When I reviewed the original Deadliest Warrior game last year, I came away impressed simply because the game was mindless, gruesome fun. Now, Pipeworks has returned with a follow-up, and while it adds plenty to the formula, I really feel this would have been better served as a DLC package as opposed to a full-fledged game. Still, if you never checked out the original, Legends makes it nearly useless to even bother with it as it retains everything that made the original fun and adds to it. If you enjoy mindless fighting action that relies more on chance and luck as opposed to skill and combat prowess, then Deadliest Warrior Legends is definitely for you.
Much like its predecessor, Legends is a fighting game in the same style as Squaresoft’s original PSOne title Bushido Blade. It is a one-on-one contest where you can freely move around the environment with one-hit kills not uncommon. You see, instead of relying on long string combos or strategy, the game relies on who hits whom the hardest and in the right place. You can literally toss a spear at the beginning of the match and instantly win if it hits your opponent in the head. This makes for some hilarious matches against your friends, just don’t expect to master this game like you would a normal fighter.
The biggest difference between the original and this iteration is that you no longer fight as nameless scrubs; this time around, you are actually the famous warriors from the show. Names like William Wallace, Attila the Hun and, of course, the master of war, Sun Tzu, are all accounted for, and it actually adds to the authenticity to be playing as the actual characters. Sure, the voice acting is still ridiculous and out of sync, but who cares, it is supposed to be campy fun.
Another big addition to Legends is the General mode. Basically, this plays out like a game of Risk, where spots are battled over with one-on-one encounters with the enemy. You can play against a friend locally, or the AI, and everything here is totally random, but definitely fun to play. This is, of course, as long as you don’t go into it expecting tons of depth. It is as shallow as the kiddy pool, but even at that, it is a nice diversion to simply fighting one-on-one.
Every character feels unique and has a specific set of weapons. Everyone has a long- and short-range weapon and a projectile. Some are much better than others, and the balance is completely broken. For instance, some characters have large shields that make it nearly impossible to land headshots or even catch a quick instance to get inside and hit them, while others simple have to rely on blocking with a blade. That is probably one of the biggest problems and why the game will never be taken seriously. There are some characters that just have a huge advantage. Thankfully, this game isn’t meant to be a tournament fighter, so as long as you can accept that, you will find plenty of enjoyment in dismembering your foes.
Visually, the game hasn’t changed much since the last one. A few more animations and some better environments are the major changes, but this still looks and feels like the last game. The menus are the biggest improvement to the visual aesthetic by far, with the sound continuing to be plagued with horrid voice acting and forgettable music. As for extras, the game has plenty, including the nearly lag-free online play. Sure, it is as unbalanced as the rest of the game, and there are one or two characters that everyone loves to pick to win, but when you toss an arrow directly into an opponent’s head for an instant win, the satisfaction makes up for the frustration.
Deadliest Warrior Legends is a solid, if slightly unneeded, follow-up to the original. As I mentioned, a proper DLC pack would have been sufficicient, although with this much content, I imagine it would have cost just as much in the long run, and the inclusion of twelve new Achievements isn’t such a bad thing. If you enjoyed the original, you will undoubtedly enjoy Legends. Just don’t expect it to change the world, or even the series for that matter.
Review copy provided by publisher.