Back from the Grave

Fans of the hit Spike TV show Deadliest Warrior are more than familiar with its concept. A pair of history’s greatest factions or individual warriors are pitted against each other in a computer simulated battle after using real-life statistical input by modern experts on their techniques and practices. Using this data, not only does Spike TV put on an entertaining hour long show with three seasons (and hopefully more soon) under its belt, but they’ve put out a pair of games based on some of their most epic match-ups that are meant to relive the highest highs of the show.  And conveniently now, they have compiled both of those downloadable games into one disc, including all the DLC, a bonus arena, and six episodes from Season Three of the show for the price of $29.99.

So, on paper, this is worth it because if you didn’t get these games the first time around, you’re basically getting everything you could’ve bought online via XBLA or PSN, plus half a season of Season Three of the show. But compared to a lot of the other fighting games out there, unfortunately, these games really have trouble stacking up. Although definitely different, fighting fans that aren’t familiar with the show will have a lot of trouble getting into these games, especially with the lack of a life-bar in Legends and the one-hit kills in both games. And since technically Legends is better as a lot of the collision issues from the first game were fixed, the fighting game veterans whose curiosity get the better of them might even pass over the first game altogether.

What really holds these games back though is the depth and replay value because there just aren’t a lot of fighting fans that have stuck with these games so there is little online community to be found to fight against. And the CPU, even with varying difficulty levels, can only offer so much resistance. And if you really were a fan of the series and bought these games the first time around, there is no reason to buy these games again as the only real difference is the TV episodes and a single arena.

So, when all is said and done, Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat is a great bang for your buck if you’re a fan of the franchise, can look past the technical shortcomings, and didn’t get these games online already, but if you’re just a diehard fighting fan or already have these on XBLA or PSN, there is no need to bother with buying this all over again.

SUMMARY: Fans of the SpikeTV show will enjoy having a chance to relive some of the battles they’ve seen on TV and the bonus DVD is nice, but when compared to other entries in the fighting genre, the Deadliest Warrior franchise comes up a little short and won’t satisfy people looking for a deeper fighting experience.

  • THE GOOD: Strong bang for your buck
  • THE BAD: Lacks the polish of other fighters
  • THE UGLY: Post-death twitching corpses

SCORE: 5.0

Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat is available on Xbox 360 (XBLA) and PS3 (PSN). Primary version reviewed was on Xbox 360.