Story of a Gladiator, fight – First Sip Review
Story of a Gladiator is an arena beat-’em-up game. Following a gladiator as he fights valiantly in various coliseums. Developed by and published by Brain Seal Ltd.
The Story of this Gladiator is pretty simple. You play as a common man who has lost everything. The Romans have killed your friends, your family, and taken your land by force. So you decide to turn to the drink, to drown your sorrow. Wandering the streets and bars in search of meaning or at least another drink. Until you suddenly come across a strong man, a Gladiator. This man seems to hold the key to your destiny. You approach him and after a heated discussion, he tells you that you should become a gladiator yourself.
From that point it’s pretty much just fighting in the arena, there may be some more plot. Quite possibly at the end of the game if you can beat it.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from Story of a Gladiator visual wise. From the pictures I had seen before playing it looked serviceable. Then I booted the game up. The opening scene is done with what looks like a hand-painted style. Images are mostly static, with some slight movement. And it looks fantastic. Then the game started in earnest. And the in-game art was just as impressive. The game uses a similar art style to a few Zoink Games as well as the recent Yaga which we reviewed.
The gladiators and NPC’s are all well designed and really pop on screen. Even the backgrounds have a rich warmness to their look. When your Gladiator buys new armor you get a few small choices in things like the style of helmet and color of loincloth. While they are relatively minor they are still a nice inclusion. Enemy gladiators (and later beasts as well), generally come in a variety of designs, with each design being a different type of unit. While this means that you’ll likely see a lot of the same enemies, it also means you can tell from a look what to expect from them, and how to deal with them.
Music in Story of a Gladiator is pretty much what you’d expect. A mostly epic-sounding score of an orchestral nature. A lot of Grecian and Roman overtones. Thematically appropriate and it sounds good. There isn’t a ton of variety, especially when you are running the same levels a lot. But, the music sounds good and shouldn’t get too tiresome as most fights are fairly short.
Sound effects are similarly well-executed. Including the sound of executions. You’ll hear a lot of swipes, stabs, and screams. The only sound that I could have done without, or maybe turned way down is that of the cat on between battle screen. Every time you come back to the screen and walk to the right the cat makes a very loud meow noise. And, because the cat is fairly hard to see most of the time I wasn’t expecting it, so the loudness was minorly irritating.
Much better handled is the voice acting in the opening scene. The voice actor has a very fitting voice and even tries to shift it a little when he has lines from other character’s points of view.
Story of a Gladiator is mostly a beat-em-up game, but it does contain some action RPG elements as well. Essentially what you need to do is kill all enemies. Pretty simple really. You are placed in an arena, enemy gladiators are then released into the arena in waves. Each group of gladiators (or beasts) you kill will then trigger the next wave until you kill them all or die. At the end of the round (regardless of who wins), you receive coins and experience. The experience goes towards leveling up, which gives you a skill point you can assign to a skill between rounds. Coins can be saved and used on various upgrades and items.
To begin with the skill tutor is the only NPC available in the town. As you progress you will gain access to a weapon and armor store, butcher, general store and more. Levels can be replayed as many times as you want so you can grind easier levels to gain money for better armor if required. When you beat a level you gain a star ranking based on the amount of health you have remaining. The higher your star rating, the more bonus coins you receive (with a maximum of 3 stars translating to 20% extra coins).
This is essentially all there is to Story of a Gladiator. The enemies you face change, there are a few slightly different arenas and you can redo your skills between battles. But even with those changes, there does reach a point where things feel a little samey. Especially when you get stuck on a level and need to grind earlier ones for more money to get upgrades. I would recommend the game more in small bursts than marathons.
In conclusion, Story of a Gladiator is a well made and fun game. While it does lack variation, it’s about as in-depth as a lot of the genre is. It just feels more insular because of the arena set up rather than a larger more intricate space. The game is quite hard even on normal mode. And has a hard mode that limits the number of failures before perma-death kicks in.
The game also has an interesting crowd system. In which you can win over the crowd by performing flashy kills. Such as double and triple kills, and if you put a point into it decapitation kills. Winning over the crowd will have them throw extra money and food to heal you into the arena. Or sometimes they will throw rocks at your enemies to stun them. A little into the game you can also exchange your crowd favor for a God’s favor in battle.
If you have the option I would recommend picking this game up for the Switch. Being able to play short bursts on the move would work really well for the game style.
In Coffee Terms
Story of a Gladiator in coffee terms would be like, a well made straight black. It doesn’t do anything new, it’s not filled with subtle flavors. Drinking too much might be too bland after a while. But smaller cups give you that caffeine boost and are incredibly satisfying. The presentation is nice, the barista obviously knows how to make a coffee and more importantly, they care about their product.
Story of a Gladiator Links
Story of a Gladiator Review Summary
One half of the YouTube brother duo, The Game Bros with Sirhc and Ar0n, Chris is a lover of games, movies and other great things you can do from home.
Coffee of choice: I like the sweeter kinds, mixed with chocolate, coconut, caramel etc. but I won’t turn down a flat white or a straight black either.