The gameplay is good, but it does have some faults. The gladiatorial games are brought to you in turn-based action format. Each different move is done one turn at a time until the gladiators meet up and fight it out. Each time you take a swing at your opponent, a meter comes up, kind of like the golf swing meter, except you're swinging a sword and you must time your button press as the cursor moves across the meter. Some moves require other tactics. For one move you may have to stop the cursor in the red portion of the meter and another you may have to press certain buttons in a certain order. This adds another element to the traditional turn-based strategy involved in the game, perhaps frustrating those who don't have good hand-eye coordination and who would rather a more relaxed experience. Luckily, there is an option to turn off the meter, for those of you who don't want it.
The entire game is really one gigantic gladiator tournament. You fight in the leagues to get access to the tournaments, and then fight in the tournaments to get access to more tournaments. You see where this is going? Good. Moving on, the strategy is brought into play by two factors. One is a rock-paper-scissors clone. There are several different types of fighters, but only three are contained in this rock-paper-scissors match up; these are the light, medium, and heavy fighters. As you might imagine, heavy beats medium, which in turn, beats light. Light, however, doesn't really beat heavy; light does get a move that allows them to paralyze the heavy competition, but the paralyzation of the heavy soldiers wears off as soon as someone hits that soldier. Since neither the medium nor the light soldiers can do too much to them, it really doesn't pay to have anything but heavy.
The other factor is the different affinities, one for each element, and then light and dark. Each gladiator can have one attack affinity, and one defense affinity. As you battle, your attack affinity builds up, allowing you to unleash a very nasty elemental attack. This attack always hits, unless your opponent equips the same element as their defense affinity. For example, if I hit someone with a fire affinity attack, and that soldier has fire affinity for defense, then my attack does nothing. Just with these two factors, the game can get pretty deep, and that's not counting the other types of units and terrain factors into the game.