Review by Funky Bob
"Many hours of good rpg fun"
While starting out slow, Gladius turned out to be a long and reasonably difficult rpg. As Ursula, the easier main character, the game is reasonably hard and over 40 hours long. As Valens, the harder main character, the game is incredibly hard and even longer. Fans of Tactics Ogre, OgreBattle 64, and Final Fantasy Tactics will love this game.
The game runs smooth and nicely. The battle control system is easy to use, and the real-time bar for your attacks keeps your role in combat active, rather than just jamming the attack button and watching your units attack. While the game has all the elements of a serious rpg (specialization, currency, equipment, experience/leveling, traveling, magic) it also uses a tactical system that forces you to place and maneuver your units around the map. The game runs in turn-based combat but is fast-paced and the AI uses such a variety of actions that you won't fall asleep during their turn. The game starts out fairly slow in the easier campaign, works its way to a fun rpg, falls to repetitiveness, back to fun as battle tactics change completely, and then to a great climax at the conclusion. A real rollercoaster, but thankfully the repetitive part isn't very long.
The images are sharp looking, and the characters look like they're actually holding their weapons rather than having extra-long wooden arms. However, the graphics just aren't excellent. Not a problem or a hindrance to gameplay, just not excellent. Spell graphics are quick but reasonably detailed.
The game uses a track of about 3 battle songs and 2 world map songs. Like graphics, they're not incredible or very catchy, but they're pleasant enough to not hinder gameplay or get annoying. Sound effects are pretty basic, grunts when you get hit, but again not annoying. Voice sounds are fuzzy but the acting is generally pretty good.
As I said above, the battle interface is smooth and easy to use. Real-time bars may be a problem for new players but get easier as you progress. If a player really has problems with these, there is an option to have the cpu do them for you.
The game allows extra players to take over some of the characters in campaign fights, allowing cooperative through a campaign while still gaining progress. There is also a versus mode option that allows for 2 to 4 way fighting, which provides good entertainment. After completing the campaign as one of the two characters, you'll want to redo it as the other to find out the differences in storyline.
The storyline in the game is decently in-depth while a classic ''save the world.'' The game uses elements of Norse and Greek mythology to create an interesting mix. Fairly gripping and even somewhat humorous, cutscenes aren't to be dreaded as you might expect.
A real solid tactics rpg, Gladius in my opinion has become an instant classic. 40+ hours in each campaign and two versus modes add to the fun and allow creative multiplayer.
Buy or Rent:
If you like tactics rpgs, buy this game without a second thought. If you sorta like them, buy it. If you hate tactics rpgs, rent it and you'll change your mind.
Warning:Rent only if you know you'll be able to buy it soon after or suffer intense pain! You cannot beat this game during a week of rental.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/05/03
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