Collectibles in this level: 6
After the opening cut scene ends you will be in the sandalled feet of Marius Titus. Before you even have a chance to orientate yourself, the first axe wielding enemy soldier is racing towards you with designs on your head. Luckily time will stop and a short sequence of tutorials will appear. These include: deflecting (A), push attacks (Y), sword attacks (X) and selecting execution types (D-pad). There is also an introduction to executions immediately after selecting the execution type. While performing an execution the enemy will glow the colour that corresponds to the button to be pressed. After taking down your first axe wielding maniac, don't relax just yet as there are four more nearby. Use the techniques from the tutorial and they shouldn't pose much of a threat (just don't forget about the A button to deflect).
Objective: Break the barbarian charge
Run along the wall and climb up the small barricade (to the left on this is a [Scroll 01/27]), there will be another cluster of barbarians waiting but there are a few things you should keep an eye on while you swing away. Siege ladders will periodically be placed against the wall, you can easily kick these down by moving near them and attacking, this can slow down and / or prevent incoming barbarian reinforcements. The other thing to be aware of is the bar at the top right. This reflects the strength of the Roman defenses and how your side is faring. After clearing the four barbarians and continuing along the wall you may notice that there is a large group of enemies ahead. Thankfully that problem is removed rather abruptly by tonnes of rock flying at high speed.
Two of the remaining barbarians will turn around and engage you simultaneously so use this as training for handling multiple enemy swings at once. If you've played any of the Batman games (asylum, city or origins) or even Assassins Creed you should get used to the deflecting and attacking momentum very quickly as the flow and style of combat is very similar. After the second invader goes down order your troops to let loose a volley of arrows (this can be done with either the LB or by calling out the voice command to your Kinect).
Objective: Organize defensive formations
After reaching ally lines you will be updated on what units are available but will be plonked (rather unceremoniously) in control of the Scorpio heavy ballista. Use RT to aim and release to fire this weapon of war. The Scorpio has a very fast rate of fire so don't be afraid to spray at every enemy you see. During your rampage you will be informed that you should order your archers to support the ground forces by firing a volley at the invaders. Thankfully you can hold down the LB while still firing away with the Scorpio (how's that for multitasking?). You can also shoot the yellow pots nearby to flood the area with fire, stopping the invading force in its track for a short time. During this sequence you will have to also deal with a few groups of enemy archers. These guys must have a death wish as they always stand next to explosive barrels. Boom and continue firing on the infantry. Keep calling in the orders and dealing with the closest enemies and after calling in a catapult strike are back on your feet again.
Objective: Enter the palace
After rising to your feet you are informed that you can purchase your first upgrade. Depending on your skill level and the difficulty the game is set to you may want to consider some health upgrades (make you more durable) or the bonus to XP gained (very useful in the long run as it allows you to reach new upgrade tiers quicker). Before going through the marked doorway, look to the left for a [Vista 01/21].
Objective: Escort the emperor to the vault
Nero will run straight ahead before pausing at a glowing door. Before opening it for him, look back to the last doorway you passed through to see a [Chronicle 01/42]. Looks like you get to see what is on the other side of the door first.
Objective: Clear a path to the vault
As soon as you enter the room, turn right and follow the balcony along until you find a [Chronicle 02/42] and further on a [Vista 02/21]. On the other side of the room up the left set of stairs is another [Chronicle 03/42]. Now the collecibles for the level are done, this is where things can start to get a little overwhelming if you haven't got a handle on the combat yet. You unlock a new execution type before descending the stairs. This one increases the XP you gain for executing enemies and will be your mainstay any time you don't need health. There are six or seven enemies on the floor below. Luckily some of them are distracted by the surviving legionnaires so you won't have to fight them all at once. Focus on defense in this fight, deflect every hit you can and only attack a single enemy at a time to set him up for execution quickly. If you need health swap to the health regen execution but if you keep your defense strong you shouldn't need health here.
Objective: Kill the barbarian warlord
Honestly this enemy isn't much more dangerous than the regular enemies. His fiery weapon may look threatening but if it can't hit you it is useless. The game will point out the dodge button here and it is a very good time to learn to use it. Start off by getting the feel of the timing of the dodge and then use it to avoid attacks and take advantage of the opening it affords you. Just swinging
with your sword will mean you only get in two attacks each time, whereas if you mix up your combo with the shield bash you can get in up to five hits. Variety is the spice of life so spice it up to defeat the warlord quickly. After around twenty to twenty-five hits the warlord will fall. Thus ends the first level.