Giant Bomb Review


Deadliest Warrior: The Game Review

  • XBGS

Quick, bloody death makes Deadliest Warrior kind of charming, but its "first mistake loses" mentality wears thin fast.

 Push X, X, Y, Y to win.
Deadliest Warrior is a neat idea for a TV show and the idea, at least, translates into games reasonably well. The premise is that they're trying to accurately look at combatants over the years, from knights to ninjas, and determining which type of combat was the best. In the game, this translates into viking vs. apache, knight vs. samurai, or... yeah... pirate vs. ninja. It's a clever idea, but the mechanics of this high-damage fighting game don't lead to a lot of interesting depth, making it all fall flat.

The core of the fighting involves high, mid, and low attacks that combo together for short two-to-four hit strings. A stamina meter prevents you from just running up in your opponent's face and attacking forever, and every character has a limited number of projectiles (the ninja has stars, the pirate has muskets) that can be launched with the tap of a button. Attacks will occasionally lop off an arm, leg, or head, but even basic four-hit combos can deplete an opponent's entire life bar. To put it mildly, the rounds usually don't last very long, and it usually comes down to the player that made the first up-close mistake getting ripped apart.

That means that playing defense can be pretty important. There's a regular block that'll stop incoming attacks (though characters that don't have shields can't block projectiles), and you can combine that block with the attack buttons to attempt to parry incoming attacks. Guessing which height the opponent is attacking with isn't especially easy, but when you parry, the game slows down and gives you a free hit... which can completely end a match in many cases.

Waiting for the enemy to slip up can be tedious. 
There's something cool about the violent and harsh nature of how Deadliest Warrior plays, but its quick rounds aren't especially satisfying. Part of this is the animation's fault, which makes the strikes look weak. And since the game slows down for a second to emphasize parries and round-ending strikes, it can be difficult to tell them apart.

There's an arcade mode and a few different ways to play offline, as well as a few online modes for ranked, unranked, and tournaments. There appear to be some serious issues with the online as of this writing, as the game typically doesn't connect me with another player when I attempt a quick match, and creating a match and letting someone eventually join usually ends with a "player has left the match" message as soon as the fight is finished loading up. Going through all of the player matching hassle for a couple of quick-death rounds makes it all feel like way more trouble than it's worth. Other issues include a versus screen bug that sometimes shows the apache, even though you're playing as the ninja. The whole thing feels a little amateurish in execution.

Deadliest Warrior isn't entirely without merit, as the speedy nature of the fights along with the constant dismemberments make it kind of funny. But the technical issues surroundng the action make the game's $10 asking price feel pretty steep. Even then, old games like Bushido Blade do this style of high-damage combat better. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
Edited by metalsnakezero

Wow, I really want to know who's the one that came up with this idea?

Edited by SuperSambo

Piss poor game, giving it 2 stars is very generous.

Posted by OneKillWonder_

This doesn't surprise me in the least.

Posted by Gearhead


Posted by glitznglam_style

Buy DeathSpank and leave this crap to rot. Problem solved! :)
Posted by CaptainFish

QL coming?


Posted by Landon

Number of people who wanted a Red Dead Redemption Review: 2000+
Number of people who wanted a Deadliest Warriors review: 0

Edited by MrKlorox

Would have liked a QL even though I already bought the game. It's alright but needs to remove the health bar from the HUD and add recharging health that won't fill up all the way once you lose limbs. Bushido Blade was great because you didn't wear your opponent's health down, you just had to get a killing blow.
This isn't the modern Bushido Blade reimagining I wanted by any means, but it's a decent little game. It's priced right at $10.
Hope they fix the hitches in a patch though. Nothing worse than inconsistency when it comes movements in fighting games.
Fighting snobs need not apply. You have your own elite cliques to play with in your megapopular games anyway.

Posted by Yummylee

Grateful for this review. Haven't seen all to many reviews that I trust post one up and was fairly interested in its concept.

Posted by JoelTGM

The show isn't that great.  They don't actually do a good job at determining who will win the fight in the end.  It's kind of frustrating to watch actually.  The only good thing about it is watching them demonstrate the different weapons.

