Gladiator Begins is an attempt to bring you into the life of a Gladiator who is forced to fight to the death. Think of it as a Hack and Slash in closed quarters. The formula may work on paper but does it work as a game?
First up you must create your very own gladiator which can be either a man or a woman. You can choose different body types which can add to the detail of your Gladiator. Depending on how the gladiator is customized the people who they interact with will act differently. Makes you think doesn't it.
As a gladiator you must step into the ring and beat up your opponent which can easily be done even if you have a plastic sword on hand (no that is not a real weapon in the game although it would make things more fun). Other times the enemy is so brutal you will want to smash your PSP into pieces. The AI is certainly unbalanced and can get on your nerves.
Gladiator is a game that you might play out of boredom but definitely not for the story. As you progress you will impress some people and make a few enemies blah blah blah get back in the ring and have. There is no voice over but a bunch of grunts that go on in the background.
Graphically the game looks great. The environments mimic that of what Rome was back in the day and the armor and weapons are well design.
Now let's get to the guts of Gladiator. Gladiator is a hack and slash with RPG elements that at the end of the match you can customize which part you want to level up. On top of that you can customize your gladiator with all types of armors and weapons which will come in handy when that impossible to beat boss comes along and snaps your back like a tooth pick. Throughout the game you will earn money which will help you purchase stronger weapons and shields that will help you combat your enemies.
You can also customize your gladiator with up to 4 special moves which will help you defeat all enemies. But use it too much and your gladiator will get tired and therefore more prone on getting stabbed and killed.
Gladiator is definitely balanced when it comes to combat. Unlike a few Hack and Slash games (N3-2) the game feels solid and pulling off combos is all the more fun to do. You'll be button smashing your way to the top without noticing your bus just left you sitting there. However just because it's all button smashing doesn't mean there isn't some strategy to the combat. Using up too many special moves will lower your endurance which will make your gladiator weaker and dual wielding weapons means you have no shield to protect yourself with. However Dual Wielding means you have speed but weaker attacks. Or you can choose to opt for stronger attacks but slower strikes. It's all a balance that you must figure out what you like and learn how to use it.
Hack and Slash games are always fun but if the combat is unbalanced then it could make the game a burden to play. Gladiator Begin does have its downfalls but the combat is well balanced and the RPG elements make the game even more fun to play as you try to level up your character. The AI is a bit unbalanced but if your gladiator is just right you will barely notice the difference. If you love the old days of Rome and Hack and Slash then Gladiator is the game for you.
Life Span: 8/10
Total Score: 60/100