• Publisher: Capcom
  • Release Date: Feb 8, 2005

Generally favorable reviews - based on 52 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 52
  2. Negative: 2 out of 52
  1. I figure in about five years, Shadow of Rome will start showing up in magazine articles about “cult” games, or the best-kept secrets on the PS2.
  2. A game that reaches into your primal thirst for violence with no restraint... A bold, fantastic experiment. [Feb 2005, p.60]
  3. Shadow of Rome's gameplay glistens, but its presentation is somewhat lackluster.
  4. Playing Shadow of Rome has made me more sympathetic to people who argue that killing fake people can lead to killing real ones. I came to accept Shadow of Rome's violence fully.
  5. It's a blast, and the combat is a great balance between a wrestling and a fighting game, but I felt like a terrible human being. I guess that's the price you pay for being a gladiator. [Feb 2005, p.116]
  6. Every time the action has you hooked, the intertwined, mediocre-at-best stealth missions suck away a lot of the fun and detract from what could have been one of the best action adventure titles of this year.
  7. 8 / 8 / 9 / 8 - gold [Vol 848]
  8. The meaty parts make it worth getting through the leaner parts, and for fans with interest in the period or graphic action, it's a keeper.
  9. Not only is the atmosphere of this one second to none, the game that it surrounds is massively rewarding and challenging in equal measures.
  10. Packs some of the most brutal hand-to-hand combat ever, and there's plenty of story and intrigue to conveniently justify all the gory violence.
  11. As these concepts are nothing new and have been integrated better (way better) with bigger games already (e.g., the Metal Gear Solid series), and with a singular character to boot, Shadow of Rome isn't nearly as great as some other big guns it may be trying to imitate.
  12. It doesn't require superhuman skill but it will pose a challenge to all that play. Above all else, it's fun and there's nothing that beats that.
  13. 80
    The stealth levels are the only other chink in the game's chain mail. Just when you finish turning arenas into butcher shops, who's in the mood for a little Metal Gear-style stealth? Answer: not us.
  14. There is an awful lot of game here... Another schizophrenic winner from the Japanese masters of action/adventure.
  15. 80
    While the idea of mixing weapons based brutality with careful tiptoeing stealth may have been the result of having one too many at the pub, it certainly comes off much better than expected. Well worth a look.
  16. It efficiently captures the mood and spirit of ancient Rome through bloody battles, exhilarating chariot races, and a few minor stealth sequences, all intertwined with a good moving story and impressive (for the most part) gameplay.
  17. 80
    The boss fights are supremely challenging and satisfying, and you’ll earn totally bitchin’ sets of armor as you accumulate bloody victories. There’s even a very enjoyable chariot race section.
  18. Fun. Frustrating. Gory. Cerebral. Engaging. Off-putting. Brutal and civilised. A thing of uneasily juxtaposed opposites, much like the Empire it's set in.
  19. The storyline genuinely is an absolute cracker and I'd love to give away the ending but it truly would spoil a great finale to a dark horse of a game.
  20. The game only makes a good purchase if you are a diehard Gladiator fan; otherwise the game is a perfect rental title.
  21. 80
    Brings a unique blend of innovative - if slightly mediocre at times - stealth adventuring with exciting gladiatorial battles that utilise one of the most enjoyable fighting systems yet.
  22. A historic blend of bloody action and stealth set in Roman times. [Jan 2007, p.106]
  23. 80
    The combat sequences are the undisputed highlight, and much of the game puts on a great show...just be prepared for stretches of frustration while sneaking around. [Feb 2005, p.74]
  24. It's sad that some of the best pure action on the PS2 is paired with such amateurish stealth. [Feb 2005, p.85]
  25. There really isn't another game like Shadow of Rome, let alone one of similar quality and polish. [Feb 2005, p.102]
  26. You’ll almost be able to smell the sweat and blood. Too bad the stealth side of the game is so weak in comparison.
  27. 76
    The equivalent of a summer action flick with a decent plot. It won't make you think too hard and the slow parts can get a little boring and clumsy, but the action is fun enough to redeem it.
  28. Has its share of repetition, clunky controls, and a boring palette of polygons, but its high points - gory battles and an open-ended weapon system - make it a must-rent.
  29. 75
    The game simply bit off way more than it could chew with the stealth sections. The end result is certainly a thumbs up -- but only just.
  30. There are many fewer stealth levels with Octavious, and they're not as well-polished as the fighting. But they're a nice break from the arena action, and none of them are very long.
  31. Inspired Beat 'em Up action with some quality stealth mixed in to boot, just a shame that it lacks the polish to extrapolate its full potential.
  32. The violence is so over the top that it becomes funny...It's an uneven game that keeps speeding up, then slowing down, and as a result, it never really manages to keep your pulse racing for very long. [Jan 2005, p.64]
  33. Shadow of Rome unfortunately doesn’t quite manage to pull it off with an excellent fighting engine for Agrippa but poorly designed stealth missions for Octavianus which you cant help but wonder why they tried to implement it in the first place.
  34. There is nothing like disembowelling some poor defenceless slave to help calm the nerves after a hard day at the office.
