Guest review by: SolarKrisis
Koei, the people who brought us the fantastic Dynasty Warrior series have attempted to outdo themselves yet again. You start the game by answering a few questions about subjects such as your hometown, your previous job, the path you wish to choose and finally the god you worship.
You then start off in a tiny side arena, possibly within some small village of sorts, you have a few battles here and learn a few basic moves, after approximately three battles, your future owner Magerius comes to buy you for a whopping £1 Million silver. Upon being brought by Magerius he tells you that should you repay your debt, you will be freed.
Twists and turns lie in your path, complete with a story that ropes you in...
Gameplay and Features
Ok, so now you know the story, but how well does Koei put it across? Unfortunately, one of the disappointing factors from the start of the game would be that you have no control what-so-ever over the main appearance of your character, the four questions at the beginning determine this.
Again as you go up ranks, your appearance changes, but again, no control over the main look as I have seen yet, not even a haircut, and another annoying fact is that when you loose armour off your legs or arms, you cannot re-equip it during the battle and 9 times out of 10 the skinny guy that removes the bodies from the arena steals it while you're fighting.
Ok, ok, bad points aside what're the good factors of this game? Well it's entirely free roaming (within its boundaries) and you have full control over your actions, you want to disobey guards, disobey them, kill them, rumours of escape are possible but I never managed it, eventually you will get mobbed by guards only to be threw into an arena to prove yourself worthy of redemption. I found this quite funny personally.
One small redemption for the lack of control over the lack of character looks is that when you do equip armour, it does appear on your character, and looks very impressive, same goes for weapons, and it's nice to see that the more you equip, the slower and more tank like you become.
You have training days, that are usually in-between main and sub events, some days you can refuse to go to the arenas but it's not wise as you miss out on lots of butt kicking and level up experience. Yeah, that's right, depending on your style you can have different levels in different styles, like I decided two weapons, the others are Sword, Sword and Shield, and Unarmed.
On training days you can choose to level up your body, legs, head and arms skills making you more efficient, and when you're at the arenas you build up your weapons skills, they all tie together in the end as when you're not at the arena, and you have completed a day of training at the gladiator camp, you visit the cook, once that's done you will see how many points you have to spend and what food level-ups which main statistic.
So finally I've finished talking about the main camp, but what of the arena's in C:RTF? I have visited two main arenas, the Atilius arena, which is the main source of income as you spend most the time here. The main battles are:
Battle Royal (Survival Player vs. Time Limit)
Self explanatory player has to survive against and infinite amount of gladiators for either 2-3 minutes they will attack each other as well.
Battle Royal (Everyone Vs Everyone 10 - 20)
Your ranking affects how many people are in the event, luckily there are 4 gladiators on screen at any one time including yourself.
Team Battles (5 vs. 5 or 10 vs. 10)
These can be interesting, two gladiator schools fight it out, usually there is a general, be it you, someone on your team or someone on the opposing team, the objective, kill them all.
Like the other survival match, only this time you have to survive the time limit while everyone comes after you, can be annoying but good fun.
Yes, in traditional roman events you get to fight beasts be it bulls, tigers or elephants (I haven't seen anything else yet) usually 3 vs. 5 Beasts.
One of the best modes in the game 1 vs. 1, and usually a very good payout.
The Colosseum however, is much larger and there are many more payouts for battles, and for some reason the healer there is much cheaper, the battles are the same but more difficult.
The graphics of C:RTF don't really challenge the PS2 engine however they are not over the top, they are just suited for the game, the player models are good, the surroundings are very well done, especially the colosseum. The in-game cut scenes could be made better, instead of lots of small ones, one after the other, they could have made them seamless.
Other than that, the fighting animations are good, the voice acting isn't over the top, the weapon sounds are fairly convincing and the arena sounds and crowd sounds just put you in the battle and finally, the trash talk between the gladiators is the finishing touch.
Unfortunately, these are the twitchiest part of the game. The controls of the game are very, very daunting. The game lacks a lock on so when competing in team battles you usually end up killing everyone, including your own team, and the blocking system could be made much better, the controls can be picked up easily enough but there are times you just wish more thought had been put into them.
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.