Deadliest Warrior: Legends was developed by Pipeworks and published by 345 Games / Spike Games. It was released on July 6, 2011 for 800 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.

Deadliest Warrior: Legends takes all the data from the famous Spike TV show and puts it into motion at your fingertips. In this new brutal installment, we get a handful of new characters, all with their own set of armor and weapons. Throw in a completely new game mode, some unlockables and a fighting style all its own and you’re ready for a bloody date with history.

Here’s what we liked:

Controls – The controls are spot on yet remain fairly simple. Attacks are broke down into three simple choices: high, medium, low. Beyond the melee weapon attacks, you also have a projectile weapon which has the ability to shoot high and low, as well as near and far. Grappling is its own complete mechanic, once initiated you must pick from three buttons (Y, X, A) to finish the grapple with an arm break, leg break or finishing move. Choosing the same button as your opponent will break your grapple move. Add in the abilities to push, parry and dodge you have a full arsenal of attacks to use in combat.

Options – Deadly Warrior: Legends has choices galore, from what mode to pick, to what fighter, to your choice of armor and weapons. It seems like your options never end. Each decision actually makes a noticeable change in gameplay, which is nice because no two modes ever feel alike. There are so many options that the options have options. Take battle mode for instance, which within itself has modes like slice, where almost any cut is lethal, or even zombie. The latter of the two is amazingly entertaining, each fighter is, for lack of a better word, undead. You fight till one opponent is incapable of moving anymore, even if you have to chase down just a set of legs for the final blow. Priceless.

Generals – This is a very Risk-style mode, where the object is to conquer territories on your journey to to take over your opponents castle. Each player is given a castle on opposite ends of the board, with neutral territories waiting to be conquered in between. Each territory is marked with a number, representing how many brigades you must defeat to take control. Some of these territories have castles on them which grant a special ability if conquered. These are not so easy to win over, as your final battle is a champion duel between the legend from that castle and yours. The more land and castles owned, the more brigades you receive at the beginning of each round. This makes each turn last a little longer allowing you to take over more land per round. This mode really shines in multiplayer as you are constantly having to change tactics and strategies against an unpredictable opponent.

Style – Each character has their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, which can be increased or decreased depending on the loadout that you choose. It’s very unique compared to other fighting games as one wrong move here and you could be dead. This adds an amazing emphases on timing, blocking and actually having a strategy. The fact that any fight can be over in roughly a second means you have to be on your toes. Deadly blows are not the only path to a quick death as there are also ledges you can be shoved off of, one hit projectile deaths and fatal grapples. Up close or at a distance it makes no matter as death can be just a half second away.

Multiplayer – A fighting game of any type is really meant to be played against people, and Deadliest Warrior: Legends is no exception. You get the full treatment here with both online and couch competition. Xbox Live offers up player matches, ranked matches and tournaments. You have the option of battle or skirmish (one team of warriors versus another) in ranked or tournament mode, but player matches give you a little more variation. In the player matches you are given more control over game options. All this is wrapped around a decent matchmaking system and lag free battles.

Here’s what we didn’t like:

No online generals – One of the things that makes this game stand out is the unique generals mode. Unfortunately you’re limited to just fighting the computer or your buddy in the same room with you, as it makes no appearance online. This is truly sad as it has so much potential to be one of the next cult XBLA online hits. We can always hope for it to be added in a title update, right?

Lagging death – When playing online there is no lag. The only lag to be spoken of happens in survival mode and, technically speaking, is a framerate issue. Every time a new character spawns, there is about a one second stutter. It sucks as you glitch as you try to reset for the next opponent. In the end it often leads to your untimely death, which is a much bigger issue in survival mode.

Deadliest Warrior: Legends once again proves that you don’t need huge hit combos and special moves to make a splash on the fighting scene. A well designed fighting system, mixed in with the new Risk-styled Generals mode makes for a great recipe for hours of fun. If you’re a fan of the show, a fan of fighting games or just looking for something a little different this is the game for you.

Score: Buy it