Gladius - Gladiator Combat for the PS2

Gladius - Gladiator Combat for the PS2
Gladius plays on the popularity of Gladiator by bringing arena combat to the main console systems. It's not Rome this time, but a fantasy planet with good and evil.

I had originally played the Demo of Gladius on XBox and wasn't very impressed. Luckily they did make some solid changes to the game by release time to add to the interest factor.

There's a basic story of good and evil, with the Queen of the Valkries giving her life to slay the demon of chaos. There are also two human tribes, in essence the Vikings vs the Romans. When you begin the game you can choose to be a Viking woman or a Roman man, both strong, young warriors.

You work your way up through gladiator combat, which is the 'peaceful' way that the two tribes work out their aggressions now. You earn certificates in various areas to allow you to fight, and move through various stages of arena level. You build up your skills, gain team members, and learn more about the plot and the underlying good-evil conflict as you go.

The graphics are reasonably good, and I have to say, I'm actually impressed with the plot. It's not just "filler" for button-mashing combat. It really does give you a sense that these characters have dreams and worries, that they have friendships and that things affect them. The characterizations and voices were well done.

There is in-arena combat which is just fought until there is a winner, and out-of-arena combat where the fights are to the death. The locations do feel different from each other, and you get a sense of wanting to gain more reputation and explore your options.

I'm much more a real-time combat person myself - I love Dynasty Warriors 4 and Return of the King, for example. I felt sort of stifled by the turn based system, having to stop and wait for my turn to move on the grid and attack. But really, I love the Final Fantasy games and those are turn based. So it's something about the moving and fighting combos that just wasn't my style. People who are more into turn based will really love this game.

Highly recommended for turn based fans looking for a quality game!

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