Gladiator Begins is a prequel to the PS2 game Colosseum: Road to Freedom. The game is set near the end of the emperorship of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, the last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome. The player controls a gladiator in the arena and fights on behalf of one of five powerful patrons. They can customize their appearance, weapons, and abilities, and during combat their gladiator will encounter a number of different scenarios, including battles against slaves, other gladiators, and even animals.
There are a number of weapon combos available for use, and each gladiator can build their own style with different fighting techniques and maneuvers. Additional weapons, armor, and characters can be purchased from the DLC store using in-game currency.