Gladius is a tactics-based game for the Xbox console. The game allows for multiplayer usage (up to 4 simultaneously), which is one of the highlights of the title. You play as a young gladiator that hopes to bring glory to his school (the one that his father built).
You begin at the bottom of the gladius hierarchy and must work your way up through, by winning contests, playing in tournaments, buying equipment, and leveling up your characters. You attain friendships and foes as you rise through the ranks of gladiator challenges. Each character belongs to a class and you will need various ones in your stable to complete the game (especially on the harder difficulty). You are allowed to have long, medium, and short range characters. As they level up, you can spend their experience points to get better attacks and moves. You also have the affinities (earth, wind, water, etc) at your disposal. You must select them carefully and align your equipment with their powers to get the best effect.
The action is turn-based and each person can move an allotted number of spaces (depending on their level, equipment, etc.). The land also plays a valuable role in attacks and strategy. When one is lower than you on the map, say you are on a hill, then you deal more damage. It also affects your range. The map is very important throughout the game because strategy is of the highest importance in some bouts. At times the terrain could be your only edge in winning.
As you continue through the story there are many other fights and contests you can partake in that do not contribute to the completion of the main story. Sometimes the fights can seem a little repetitive as well as the characters you fight. One particular character I remember is the woman that constantly steals affinity. Her cast echoes through my head every night before i sleep "thanks for the charge." I refuse to allow her in my stable because of that move. Aside from some repetition of surroundings and characters, each match adds something unique to the battle experience. Sometimes you fight creatures as opposed to actual human characters. This requires some adjustment of moves and gear.
Some contests require the use of particular classes (such as casters, animals, etc.). This tries to remove the reliance on a few uber characters. I found that I could still have a handful of uber characters and, with tactical placement and attacks, could squeeze by most of the battles.
The multiplayer of this game added an entire new feel to this game. Since the camera focuses in on the battlefield and each character in a turn-based style four players is flawless. There is no split screen to jumble up playability. I beat the entire game with two other friends by my side. This really added to the replay value of the game. Each person can pick their characters and each take turns doing so. If there are only two players then the remaining characters that are required for battle are picked by the two players in order. Player one picks then player 2 picks until all characters are chosen.
This was a really easy game to pick up on because (like most games now) the first few instances were tutorial based. However, the difficulty was elevated pretty evenly throughout the game.
The graphics weren't the best on this version. They seemed a little too much like graphics you'd find on the Playstation 2. The sound wasn't very in-depth either, but the gameplay really outweighed those two factors. The turn based tactical play, coupled with the multiplayer, made this a game that I will revisit a few times. For me to revisit a game says volumes about its accountability.