Posted by Hockeymask27

Bought this game and while it deserves 2 stars. Dont knock it i'm still having lots of fun. It's all about the concept for me. Ninja vs pirate why not?

Posted by MrKlorox
@glitznglam_style said:
" Buy DeathSpank and leave this crap to rot. Problem solved! :) "
I was just the opposite. I HATED deathspank with an ultimate passion, and I really like Ron Gilbert. This game doesn't try to be a whole bunch of things it isn't.
Posted by MrRedwine

I'm glad Jeff wrote this review.  I hope people will give the game a chance despite the low rating.  If you are in to fighting games and real martial arts, this game is pretty fun.
I am hoping they add a few more characters and arenas and patch the roughest edges, but so far, i really like it.
Just as a final note, I think the comparison to Bushido Blade is something that might be colored with time.  Going back and playing Bushido Blade, I remembered how ridiculous the controls were for that game.  To throw a projectile, you had to step forward, crouch, then throw the projectile.  Each character only had one weapon (thus one range).  And the character with a gun in that game was TOTALLY overwpoered.   This game fixes all of that.  So, if you liked Bushido Blade, or just think a savage fighting game might be fun.  Check this one out.


The show is one of dumbest fucking things I have seen on television.  "Hur der hur u small Asian, my giant penis blade will cut your leg off punk...look at it cut dis cow's ass off".  "Pah pah puh please large black man, my throwing rock will crack your dum dum skull derka der"  
No surprise its video game isn't very good.  

Posted by Tikicobra

Based on what I've heard about how quick the battles are in this game, it sounds like it would be well-suited to the iPhone.

Posted by Godlyawesomeguy
@CaptainFish said:

QL coming?


I second this request.
Posted by fedorajay

I love the Bushido Blade series and still play it to this day. I agree with Jeff, this is not BB. :(

Posted by fresh2deafbill

I love the show, but after playing one game in the trial that i won in 5 seconds by throwing one spear, I'm not gonna but this one. The show is awesome though

Posted by zombie2011

What? This came out of nowhere.

Posted by SteamPunkJin

I'm having a lot of fun with it - nothing overly complex, no needing to spend 12hours to master a character. While it feels, not cheap exactly, random at times I think it's a decent game. My only real complaints so far have been minor texture things, and more varied dismemberment would be nice, but at the same time it's so damn quick and brutal that I can't help but have fun with it..

Posted by SuperSambo
@Landon said:
" Number of people who wanted a Red Dead Redemption Review: 2000+ Number of people who wanted a Deadliest Warriors review: 0 "
Listen to the podcast for their views.
Posted by StevieQ

Yeah 2 stars seems about right. 

Posted by Landon
@SuperSambo said:
" @Landon said:
" Number of people who wanted a Red Dead Redemption Review: 2000+ Number of people who wanted a Deadliest Warriors review: 0 "
Listen to the podcast for their views. "
Yeah I know, I just thought it was bizarre that Jeff reviewed this game.
Posted by Soffish

While it definitely deserves two stars, I have been having a lot of fun with the game. Too bad the online is busted.

Posted by freakin

At first I really liked the tv show, but the actual outcomes suck compared to people testing out the weapons.  It's usually wildly obvious who's going to win and what actually happens in the mock up battle is usually always eye rollingly ridiculous.

Edited by DarkPredatorUK

I absolutely love this game, very Bushido blade and for $10 its an absolute blast, everyone is different though so I can see why jeff isnt a fan.

Posted by freakin
@Landon said:
" @SuperSambo said:
" @Landon said:
" Number of people who wanted a Red Dead Redemption Review: 2000+ Number of people who wanted a Deadliest Warriors review: 0 "
Listen to the podcast for their views. "
Yeah I know, I just thought it was bizarre that Jeff reviewed this game. "
Jeff has a penchant for fighting games, I would've found it bizarre if he hadn't.
Posted by SuperSambo
@Landon said:

" @SuperSambo said:

" @Landon said:
" Number of people who wanted a Red Dead Redemption Review: 2000+ Number of people who wanted a Deadliest Warriors review: 0 "
Listen to the podcast for their views. "
Yeah I know, I just thought it was bizarre that Jeff reviewed this game. "
 Jeff really likes fighting games and it would take very little time to make. 
Red Dead was an odd ommision though. Im guessing that by the time they got to the stage they felt they could review it, it was too past the release date. 
Posted by RandomInternetUser

I played the demo, and I can see that it's not especially great, but damn if it ain't fun for some quick laughs.  Can't wait until it's out for PSN, hope it's soon.

