As Valens the Great once said. "For the Glory of our school"
I would have to give Gladius my support, as being the best Gladiator Game I have ever played. With that being said here is my review.
Story line: You start of as either Valens(harder difficulty) or Ursula(Easy difficulty). I have only played the Valens story line and It goes as this. He father Munio was a great Gladiator and a war hero. But one night, Valens and his father were walking home from the games and they were ambushed. His father was killed and Valens was left alive. After that prologue you are introduced to Ludo, Valens childhood friend. They are your two main characters. You go out on a quest to bring glory back to Valens father’s school and you meet the wise Usus. You then, in your training, you find out Valens has a connection with the gods and can empower himself. This ability also gives you and edge in the fighting at the start of the game so use it!!!(and yes it stacks). You go through 4 stages, in each you are introduced to new characters and completely new AI classes. Now for the plot you start out just bringing honor back to Munio's school, but discover that some evil people are trying to wake up the dark god to rule the world; which they do the dark god is your end battle.(ooops spoiler alert) So my friends, it is left up to you to fulfill your destiny and save the world.
Game play: It is a turn based strategy game, which is cool by me... I had hoped it would be real time strat though >< but, on the flip side it is pieced together very nicely. Customization is done Exceptionally well in this game. True, you can't turn anyone into any class you want, but besides that anything goes. You can customize outfits and customize there coloring scheme. A big bonus is you can choose there affinities, and what skills they learn. You also give them items and badges as you see fit. Now, some items are class only but what can you do...right. When you level up you can save all the points you gain to achieve massive abilities, or spend them all on the little stuff. Each fight is well paced with a few exceptions.... Curse you magic ladies. It’s not imperative that you use a flawless strat in the fights but if you fail to use any you will get pwnd. Another cool thing is you get everyone back at the end of every fight even if they die in the arena. But this is not the case, on outside world encounters, which is also another cool part of this game. This game also does a great job in preparing you to be pretty good at the game by the time you actually start doing fights that count. The last thing is they really, really, found the PERFCET ratio of open world environment, and linear gameplay.
A few more things:
Graphics are good, and camera angles will never be your enemy. The voice acting is solid also.
The complaint about this game is just what the other guys review said. The first area will make you want to play the game for hours on end but as the game goes on it loses some of its appeal not sure why but it does.
If you want a great turn based strategy game and you have always wanted to be a Gladiator, buy it. If not, at least give it a rent.