Spike TV has had considerable success with their television show, Deadliest Warrior. So, it's easy to make the assumption that the upcoming videogame based on the program might be little more than a crass cash-in.
That's why I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to check the game out at E3 this week. The means of taking the show's premise of pitting two disparate, historical warriors against one another and putting into the medium of games is about as simple as it gets. Deadliest Warrior is a one-on-one, 3D fighter that is surprising in its depth.
For those who have never watched an episode of Deadliest Warrior, the show will have a combination of warriors such as samurai and vikings and compare how their weapons, armor and combat tactics stack up against one another. Weapons are classed by range and weapons experts make predictions on who will win at each range.
The game is similarly presented. Each of eight warriors -- seven from the show's first season and a still unannounced character in the currently airing season -- has a selection of weapons that work at long, medium and short range and you can take one of each into battle. Playing through the game's single-player campaigns will unlock additional weapons for the warriors which can offer up different strategic options for battles. Characters also each have their own unique unblockable technique which can be used in limited quantity during a match.
Games are fast and brutal, usually lasting less than twenty seconds, as the majority of weapons are very deadly. The game reminded me in many ways of Bushido Blade in that a single hit in the right place will almost always result in death. Every weapon in the game has the potential to achieve this effect and it's an exciting experience to play.
Even though it's all over as quickly as it starts, there's a lot that can happen in a round of battle. Limbs can be incapacitated, even chopped off completely. Severe wounds have a bleeding effect that will eventually kill their victim as well, adding to the realism.
With multiple game modes, challenges and even a few mini-games, Deadliest Warrior has quite a bit of content for its ten dollar price tag and is a title I am surprised to find myself looking forward to. The pace of the battles and the variety of options for finding your perfect character is highly appealing. Won't be long to wait either, as the game releases on July 14th for Xbox Live Arcade and will be arriving on PSN shortly thereafter.