Edited by VibratingDonkey

I can't claim being a fighting game expert as the last one I gave the time of day was Tekken 3, but I quite like this one. The methodical pace, deadly encounters and rather ridiculous violence is something I'm into.
The whole thing does feel pretty budget, with the online stuff in particular not working very perfectly, but I think it was well worth the 800 points.

Posted by MooseyMcMan
@Gearhead said:
" Quicklook! "
YES! Save me the trouble of downloading the trial version just to see how bad it is. 
Posted by ectoplasma
@Landon said:
" Number of people who wanted a Red Dead Redemption Review: 2000+ Number of people who wanted a Deadliest Warriors review: 0 "
That's not true I actually wanted that.
Edited by jerm
Posted by FunExplosions

Hah, this will be really fun to play with some friends. I'll pick it up from the bargain bin in the very far future.

Posted by Nes
@jerm: If I recall, most of the 5-star ratings were given before the full game came out. (since it had its own page in the marketplace for the trailer) Same reason why LIMBO is ranked fourth overall.
Posted by Depth

This game is actually a lot of fun, definitely worth the money.

Posted by Cambody

I only played the demo on xbla.  But this was the cheapest looking and playing game that I have played in a long time.  The first time I played I was the spartan or something and I got killed in one or two moves by the ninja.  The second time I played the ninja and killed the computer by pressing four buttons.  Not even really tactfully I just pressed em when he was semi close.  This games a joke, I know it you know it and the people that released it probably know it.  But Ill give em credit, they didn't have the stones to make it a standard 1200MS point game, so kudos on that I guess.

Posted by VibratingDonkey
@Cambody:  The high damage and seemingly random one hit kills does make it luck-based to some degree. The game's pretty obviously not made for professional play. But for those who take it less seriously it can be highly entertaining. Also I like the slower, more defensively oriented pacing that comes with the lethality of the attacks. But now I'm just repeating myself.
Posted by Johnny5

I actually think you could take this style of gameplay and make it fun.  
Like a 1v1 style of semi realistic martial arts, where each person carefully plans eaach strike and block, testing his oppoonent and looking for an opening then making a disabling blow. Then you'd follow it up with another round so the shortness isnt hindering the game.

Posted by toadstule

Seems like reactions to this game are pretty mixed. But people have to remember that this game isn't trying to be the next Street Fighter or Tekken. Also, I think the gameplay is much deeper than some people make it out to be. This game is not about simply chaining combos but more about defending and dodging while waiting for your opponent to make a mistake so you can deliver a fatal blow.

Posted by RobotHamster

I know they took down the quick look but are they going to put it back up?  A game like this should make for an entertaining ql.

Posted by Brackynews

Ohh the QL I watched was for Tournament of Legends. Jeez I didn't even think about them being different games. >_<
Seems like the best thing out of this game is the new load of avatar clothing now on the marketplace. Some of those shields and helmets look badass.

Posted by C0V3RT

EVO 2011!  Make it happen!

Posted by Baal_Sagoth

Cool review. I'm really into the idea conceptually and have always followed games using brutal, quickly fatal combat with some interest. From reading the review the existence of an old-shool health-bar seems counterproductive as opposed to a system that would utilize "OHK"-style killing blows.
Here's hoping someone will improve the formula in a more meaningful way!

Posted by The_Laughing_Man


Posted by viper3der

i want it but........

Posted by Lind_L_Taylor

The TV show is great. You learn something. But this game sucks
ass & Jeff proved it.

Posted by JThree47693

What in the hell were they thinking by making this game?

Posted by ruffedgz

I'm not surprised with this review as the game looks like an interesting concept but I saw a few short coming when reading and watching about this game. Thanks for the review Jeff and I appriciate your opinion about the game :D