Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat
Developer: Pipeworks Software
Price: $30
Platform: PS3 & 360

Now I’m sure you’re all quite familiar with the Spike TV show ‘Deadliest Warrior’ where they bring in a group of experts who explain the basic tactics of the combatants they represent then toss all the info into this program called the ‘Bullshitter’ then call it a day. Besides the constant pain inducing feelings the show causes to anyone who’s read a history book, they decided to make a game because putting a Spartan in a 1v1 fight against a ninja makes more sense that way. Ancient Combat is a retail bundle of the two previous downloadable titles Deadliest Warrior and DW: Legends. Besides getting the joy of playing through both of those titles again, you’ll also be ‘treated’ to new weapons, all the DLC, a new map, and 6 episodes from the TV show.

When you start up the game you’ll notice that you’ll have to download both Deadliest Warrior and DW: Legends before you play. I checked and they’re both the same size as the downloadable version which makes me wonder why they didn’t just redesign the game to include everything on a single disc without the need for a download. You still need the disc to play the games even though you basically downloaded them which is odd. Players hoping to pit a pirate against Alexander the Great are going to be severely disappointed when they find out that’s it’s an actual true to words bundle and not a combined bundle like I’m sure many people will think.

You’ll find just over a dozen fighters in both titles ranging from the biggest hits from each season. While DW contains the more basic characters such as samurai or knight, Legends contains the more notable ones like Hannibal and Khan. In both games you’ll be able to unlock various weapons and outfits for each character that adds a nice degree of customization. The key feature developers need to nail in a fighting game is balance, without it players are basically forced to play as the stronger character or suffer constant defeat against players who do use them. Just like in the show, if you throw a ninja in against a knight you can pretty much expect that ninja to come out in a body bag. Unarmored characters will go down in as little as 5 hits at times with the tougher characters able to take quite a beating, especially if they have a shield. Anyone with a throwing weapon does have the potential to score a 1-hit kill if they nail a headshot, but those are few and far between that when they actually happen you don’t mind; expect you and your friends to have vocal “OH SHIT” moments when one of you manages to pull one off. It really doesn’t help matters when the controls are easily some of the worst in a fighting game. You’ll stumble around the fully 3D arenas while trying to clumsily try to refocus your character on your opponent. There’s a list of moves you can perform, but honestly they’re all a complete joke. There’s nothing complex to it and you’ll basically mash your way to victory. I suppose you could say “BUT DIEGO, THIS WASN’T MADE FOR FIGHTING FANS! IT’S MADE FOR FUN!” and I would reply with “Well then if you enjoy playing with shit, have fun”. I like my fighting games to have some actual effort put in their development and not run on a gimmick of limb removal.

Both games share the same arcade mode where you’ll go through a dozen or so fights unlocking new weapons for your chosen character along the way. You’ll get the occasional diversion like slicing pigs like in the show to break things up. Legends adds a Generals mode (similar to Risk) where you work your way along a map capturing areas to eventually have the map under your control. It’s incredibly slow and boring, I honestly don’t see why they thought it was a good idea to put this in a fighting game. I suppose it’s nice for them to try to spice things up, but they could have done it in better ways. For multiplayer you’ve got your basic 1 on 1 fight and you can even do skirmish fights where both players pick up to 4 fighters instead of one. Legends does have a few tweaks you can do like slice and zombie, but that’s it and they’re not even that interesting. Besides the local multiplayer there’s also an online lobby you can join, but good luck finding any players in that ghost town.

I’d like to think the graphics look ugly on purpose to make up for the amount of gore spraying everywhere, but there’s hardly any gore when you want it. I think after a dozen matches against a friend, maybe 4 of those lead to a decapitation or removed limb. The zombie/slice mode in Legends does help this issue by making almost each attack slice something off. You might say I’m nitpicking because I want to see arms flying off all the time, well to that I say why the hell are you watching Deadliest Warrior for if not for the decapitations? What, are people really watching it for the historical accuracy? On the other hand, the gore is stupidly funny to look at. There’s no better feeling than slicing an arm off your opponent and watching as he fumbles around trying to take a swing at you only to be met with a decapitation.

The Final Word
I highly recommend that you stay away from this if you’re a fighting game fan and only purchase it if you’re a huge fan of the show. Hell, even then I’d only excuse you purchasing it if you were drunk, and by drunk I mean so drunk that the town drunk is telling you to put the drink down.

- MonsterVine Rating: 2 out of 5 – Poor