There’s certainly something to be said for a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Deadliest Warrior is a traditional fighting game at first glance, but once you delve deeper into the download it becomes clear that this is something a bit different. You can lop off limbs, achieve instant kills with arrow shots through someone’s eyeball and pull off some of the most gruesome fatalities since Mortal Kombat. If that alone is enough to warrant a ten dollar investment, then Deadliest Warrior is for you. If you’re looking for a traditional fighting game like Street Fighter, you might be left disappointed.
Deadliest Warrior is based on the Spike TV show of the same name that pits some of history’s greatest combatants against one another in totally preposterous yet undeniably epic battles. And therein lies the reason that Deadliest Warrior will find a home with some gamers. The notion of having a fighting game that pits a pirate against a viking is just as awesome as it sounds. So awesome, in fact, that as I’m writing this there are three IGN editors standing over my shoulder shouting about how they just turned Charles Onyett’s pirate into a peg leg.
The game adheres to the same premise of the show and gives gamers eight fighters from throughout history to choose from. The list includes a Viking, Apache, Centurion, Ninja, Knight, Samurai, Pirate, and Spartan. All of the warriors have different weapons, both ranged and melee, as well as different attack speed and power. Every fighter seemed fairly well balanced, though I’m sure some die hard Street Fighter fan will hop into the game and prove me wrong.
Deadliest Warrior isn’t designed for the Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat fans of the world. The gameplay lacks depth and doesn’t have nearly as much strategy as a typical fighting game, which undoubtedly hurts the download’s lasting appeal. But for those that aren’t concerned about the depth of their fighting game, Deadliest Warrior will likely fit the bill.
While it lacks the usual combos and moves that require precisely timed button presses, it does have plenty gruesome fatalities and attacks that are entertaining to watch. You can hack off limbs two seconds into a fight and watch your opponent trudge ever closer, bloody stump in tow. Of course, if that doesn’t work you can always just shoot your arrow or throw your spear directly into your opponent’s brain. That’s sure to bring him down if you can nail the toss.
Sadly, the gameplay is fairly limited with only two real modes of play. You get the main ladder system that has you work your way through all eight fighters and includes a few interesting bonus mini-games, and there’s also the standard multiplayer options like ranked and unranked games as well as local play. There are little trinkets like a training mode, but those don’t really add much to the game after you get a feel for the action.
The visuals in Deadliest Warrior won’t turn many heads unless you’re oddly attracted to lots and lots of blood. There are seams on some of the character models where their limbs are designed to split from their body and the camera can be a bit wonky at times (especially while dodging an incoming attack as forcing the camera to rotate can take some time). Thankfully, the game makes up for its mediocre graphics with more hilariously chopped off limbs and blood smears than your typical fighting game.
Overall Deadliest Warrior has some great moments where the personality of its creators shines through and I have no doubt that non-fighting game fans are going to find something to enjoy in this download. Still, I can’t help but think that those looking for some depth along with their new fighting game are going to be left a bit disappointed. There just isn’t enough staying power in either the gameplay or the modes to satiate those looking to peel back the initial layers and still have plenty to enjoy. That withstanding, if you’re looking for something simple and bloody (and I mean bloody) that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Deadliest Warrior could be for you.