Back in 2003, when the Xbox/PS2/Gamecube generation was picking up in full force, there was a highly unplayed gem called Gladius. This Lucasarts Strategy RPG, set in a medieval/Roman era, had it all. The game was 4 players, it had so many different character types rangin from Centurions, Murmillos, Barbarians, Ogres and even giant scorpions!
In Gladius you can choose from 2 main characters, Ursula or Valens. The game is based on schools battling for supremacy in the lands. When I say schools I mean training with weapons, not Math battles or gym class dodge-ball. Ursula represents the normal campaign, as she starts with less powerful enemies while Valens is considered Expert mode. The main different is with Valens you start in Imperia, Ursula starts in her hometown.
So as the game plays on, you begin to build up the forces in your school. As you pass through neighboring towns, you enter battles and tournaments to ultimately win in that land's cup, finally reaching the final battle. As you go to these towns you can permanently recruit members to your school, or simply pay a smaller fee so they join you for 1 or 2 fights. Some of the battles you need to win to get to the final round in that land require certain classes. Some are all animal battles, some all female, things like this. But this game had it all! Skeleton warriors and shaman, mongrels which look like Planet of the Apes monkeys only much thinner. There's Satyr's who do jigs and drink wine from flasks/bottles, and spear throwers who do RIDICULOUS damage as you level up their abilities.
The game has a rock-paper-scissors type mechanic. Heavy beats medium, medium beats light, light beats heavy. Obviously heavy characters are stronger but slower, and light characters have better speed, but overall it works great! There's also an affinity system (elements) with stuff like fire, water, Air, earth, light and dark. These to have advantages and disadvantages between one another. Weapons also get these affinities attached to them occasionally and make for even more strategy in battle.
So let's get to the battling! Turn based, but also involving movement, is the name of the game here. So you choose where you want your character to walk to and depending on their stats/class they may take a turn or 2 to get there or you set it up so they move then attack. The order of attack is based on your stats, but also on appeasing the crowd. If the crowd likes your style, you can advantages such as more speed or more strength. The name of the game is not always to kill everyone (you knock them out not kill them anyway) but sometimes to beat a specific person, or survive a specific amount of time. The only way your characters can actually die is if you are confronted in the overworld while moving from town to town so be careful and save often. Lost odyssey and Last Remnant are probably close to its style since you do have button presses during attacks, only Gladius had a few different styles. Some involve hitting the right combination while others involve sequential mashing.
So I ask you Lucasarts... What's the hold up? EVERY video game site/magazine praised the game. It was available for Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube, and is still not super rare. But why not revive this game? I have been looking for a game with this exact fighting system SINCE 2003 and it's driving me insane! If any game could benefit from a sequel it is this game. Hell I'd take an XBLA version of the game with online battles anyday! I mean Gladius was a 4 player RPG for crying out loud! IF you never heard of this game and still own any of the systems it's on, buy it, especially if you love turn based RPGs as much as I do.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to start as Valens and take our some arrogant Centurions with elves and nipple-ringed Minotaurs.