is finally branching out and tackling events that
don't involve Feudal Japan. While I applaud their
change in direction, Colosseum seems to be built upon
one part past experience and one part stumbling blocks.
A meaty fighting RPG/Action game in the times of Gladiators
is a welcome friend and Colosseum has a deep enough
battle system to keep those fascinated with the Roman
Empire for due time. Unfortunately, not everything
is as well engineered as the fighting system, and
difficult AI early on, a brutal punishment system
for losing and heaping doses of repetition will retire
most players before they earn their coveted freedom.
I dare say that less resilient players will find their
freedom by turning off the power halfway through.
not sure if Gladiators ever actually won their freedom
eventually, but this is your ultimate goal. Players
will strive to become the ultimate fighting machine
in the Roman arenas and when they've become the best
of the best, they can retire to Florida and beat the
crap out of old people who want to pay with a check
at Safeway. Seems about right.
places heavy emphasis on building your characters
attributes through training. This is absolutely essential
to progress. But be warned that Colosseum is one unforgiving
gaming experience. If you are a card carrying button
masher you'll want to pass; Colosseum's deep battle
system isn't for the weak of heart. It may seem clunky
and unintuitive at first but if you stick it out,
you'll find a lot to love - but it's a hard battle
to get there.
is touted as an Action/RPG and that's fairly accurate,
although that primarily describes the point management
/ experience system that players will use to increase
stats to gain power and more fighting moves. Players
who win fights will also earn money they can use towards
new armor and weapons. The thin plotline that attempts
to give the situation some gravity, spectacularly
fails to draw you in and in that sense doesn't really
warrant the RPG moniker. It's very possible to go
through the motions and never emotionally invest an
ounce of care into your nameless warrior or his situation.
melee battles which will see a few Gladiators onscreen
at one time can be fairly intense and definitely worth
the time and effort it takes to get there. This is
the biggest payoff the game has to offer. You will
notice that the framerate barely manages to hold it
together when more than three characters are on screen
at one time which can lead to some frustrating moments
and lost battles. But even still, dedicated players
will be invigorated enough to go back for seconds,
thirds, fourths and more. It's the game you sometimes
love to hate.
has done an excellent job in the fighting animations
and character models, but the backgrounds are a little
sparse - possibly to keep the framerate from jumping
completely out the window. It's not the prettiest
game around, but far from the worst.
has the makings of a new franchise that just needs
a fair amount of tweaking to bring it up to code.
I have no doubt that Colosseum could truly become
a valued series on the next gen systems. The makings
of a classic are all there but the recipe is a little
jumbled right now. 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.