May 18, 2011Gladius 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!… Expand