Two of the biggest disparities between between Steff and I’s personal interests are television and fighting games. She’s a pretty big television fan, and she has a number of shows she regularly watches every week. As for myself, I’ve been actively avoiding watching television for over a decade now, due to a combination of my interest in the internet and my disinterest in television programming. Meanwhile, I play fighting games almost daily, but she’s reluctant to join me for Street Fighter or Marvel, because she doesn’t like the concept of having to study how to play a game before you can even have a chance of winning. I don’t hold that against her, as this is the most common reason why people do not play games in this genre.
Deadliest Warrior: The Game, on paper, sounds like the ultimate middle ground for us. It’s a fighting game about a show we like to watch together, and from what I heard initially heard, a fighting game engine she could enjoy without her feeling like she needed a Ph. D in the game in order to get anything out of it. This game has been out for a few months now (with a sequel on the way), and so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already formed your own opinions about this game by now. However, if you’d like to hear if Deadliest Warrior: The Game brought us closer together or further apart, check out the rest of this post!
As with the show, the premise behind Deadliest Warrior is to pit fighters of different eras against each other to see who would win. When you buy the full game, you get a total of 8 characters, which includes the pirate, spartan, ninja, apache, centurion, samurai, knight and viking. Each character has multiple weapons to choose from, and you can unlock new weapons as you play through the arcade mode, which allows you to customize your load-out before battle. Having that ability to change your play-style based on the weapons you had available made the game more interesting for Steff and I to play, as we would often switch between weapons to find the right weapon that works against specific opponents.
Once you get into the action, what you’ll find is a fighting game whose closest relative is the PlayStation 1 game Bushido Blade. As with Bushido Blade, the weapons in Deadliest Warrior are meant to closely simulate the amount of carnage they would cause in real life. As you can imagine, this leads to fights being really short. Fights can end shortly after an opponent has their arm chopped off or even end after taking only a single, well-placed hit. The funniest example of this that Steff and I ran into so far was during a fight when she was the pirate and I was the apache. As the fight started, I ran towards her, and she simply pulled out her gun and shot me in the head, which lead to an instant kill.
The realistic damage system also leads to some really gory moments this side of Mortal Kombat. The sight of squirting and pooling blood is a common occurrence in Deadliest Warrior: The Game. Many fights end with players losing limbs or their head, and fights can even continue after a warrior has had a limb broken or chopped off. There are even finishing moves that each character can trigger though a simple two-button press that are all cringe-inducing. Steff really enjoyed the amount of carnage she was able to inflict on her opponents during the few hours we played it. Unfortunately for me, it was mostly I who ended up being an amputee. In one particular instance, she actually chopped off both of my legs, both of my arms and my head before I even hit the ground.
What put this game over the top for Steff was the fact that Deadliest Warrior: The Game is a fighting game made more for gamers who don’t play fighting games. Sure, games like Street Fighter, Tekken and Marvel vs. Capcom have large fan-bases that are willing to invest the time and effort to get good at them. However, the majority of the gaming populous that might enjoy the genre shy away because the learning curve is way too steep. In Deadliest Warrior: The Game, you will not have to learn the ins and outs of techniques like Focus Attack Dash Canceling, or be required to hit a series of complex directional and button inputs to trigger special moves or combos. My girlfriend instantly fell in love with the game after playing just one match, as the game allowed her to do really cool stuff without having to worry about mastering gameplay systems or complex button inputs. After about 20 minutes or so of playing the demo, she bought the $10 downloadable game and an extra controller so that we could play together.
That night, we played each other for a few hours and had a blast the entire time. Did my fighting game experience give me an edge against her? Absolutely not. Even though I was heavily analyzing each fight and trying everything I could to get the edge, she stomped me almost every time. We would play each other in first-to-5 sets, and after 60-something matches, I won a total of one set. While she mentioned at the start that she enjoyed simply mashing buttons, by the end of our session, she was doing more than that, whether she recognized it or not. I could tell that she had progressed her skills to a point where she was actively trying to predict my next moves and counter accordingly, and she was using ‘bread and butter’ combos on me to great effect. We even got into high-level discussions about the Deadliest Warrior tier list, in which our early conclusions are that the spartan is top tier and the ninja is the worst character in the game. We may be totally wrong, but I think it’s so cool that we’re even having that type of discussion in the first place.
Throughout our extended session with Deadliest Warrior: The Game, she repeatedly said that this was her Street Fighter. To me, that’s totally awesome to hear. It’s also proof that this game kind of works as common ground. I’m playing it because I like the show and she’s playing it because she likes the game. She may never have the urge to learn how to play the more complex fighting games out there, but I think it’s great that she has a fighting game that she can enjoy just like how I enjoy my fighting games. Now if only I could level-up my skills so I could respond to all her trash-talking by winning more frequently,