Well today we have a full disc game to review…kind of. Up on the block is Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat which is a compilation of the two downloadable Deadliest Warrior games with some extra content. I never got at these games when they were an ironic cult hit at release so this seemed like a good chance to see what all the fuss was about. In preparation I have watched the first two seasons of the show and now that I have had my mind sufficiently saturated in bro-dom I feel fully qualified to review this game; though if the show taught me anything it’s that if I give it a bad score they’ll just blame it on the computer not capturing “the soul of the game”.
We’ll do this one game at a time starting off with the first game, Deadliest Warrior: The Game. The best word to describe this game is “Neutral” as everything has this very general feel to it. The game looks like what movies think video games look like, very vague characters fighting in a vague arenas for no good reason. The gameplay is somewhat interesting at least as it’s essentially a mix of Soul Caliber and Bushido Blade though lacking the complexity or precision of either of those titles. Instead of the “one hit one kill” methodology of Bushido Blade you do have a set amount of health and while a good shot can mean a lost limb or an instant kill it overall feels more like a traditional fighting game along the lines of Soul Caliber. The basic idea works but in
practice what is and what is not fatal feels far more random than it should be and all my matches ended with me just firing off all my projectiles as fast as I could and then button mashing to victory; in a good game this would be a bad strategy, here it’s the easiest path to victory. Overall this is the weaker of the two games in this package and while you’ll spend a little time with it the majority of your focus will be spent on superior second game.
That second title would be Deadliest Warrior: Legends and it’s overall a more detailed experience. The combat is the same but instead of vague characters like “Viking” or “Ninja” you get actual characters who are historical figures like William Wallace or Sun Tzu, it doesn’t mean anything for the gameplay but it gives the game overall more character. There is also lot more weapons to choose from, better arenas, and a
really shitty strategy game you’ll get through half a match of and then never play again. This would be a decent package if it wasn’t for the fact that this half of the game is fucking broken. There is an error with the game where it will prevent you from switching weapons in battle if you don’t use the default set, even installed to the HDD all the loads are 30 seconds to a minute long, and there is some crazy clipping going on in the pre-fight intros. That last one is a minor-if not silly-problem but this whole disc feels busted and I have to wonder if it played like this in its original downloadable form.
On the matter of the disc itself this game does some weird stuff when it comes to start-up. Instead of bringing up a menu upon start-up and asking you which game you’d like to play it instead just places the two games into your Xbox360 game library and you have to load them
up like you would a downloadable title. This is unintuitive and kind of makes this disc feel weirdly jury-rigged. This move was clearly made so that this disc is cross compatible with the original downloadable versions of these games for online play. Unfortunately though no one is playing those original versions as I managed to find all of one match online in my time with it. At least the game does include six episodes (two episodes from each season) of the show to keep you busy when the game itself isn’t but it’s not like those are hard to find outside of this game. Keep in mind I was easily able to watch the whole first two seasons on Netflix and honestly the third season from what I’ve seen isn’t all that good as they change-up the hosts and focus a bit more on the bro-ness of the whole thing. On the bright side though this compilation does include all the DLC for these two games so at least if you do spend the $30 that’s all you’ll have to spend to get the full experience.
The base idea of these games are fine and the limb chopping action has some fun and inherent cheese to it that is enjoyable for an hour or two but overall this is a poor product. It just doesn’t feel very well put together and despite there being a lot of content and effort put towards cross-compatibility, a lack of general quality in the base games undermines that hard work; put simply this isn’t going to be at EVO any time soon. For the $30 this costs it’s not worth going out to the store. The better plan if you really want to get your Deadliest Warrior on is just to buy Deadliest Warrior: Legends on its own and save $20; it’s the better game of the two and the extra content here isn’t necessary to get the bit of fun this game has out of it. So for being some dumb fun but also really mediocre and kind of broken, Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat gets a 2 out of 5 stars; you’ll have a genuine good time for the first couple hours but after that it quickly wears thin and you’ll become bored and frustrated.