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Platform

PC

 

Genre

MMORPG

 

Developer

Perpetual Entertainment

 

Publisher

Sony Online

 

ETA

TBA 2006

 

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Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising

 

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It’s frustrating.  In the last few years, everyone and their mother has been diving head first into the MMORPG genre trying to make a quick buck.  First there were the Everquest copy cats, then some corporate suits figured out that a lot of these style of games were doing well in Korea, so we started to be bombarded by rushed translations of these titles as publishers furiously flung any turd they could get a licensing agreement for against the wall, waiting to see what stuck.  All the while, there was a decided lack of originality outside of certain core titles that racked up the majority of the money.  It looks, though, as if Perpetual Entertainment has noticed that there’s a distinct glut of similarly unimaginative games on the market, and is trying to shake things up a bit with an MMO set in a Roman setting with Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising.

 

As one can surmise from the title, there will be heavy doses of mythology throughout the game as players battle Gorgons, Furies, Minotaurs, Cyclops, and the like, all while trying to make do as a member of the Roman Empire.  Looking at the selection of monsters so far, it does underline just how much Rome absorbed the Hellenistic world and brings up the question historians like to pose: “Did Rome conquer Greece, or was it the Greeks who conquered Rome?”  It seems unavoidable that the game will see a lot of crossover in terms of the cultural influences players will experience.  For as large as the Empire grew, the Romans adopted a lot of practices from the civilizations that they conquered, be it art, religion, philosophy, and so on.  That being said, it will be interesting to see just how wide spread the cultural flavor of Rome Rising will be.  Trying to present a distinctly Roman view of the world in the game could over simplify just how things were in the Empire, so hopefully we’ll see the developers try to capture the multicultural elements of the region during this time.

 

When not seeing the sites throughout the Empire, players will have plenty of time for combat.  This will take place in a more action-oriented fashion on par with what one could expect to find in the Diablo series, and considering that the mastermind behind Rome Rising is Stieg Hedlund, who was also head honcho on Diablo II, this probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.  The process, however, is meant to be a lot more strategic with players having to aim and time their attacks while fighting, and not simply flailing away.  This won’t be some sort

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of button masher.  Not only will players be able to whack away at enemies (or other players), but there’ll be some fancy schmancy finishing moves to help zazz things up a bit.  Also, players will be able to earn NPCs to help bash bad guys, which may come in handy for those who prefer soloing their online games.

 

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So to fine tune the play experience, there’s also the matter of picking a character class in the game, and players will have six basic archetypes to chose from: gladiators, rogues, scouts, soldiers, mystics, and priests.  In order to further personalize one’s character, players will be allowed to give their toons new feats in a skill tree so that people can specialize their character.

 

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With all of the MMORPGs that have come along, there have been far too many that have been suckling at the teat of J.R.R. Tolkien, giving the same old thing over and over again, with a fraction of the imagination of the legendary author.  While the jury is still out as to whether Rome Rising may be a shining bastion of originality, at least the developers are trying to do something a bit different.  As it stands now, the game is currently in closed beta testing.  So, barring any terrible disasters, we may see Rome Rising released before the end of the year.

 

Mr. Nash

(October 30, 2006)

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