Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
Buy On
  1. 85
    Unless you seriously have a thing for turn-based combat and having to really work for your progress, the game isn't for you. But if you do, Gladius is one of the better examples of the genre on the system.
  2. 90
    With its epic storylines, hundreds of combat scenarios, and open-ended structure, Gladius is one of the deepest games of the year. If you play strategy/RPGs because you're an anime fan, Gladius will bore you; if you play them because they're fun, Gladius will obsess you.
  3. If you’re looking for a game with a ton of depth, replayability and a solid storyline, look no further. Gladius is stockpiled with a ton of features that will appease everyone from the beginning adventurer to the hardcore strategist.
  4. At the heart of this game is an interesting and well-thought-out combat system, and there are so many viable combinations of characters and skills to experiment with that this game could easily keep you busy for much longer than most games do these days.
  5. I am happy to say that the strong point of Gladius is its’ game play.
  6. 80
    A wide range of attack options, character customizations, tactics, and battle requirements put fresh faces on what would otherwise be a repetitive match structure. Most importantly, the swing meter is just enough action to stave off the usual turn-based boredom.
  7. It’s an interesting outing into the world of strategy RPGs, with quite a bit of depth to the gameplay and very nice visuals, but if you are a long time player of these sorts of games you may find the title a tad on the easy side.
  8. Easily one of the deepest games I’ve played in a long time.
  9. 40
    If you're already wary of Japanese strategy RPGs, then be sure to stay even further away from Gladius. It's got as many menus, and its battles are slower and less rewarding. LucasArts clearly tried to make everything look and feel good, but Gladius is ultimately done in by the leaden gameplay.
  10. A great-looking, incredibly deep and satisfying combat role playing game. It's complicated and has a steep "getting started" curve, but the investment of patience pays off.
  11. Many action-oriented gamers arena’t going to like this game at all, but you strategy buffs will be pleased that Gladius is such a strong contender, because you really don’t have any other options. There are no other games like it.
  12. PSM Magazine
    As a completely turn-based RPG with heavy strategy elements, Gladius's incredibly deliberate pace will try all but the most hardcore RPG'er's patience. Still, if you give it a chance, there's a lot to love. [Dec 2003, p.50]
  13. GMR Magazine
    Like most strategy-RPGs, it's a lot to bite off at once, but it's a fine game for players who know what they're getting into. [Dec 2003, p.86]
  14. games(TM)
    A brave game that deserves recognition. Gladius rises above its initial shortcomings and delivers a lengthy and enjoyable experience. [Dec 2003, p.112]
  15. Game Informer
    It's not the prettiest game in the world, but it's certainly one of the most captivating. From the entertaining action to the depth of play, it has all the makings of a bona fide classic. [Oct 2003, p.116]
  16. Cheat Code Central
    Replay value abounds in Gladius, and when combined with the great presentation and the intense and varied gameplay, I would say this game has it all. Hail Caesar.
  17. May not be long on unique game play, but it does have incredible depth and an intriguing immersive story.
  18. Offers strategy RPG fans a long, satisfying romp through the perils and profound implications of ancient gladiatorial conflict. Those who can overlook the slow, plodding pace of the game's navigational system will surely find hours upon hours of entertainment.
  19. netjak
    Due to the controlled nature of the game, the battles and leveling system are very tight and logical. It's the perfect game for a cold winter's day inside, and it can be played almost forever. If you want to know what the world “epic” means, then just go ahead and play Gladius.
  20. Gladius is not for the faint of heart – it demands attention to detail and a willingness on the part of the player to listen to instructions and take time to learn the ropes. Players looking for a Golden Axe-like hack and slash venture will soon find themselves buried in instructions on power ups, tournaments, and character statistics and should probably look elsewhere.
  21. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Tremendously deep warrior-customization options and rich strategy elements make Gladius absolutely worthwhile and fun, but prepare to invest serious time. [Dec 2003, p.185]
  22. This unusual marriage of strategy and RPG (regardless of how inconsequential Gladius' storyline actually is) manages to work despite an acute lack of polish in the graphics (mostly blocky and undetailed with few exceptions) and the somewhat-huge interface (lots of variables to keep track of).
  23. This one certainly needs to be sexed up if it wants to be taken off the shelf.
  24. 80
    While Gladius isn't going to convert haters of RPGs or turn-based strategy, it's got the same hard-to-define addictive hook as its older peers, "FFT" and "Tactics Ogre."
  25. All of this solid gameplay combines with two well-scripted stories to keep you playing for hours at a time (anywhere from 50 to 100 per quest). [Nov 2003, p.130]
  26. 60
    The actual gameplay of Gladius is innovative, but the execution is just as slow as the story telling.
