Probably the most realistic fighting game in the history of the genre, Deadliest Warrior has a brutally steep difficulty level that will take some time to get used to. The match-ups that you can create (pirates vs. ninjas anyone?) are epic, and though some battles may seem unbalanced, each warrior has been hand picked for the game and has plenty of moves to defend themselves.
This is not a fighting game for button mashers, so if that’s how you battle, you might want to leave this one alone. Players are going to have to use their instincts and pay close attention to the “moves list” that is provided for each warrior. Careful timing of swings and dodging out of the way of danger is the only way you’re going to become the deadliest warrior. Make one wrong move and it could mean your life; certain attacks will have you swinging large weapons that will leave you wide open and vulnerable to attack if you miss your target.
Success however, due to the realistic nature of the game, could be one perfectly timed move away, even if your enemy is at full health. For instance, the (unlockable) Viking double spear throw, will usually cut a shield-less warrior’s life short before he has the chance to blink. Those that don’t roll with shields need to constantly be on the move, if they stop for one second and an opponent takes advantage of it, it’s game over.
Though fighters with shields definitely have a better defense in place, they’re much slower than those without. Every fighter also has the option of a two handed weapon (or dual wielding at the least) that will lower defenses but make for some powerful attacks. Deciding when it’s safe to lower your defenses is another strategy that you’ll be forced to learn the hard way.
Projectiles will usually end the match quickly if fighters aren’t defending themselves, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the marker indicating how many you (and your enemy) have left. The last thing you want to do is be five feet from a pirate when he’s pulling his pistol out. Point blank head shots will kill you, no matter how much life you have left in you.
A warrior customization option allows you to change the starting weapons and outfits of every fighter to save your preferences. But be careful, after you’ve changed warrior preferences, the AI will have the upgraded weapons that you’ve customized the fighter with. It saves time before the fight, but can make for some tougher competition.
Sticking to the series roots, every warrior is historically accurate, with weapons that follow suit. Every weapon and piece of armor in the game has a story behind it, and it’s all 100% authentic. This is one of the main features that sets Deadliest Warrior apart from the crowd in an overflowing genre. Though we could have asked for more warriors to choose from, the eight that are provided are amazing in their own right.
The warriors that you’ll have to choose from are as follows:
Apache: By the mid-1800s the Apaches were primarily a raiding tribe, collecting money for scalps or raiding for materials (steel, food, etc.) they were masters of combat and stealth.
Centurion: A Centurion led 100 men in the Roman Army. Frequently they rose to their rank by simply surviving battles. Acts of great courage could earn them a faster promotion.
Knight: The Knight, typified by plate armor and jousting, was the elite warrior of Medieval Europe. Success in combat was the surest way to achieve fame, riches and royal favor.
Ninja: Ninjas were trained in stealth arts of espionage, sabotage and assassination. Rebellious farmers and peasants, they employed techniques that would have been unsuitable for the honor-bound Samurai.
Pirate: Pirates were seagoing bandits, smuggling embargoed goods and harassing ships of organized navies. Ruthless, brutal and cunning, the pirate had at his disposal the most modern of weapons.
Samurai: The military class in Japan, Samurai were landholders with enough money to purchase armor and swords. They lived and died by Bushido, their code of ethics and honor.
Spartan: The culture of Sparta focused almost exclusively on warfare. Trained from birth the Spartan warrior’s life revolved around combat and believed that the group was more important than the individual.
Viking: Hearty sailors, Vikings were the scourge of coastal villages in Northern Europe. Those who died bravely in battle were chosen to go to Valhalla and await the final battle Ragnarok.
It would be nice to see some more warriors as DLC later down the road, even if we have to pay for them. The lack of levels leaves something to be desired as well, with only five arenas (Greek Amphitheatre, Castle Courtyard, Jungle Temple, Bamboo Sanctuary and the Fight Lab) the scenery tends to get old quick. Even if we had one arena per fighter, it would be welcome DLC.
Online matches are tough to get into and short lived once you’re in. Though this is an annoyance to see loading screen after loading screen, it’s common among fighting games. The nature of the battles in Deadliest Warrior (fast, realistic fighting) also makes rounds much shorter. The real meat is going to be in single player arcade mode, where series favorites such as cutting through pig carcasses come in as bonus rounds to unlock more weapons.
For the price of an arcade game, you get near enough to package it with a disc and sell it on the shelf. This is an amazing, realistic fighter, that will give you hours of gameplay. It’s been a long time since a fighter has been this graphic and down-right shocking. It’s a great feeling when you’re limping and missing one arm (bleeding out) and you get the perfect hit that lands you an insta-kill. Deadliest Warrior sets the bar high for other arcade fighters on the XBL and PSN (later this year).