrippa is on a campaign to conquer Germany, Caesar is assasinated, and all fingers point to Agrippa's father, Vipsanius. When the news is announced in Rome, Agrippa's long time friend, Octavianus refuses to believe the fact that Agrippa's father is the assassin. Afterwards the Senate decides to hold a gladiatorial contest to determine who gets to execute Vipsanius. Agrippa returns to Rome after the campaign and Octavianus revaels to him the terrible news. Then Agrippa the centurion, now becomes a gladiator to save his father, while Octavianus searches for any information to find the real killer. Now the story truly unfolds. As you progress you will meet an entire cast of characters (good and bad) as the story hits you various plot twists along the way. BTW, the ending leaves you open for a sequel! (YAY!)

Other Factors:
The voice acting is superb and the music is good (really gets you into a gladiator mood!) The replay value is excellent, you might find yourself playing to get better scores on your previous battles.

This game is probably one of the best games so far this year. The fusion of two types of genres worked well in Shadow of Rome's favor. Words cannot describe the emotions I have for this game. However, I think Richard Schickel of Time Magazine comments of the movie, The Last Samurai best describes Shadow of Rome. "A movie that demands our surrender--to its energy, to its bold-stroke movie making... and above all, to its romantic vision of a lost world. "Just replace "movie" with "game."

9.25 out of 10.0 This game isn't just good, it's amazing.
-Matthew Raposas (Seventh_Force)