Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
Buy On
  1. Game Informer
    With more depth than all of Minnesota's lakes combined, Glaius offers a level of immersion that no other strategy game can offer. Complex as the game is, the basic premise is deceptively simple. [Oct 2003, p.137]
  2. Many people still aren't sure what to expect from the game, and neither was I when I picked it up, after debating between it and Gladiator. When I got home, however, I was very pleasantly surprised.
  3. 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.
  4. 90
    One of the best strategy RPGs I’ve had the opportunity to play.
  5. It’s easily one of the deepest games I’ve played in a long time.
  6. Gladius is by far unmatched in terms of character control in the strategy/RPG genre. The only thing I would have wished for is more ability customization for characters in between class types.
  7. Blends strategy and action in a gladiatorial arena to stimulate both your mind and your thirst for violence.
  8. 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.
  9. Has a ton of game play to offer, although it does get a little slow, dull and repetitive at times.
  10. Official Xbox Magazine
    Repetitive battle music and minor camera issues aside, if you can stand the slow, turn-based nature of Gladius, you'll love it. [Dec 2003, p.154]
  11. Plays a lot like a series of great chess matches with tons of new variables to learn.
  12. The level of depth to be found here is astounding - from the very onset of the game you'll find yourself knee-deep in menus, combat, and strange locations.
  13. 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.
  14. There's nothing quite like it. Some aspects of the game could have used some more polish, but these shouldn't deter anyone looking for a deep, involved, great-looking, and memorable RPG from getting Gladius.
  15. 83
    It's not visually striking and the storyline doesn't play a prominent enough role to really get your attention, but if you're willing to invest the hour or so it takes to really get into the game, you'll be surprised at just how much fun Gladius can be.
  16. While the storytelling and gameplay are a bit on the slow and awkwardly paced side, Gladius can be a pretty deep and engaging tactical RPG.
  17. 83
    Ultimately though, Gladius is an ambitious game that attempts to breathe new life into the genre. It's not entirely successful, but it is the best gladiator game I've played.
  18. 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.
  19. While the game is quicker-paced and more interactive than most in the genre, it is ultimately a fine representative of a genre that's heavy on lengthy battles and a lot of invested time.
  20. Gamestyle quite enjoyed taking a detour from the norm with Gladius, which stands commendably behind "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" - in genre-matching terms on the Xbox.
  21. 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."
  22. 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.
  23. 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]

Awards & Rankings

#32 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
  1. May 18, 2011
    Gladius is no doubt the best strategy RPG for Xbox period. Not that it has any real competition - it is still a well produced, compelling,Gladius is no doubt the best strategy RPG for Xbox period. Not that it has any real competition - it is still a well produced, compelling, quite massive game that takes 60+ hours to complete. Its pacing is rather slow and it might try the patience of genre's newcomers, but those strategy RPG's aficionados will have a great feast here.
    The game features several fresh ideas to the genre, with action elements being perhaps the most prominent. Almost every attack, ability or spell cast requires player to interact with a specific action sequence, such as fierce button mashing for most bear's or berserker's attacks or pinpoint button press for precise archer's or javeliner's shots. While all of these may be performed by the AI, it is not very difficult to pull off most attacks and get frequent critical hits, so you might want to perform most of them yourself if you find the ingame challenge daunting. It also keeps you from being sleepy while playing the game for longer periods of time ;)
    In the graphics and sounds department Gladius is a solid Lucasarts product, featuring nice visuals, with detailed fighters' models. Most of the tunes are pleasant to listen to, and some are quite memorable. Battle sounds are decent.
    The story is perhaps a little predictable and unveils somewhat slowly. There are several plot twists and memorable events, and although it might not be the most engrossing, it pushes the action forward and serves its role. As for every strategy RPG, the core of the game is the squad composition, characters progression and equipment management - all these aspects work really well and play together nicely. There is quite some replay value here as well - there are two main story characters in game (specified as for the beginner and advanced player), each starting in a different setting. Their story converges at some point, but requires the player to play through different locations in a different sequence. However, due to limited squad capacity and skill points, it is impossible to check out every character class and all the skills with just a single playthrough. Limited number of side-quests might be a little disappointing, but the player is free to choose which battles he or she want to participate in and may skip some clashes altogether. Combat is engaging, sometimes challenging and generally requires thorough strategic thinking.
    Strongly recommended!
    Full Review »
  2. JoonasL.
    Jun 4, 2006
    I wish this game had been marketed. You know, at all. I only discovered it a few days back and it's sweet.
  3. Rick
    Feb 28, 2006
    Excellent turn based, strategic, RPG gem. Heaps of level, weapon, armour up grades. Heaps of character and creature ally classes to take into Excellent turn based, strategic, RPG gem. Heaps of level, weapon, armour up grades. Heaps of character and creature ally classes to take into the battle zone. Non repetitive combat arena's challenges. Top of its class. 9.5 - Story was a bit blerrr in my books but at least it has one. Full Review »