  35. The recreation of Rome, while not completely accurate, feels like Rome, and the wilderness sections are likewise done well. The enemies, however, do tend to be a bit bland, and it doesn’t take long until it feels like the same enemy has been killed numerous times.
  36. It's compelling enough to keep you retrying the more frustrating match types, plus put up with the stealth missions. Sure beats watching the History Channel. [March 2005, p.119]
  37. The brutality of the battles is Shadow Of Rome’s saviour, ensuring the joys of arena battles outshine the gloom of the needless padding and provide guilty thrills that little else can offer. [Feb 2005, p.95]
  38. 70
    It's regrettably hindered by below-average stealth elements. The result is a game that oozes potential but ultimately fails to deliver greatness.
  39. There are a large range of weapons and opponents are smart. Unfortunately, the lengthy espionage sorties are often not as gripping and the change of pace is jarring.
  40. Too bad the game’s bloody battles (starring Agrippa) far outpace its stealth segments (featuring Octavianus), resulting in an uneven experience that makes players anticipate half the game and loathe the other.
  41. With the atmosphere and mood so sensationally presented, Shadow of Rome exceeded my expectations, which might have been questionable since I am avidly interested in the history of Greece and Rome.
  42. It's almost as if Capcom has distilled its Onimusha series, extracting the two core components of the franchise ' epic, fierce confrontations, and puzzle-pocked exploration of lavish settings ' and given each more room to breathe, with their own character, style, atmosphere and pace... Fresher, but not better. [Jan 2005, p.82]
  43. The combat system is as well done as anyone could ask for and is enough to make you play again and again. Unfortunately, the sections involving Octavianus’ are only punctuated with such pleasures, generally coming across as uninspired and fairly clumsy.
  44. Playing as the Centurion turned gladiator Agrippa is quite fun at first but very quickly becomes repetitive, whilst the sections of the game where you play as Octavianus are just plain dull to begin with.
  45. While serving up some more cerebral fare with the violent action is laudable, and the graphics are very good, by extending its sights, Shadow of Rome just fails to conquer.
  46. Simplistic combat, trial and error stealth levels and a climax that seems to hit a bit too late all add up to an experience that falls a bit flat. Experience Rome as a solid rental, but all but the most patient will likely feel cheated for a full-price entry.
  47. 60
    An undoubtedly flawed, but fun experience - Agrippa’s combat is enjoyable, engaging, and exhilarating, whereas Octavianus’ stealth sections offer nothing new and are fairly limited.
  48. Once the combat stops being a one-button-win it builds into a genuinely captivating series of varied events and manages to present the futile bloodlust in an unsympathetic light, yet making the process of limb removal, beheading or carving someone's torso straight down the middle a thrilling experience.
  49. Merely a bad stealth game chained to a limited action game. While mauling people as Agrippa is fun when you get the chance to do it, the combat system isn’t revolutionary or deep enough to warrant the effort of dealing with the crummy Octavianus bits.
  50. We’re just left with one more game that relies on frustrating elements to make a short game seem longer, and one more game that settles at just average.
  51. 47
    One half of Shadow of Rome is a solid, if mildly frustrating, bloodbath that will please anyone looking for a chance to let off some steam. The other half of Shadow of Rome is an annoying slog through a weak knock-off of Metal Gear Solid’s sneaky parts.
  52. The banality of the stealth sections and the laboured story telling are not worth the fun of the combat. The idea to blend together the two distinct, yet very successful in their own right, styles was interesting - but here the sum of the parts is much less than the total, and that’s your irony.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 50 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 32
  2. Negative: 4 out of 32
  1. Maximus
    Feb 22, 2005
    One of the best games i ever played.
  2. Nov 7, 2013
    This game, like a star wars sith, deals in absolutes. It has 2 modes, one of which is amazing, the other is abysmal.

    The combat in this
    This game, like a star wars sith, deals in absolutes. It has 2 modes, one of which is amazing, the other is abysmal.

    The combat in this game, while seemingly wonky, is very, very cool. It's second only to the criminally overlooked Gladius in terms of Gladitorial Combat Games, and manages to mix smartness with 300-style gore. It's good stuff.

    Too bad everything is thrown out of the window once you get to the stealth missions. Either you do exactly as the game tells you or you die in one hit. The ideas used here are nice, don't get me wrong, but it's sloppily thrown together and ultimately ruined the game for me.

    Shadow of Rome gets a 5, as it combines the best of the hack-and-slash genre with the absolute worst of stealth missions.
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  3. Aug 22, 2013
    a really amazing and underrated game this game has one of the most interesting and amazing plot in games and it is so bloody specially ina really amazing and underrated game this game has one of the most interesting and amazing plot in games and it is so bloody specially in the arena sections and it has some nice stealth game play in the end a really good interesting game Full Review »