  27. Play Magazine
    There's an aura of nobility, barbarism and mysticism at work here that places you in the world and makes you care about the characters, and that's what it's all about. [Nov 2003, p.72]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. Jul 29, 2013
    This is a classic title in my eyes. Could not fathom the time lost in the wonderful story and game play The sheer amount of unit selectionThis is a classic title in my eyes. Could not fathom the time lost in the wonderful story and game play The sheer amount of unit selection and level design was incredible considering it was one of PS2's first games. It really is a shame this game has not been remastered and ported to PC And to any ambitious developers out there, GET A SEQUEL DONE!!! Long live Nordagh! Full Review »
  2. Jul 23, 2016
    This game is one the best games ever created. It's my favorite game of all time, this is coming from someone who's played nearly every type ofThis game is one the best games ever created. It's my favorite game of all time, this is coming from someone who's played nearly every type of game you could think of. Sadly, it's not for the PC. Either way, let's talk about it. The game is unique and very interesting in its own way. It's a gladiator themed turned based strategy RPG. And even though it's turn based, it can still be fast paste, action filled and it's very very fun. You have all of your skills that you unlock through level, you can use certain skills at certain times to get extra damage and if you plan everything accordingly, you will win easily. The game is anything but easy, and unlike newer RPG's, the game gets harder the more you go. I can't tell you how many times I would grow bored of games like Skyrim or Dragon Age because the games enemies are too easy. In this game, you have to master the combat and master your different characters. Each character has a class, the class determines what type of weight they have, what type of equipment they can and cannot wear and what type of skills they have. No one class is better than another. Each character you buy will probably be different from the last. And it's your job to keep it that way, you don't want two of the same exact types of gladiators. You can make on legionnaire solely depending on killing the enemies and winning the fight, with the other supplying buffs and making sure the one stays alive. The combat in this game is hard, fast paste, fun and interesting. The customization is also a key feature in every RPG and it's something to look at in this game. There is some armor customization limits. Like I said, classes determine what type of gear they wear. Legionnaire's use medium shields. Centurion's use heavy shields, bandits use light shields and barbarians use no shields. It's easy to remember due to how much the game lets you know a certain character can't equip that piece of gear. But the gear they can equip is awesome and amazing looking. You unlock more, better, cooler looking gear the more you go along, they all have a different look to them as well as different stats. Because of this, every piece of gear is recognizable to the point where you can go "That guy is wearing that helmet, he must have high defense". And though new chest armor doesn't necessarily appear on your character, they still have 4 preset outfits, 1 usually looking like leather, 4 looking like gold. The outfits don't actually give you an armor boost and just are for aesthetics. You can also color the outfits and have your characters with purple gear. And above all, you can customize the main character your roleplaying as. In games like Rise of the Argonauts, The Witcher, Game of Thrones, etc. You roleplay as that main character and can't change their name or appearance. In Gladius you have Valens, Ursula, Ludo, Urlan etc, etc. As your main character. You can't customize their facial features but you can customize their hair and skin colors (You can also do this with the side gladiators). So, if you've ever wanted your main character to be tan, black or really white then you can. If you want Valens to have blonde instead of black hair, you can. The customization is worth your time. And the world is...interesting to say the least. You don't actually go out and explore everything. Instead, you go outside of the town and have your character in a top down view running on the road going to different towns to compete. Similar to the way Mario's travel acts but with more detail of the world. There are also random encounters as you're walking to your new town be it, wolves, bandits, merchants, or even people wanting revenge. The world is also split up into 4 different parts, after you complete one part you move onto the next. Each part comes with 5 levels. Example, if you choose to play as Valens, you start in Imperia with level 5 being the max, then to Nordagh with level 10 being the max, then to the Steppes with 15 and then to the Southern Expanse with 20. Most of the time nobody actually reaches 20 because leveling is hard in this game. The graphics are also something that you shouldn't mind due to the fact that this is for the Playstation 2 coming out in 2003. Another thing you might be asking about. The story? The story is very interesting and very long with plot twists and turns and you really have to pay attention and delve yourself into everything to understand. Good combat, okay exploration, good customization, good character, GREAT story AND it's cheap with the gladiatorial theme. How could you say no? Full Review »
  3. AdamC.
    Aug 24, 2007
    The only reason I didn't give it a 10 is that the gameplay eventually got a bit old. Still, it was a tremendous value, and I wish they The only reason I didn't give it a 10 is that the gameplay eventually got a bit old. Still, it was a tremendous value, and I wish they would make a sequel. Full Review »