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Gladiator Begins Member Review for the PSP

AFineMan By:
GENRE Action 
M Contains Blood, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

This game is without a doubt, worth your time.
The story isn't too great, but some of the characters are interesting.
From Brosius, who has literally shed manly tears for you, to Gulielmus, who only wants to beat you; this game has personality.
There are multiple endings, as well as multiple storylines, but the storyline the game starts you off in is that you are a slave purchased by the Lanista "Magerius", and now you must fight and win money to earn your freedom, while also getting some extra coin to buy new equipment, and upgrade your current equipment, as well as heal any injuries you might have from a previous match. You can have up to 3 matches each day, though on some days you could have less.
The graphics are... Ok, they aren't anything special, but you'll know whats going on 100%.
Not much good music, except for these two tracks: "Mock Battle" and "Avidius Cassius" (That one is especially good.) Besides that, the music is very passable, and even somewhat repetitive.
The sound design is excellent, with every clang and thrust sounding realistic as can be. When you hear your sword thrust into the ribs of another Gladiator, it sounds awesome, and therefore, feels awesome as well.
There are hundreds of pieces of equipment, all of which you can pick up and use on the fly, even helmets and shin guards that are dropped from your opponents can be used as weapons.
There are RPG Elements resembling that of Monster Hunter, such as upgrading equipment and adding bonuses to it, like giving your helmet higher vitality, or higher strength, this stacks onto your normal stats and makes you more powerful, its very addictive.
The game awards you Ability Points after each match, and if you want more Ability Points (which you use to level up your character), then you have to impress the crowd. Impressing the crowd becomes more and more difficult as you get to higher ranks.
The gameplay itself is fairly realistic, but there are also fairly unrealistic moves that you can pull off.
However, in my opinion, there hasn't been a more realistic game on a handheld since Samurai Dou Portable (A.K.A. Way of the Samurai).
Speaking of the gameplay, its very fun, though take breaks, because the game can get repetitive after awhile (though thats the case for most fighting games, I think.)
The game features your standard attacks, triangle does a higher attack, but holding it down can execute an unblockable power attack that can knock your opponents off-balance.
There are also other things that you can add on to the normal attacks, like special attacks that you can put points into to make it stronger, with the cost of some Endurance.
There are also parries, dodges, and stuff that can play into combat like getting knocking into a wall, bouncing off it into an attack, slipping on dropped equipment when you dodge, and more.
After you beat the game, you'll unlock the Battle Arena, which includes every named Gladiator you've fought up to that point. You'll even unlock simple enemies and no-name Gladiators as well. In this mode, you can play as your Gladiator against named Gladiators in the game, or play as those named Gladiators, or even fight your own player-created Gladiator. 
For example, lets say you have a Gladiator named "Titus Smitus", in the Battle Arena, you can fight Titus Smitus USING Titus Smitus, or another Gladiator you've created.
You'll also unlock new costumes that you can use in New Game Plus, as well as new difficulties.
AH YES! The character creator...
Its... honestly not very good or extensive, but... its there, I guess. You get a fair amount of options, but there are some major flaws, like having your skin color change your hair color. Its very strange and can get a tad irksome.
On top of this huge package, there is also a bunch of Free DLC that is currently on the PlayStation store. My favorite is the Samurai Gladiator DLC, or the Robot Gladiator DLC. Check it out if you can, downloading all the DLC should take you under an hour. There is Japan-exclusive DLC though, so if you live in the states, you might be out of luck with that one.
I could talk all day about the amount of detail that went into this game, but that would take far too long.
In conclusion, this game is great! The combat is fun, decent characters, multiple storylines, and multiple difficulties, with tons of end-game content, rewards and unlockables. Its infinitely replayable, and will keep you coming back for more.
I give this a solid 8.7 out of ten.

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