|System: Xbox 360*, PS3|
|Dev: Pipeworks Software|
|Pub: 345 Games|
|Release: April 17, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language|
All of this isn't to say that Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat doesn't do anything right. While its combat is simplistic and its matches short, they at least control well, insofar as they're responsive. Movement in particular is fluid, with mobility proving a solid tack, and weapon combos coming out quickly and on command, which is not always something that can be taken for granted. The vast selection of equipment is also intriguing, with multiple options for every fighter in both games, many of which only unlock when one uses that fighter in the game's arcade mode. None of these are outright game-changers, but many provide slight variations on how that character normally plays, allowing one to experiment and figure out which weapon set is most comfortable and intuitive. There are also somewhat cinematic instant kills in the game, which can be downright hilarious in Legends when they manage to combine with some of the awkward dialogue and voice-acting in a rare moment of clearly accidental synchronicity.
There's multiplayer, as well, which is more or less what you would expect. The fact that matches are so brief, though, and the gameplay as simplistic as it is doesn't really lend itself to an intricate or enduring fighting scene, though, and without any sort of framework beyond a point-based ranking system, online play soon falls as flat as the bulk of the game. To top it all off, the transition from a pair of hard-drive based downloadable titles to a disc-based retail product has not been kind to them. On the Xbox 360, the disc must be launched each time it's inserted to make the two games appear in the Games menu, and load times once one launches either of the titles are literally long enough that I managed to forget what I was doing at times (and, if tired, would begin to fall asleep).
To recap: The price is too high, the content is lacking, the game's fighting framework is the very definition of shallow, and its violence manages to come across as both puerile and dull. It can sometimes cross over into the realm of guilty pleasure, but this is a rare occurrence and one quickly overshadowed by this version's obscene loading times. There's something inherently gleeful about being able to pair off a ninja with a pirate, or William Wallace and Alexander the Great, but the basic premise can only take the final product so far. And "so far," in this case, is barely out of the starting gate.
Date: April 19, 2012