I like pirates, ninjas, and warriors of all kinds, but there is something decidedly off-putting about Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat. It’s hard to finger at first, but then it hit me: the game requires prior watching of the reality-based television show that the two fighting game in this title come from. After some play time, I realized the Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat (along with the show) lacks the fantasy that we’ve all grown accustomed to when thinking of these character archetypes. The realism makes for some truly boring fights.
When you think of a ninja, what’s the first image that comes to mind? I’ll tell you- it’s a bad ass in black who can seemingly teleport, run up vertical walls, and cut things down in a single sword slash. Want a better example? Spartans. I’m willing to put down money that the first thing that to mind is King Leonidas yelling that oh-so-famous quote and kicking a Persian messenger into a bottomless pit.
The Deadliest Warrior carries too much realism here for these its own good. Like Bushido Blade, characters take damage to the body as a whole and to individual appendages. Get hit enough in the leg and you’ll limp. Let it take more damage and it’s coming off. The problem is that matches never last long enough for that to happen. Seriously, less than 10 hits and the round is already over. There were a few moments when I had lost an arm and was able to fight, but it was at a severe disadvantage. Losing a limb means that essentially, you can’t defend. That’s a huge loss as each fighter as carries two melee weapons and a projectile weapon which you use a limited number of times per contest.
For $30, I say do yourself a favor and buy SEGA’s Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown and pocket the change.
Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat has two games packed on the disc: Deadliest Warrior: The Game and Deadliest Warrior: Legends. The former has generic archetypes such as ninja and samurai. The latter, however, has actual figures like Shaka Zulu and Vlad the Impaler. Also packed on the disc are 6 episodes from the show, which is a nice touch.
There’s a distinct lack of balance in both games. In Deadliest Warrior, the unarmored characters like the monk and the pirate are no match for the heavily armored tanks like the samurai and centurion. Things change a bit in Legends where there are only two unarmored characters–Shaka Zulu and Sun Tzu. The former has a shield and plays like everyone else, while the latter is much faster; think Wolverine’s speed vs Sagat’s in Capcom’s Vs. series.
There’s enough fighting depth to keep you entertained for a short amount of time, but there’s no boss and the game just abruptly ends. I guess after killing the other characters, no one would dare challenge you. There are also a slew of unlockables. In both games, each character has three unlockable weapons, plus an unlockable outfit. If you’re a completionist, you’ll love playing for every little thing to give you an edge. If you’re like me, however, you couldn’t care less.
Deadliest Warrior : Ancient Combat isn’t necessarily broken or bad, but there’s not enough entertaining game in the game. For $30, I say do yourself a favor and buy SEGA’s Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown and pocket the change.