The Xbox Live Arcade has always been a digital library of downloadable games since the early days of this generation of gaming. In rare cases, publishers have grouped collections of XBLA titles together to warrant a disc-based release. Usually offering a large discount, these compilation discs are a great way for publishers and developers to benefit by increasing their games’ availability. Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat is a collection of Deadliest Warrior: The Game and Deadliest Warrior: Legends, as well as both of the expansion packs that were released post launch.
At $30, Ancient Combat doesn’t really offer any discount. Each title can be purchased alone for $10, so ultimately you spend two extra dollars for the “bonus,” a second DVD, that acts as a “Best Of” set of six episodes from the Deadliest Warrior TV show. While neat to hardcore fans of the franchise, this doesn’t come close to the “added bonuses” Pipeworks and Spike were hinting at.
To anyone who has not played a Deadliest Warrior game, it’s basically Bushido Blade. It is a 3D Fighting Game pitting two historical fighters against each other, in what can best be described as a bloody mess. Matches typically end within seconds of starting, usually rewarding the player who mashes a button or throws a spear the fastest. It’s certainly not innovative, despite trying to maintain realism. Quite honestly, Deadliest Warrior will be most enjoyed by gamers who cannot understand what a true Fighting Game entails. To accompany this pitiful excuse for game play: the graphics, voice acting, audio and overall presentation cannot be described without the word “awful” being used at least once.
Really, I am left confused wondering why this release took almost an entire year to materialize. I understand manufacturing DVDs and cases is not an overnight process; but so many months? Perhaps choosing only six episodes to include was too difficult of a choice, and that is where most of the time went. Both games included in Ancient Combat were released within a year of each other, yet we have heard no news of a third game being released this July. Either this is a last ditch effort to accumulate profit from the series, or word on a Deadliest Warrior 3 has been kept secret from us all.
When simply looking at Ancient Combat from a “money’s worth” perspective, it is a ripoff. The combo contains no real soul to it. Had extra gametypes or time sensitive unique DLC been included; then fans might be prompted to pick this up. But to convince newcomers to spend $30 on two digital releases, that are largely the same game is ludicrous. Especially given the game’s amount of recycled content, slapping both versions and all characters together into some sort of Deadliest Warrior: Armageddon could not have been a difficult endeavor.
There are exactly two scenarios where buying Ancient Combat is a logical move. First, a gamer has a legitimate distaste towards digital distribution, or strictly prefers physical content. Second, a diehard fan of the Deadliest Warrior franchise needs this combo to complete his collection. Otherwise, purchasing both of these games simultaneously is blatant overkill. The LIMBO, Trials HD & Splosion Man compilation is a worthwhile investment because you get three great titles, at a discount. But to compare the Deadliest Warrior games on the same level is borderline insulting.
Ancient Combat attempts to create quick revenue by re-releasing two absolutely terrible 3D fighting games onto a disc at a budget price. No new features are added, and anyone with Xbox Live can try these games for free before committing to a purchase. Neither game has ever had much of an online community, and the games’ few saving graces fall flat within hours. If I purchase ten gallons of mayonnaise, I’ll definitely acquire it a “discount.” But why the hell would I ever need that much fucking mayonnaise?
Score: 2 / 5