By Andrew Dodson on January 24, 2014 at 12:30pm
Pirate vs. Ninja? Knight vs. Viking? Spartan vs. Samurai? Astronaut vs. Caveman? You'd be hard-pressed to find someone that hadn't at one point engaged in the pointless discussion of "Who would win?" out of two seemingly equivalent groups. It's a fun and addicting conversation, but it ultimately leads to nothing except frustration. That is a feeling that Torn Banners managed to accomplish with the "Deadliest Warrior" DLC for its "Chivalry: Medieval Warfare" game. While may not quite quite have cavemen and astronauts yet (though points to you if you got the reference), the other factions do make a grand appearance.
If you're unfamiliar with "Chivalry: Medieval Warfare," which is the base game for this DLC, it is essentially a "Counterstrike"-esque death match game between two opposing medieval forces. The game varies from straight team deathmatches to more complicated game modes involving objectives (essentially various capture/defend scenarios). While that seems rather standard, what sets "Chivalry" apart from other games in the genre is how beautiful the game looks all the while maintaining an air of silliness.
The "Deadliest Warrior" DLC acts as a separate game from the title "Chivalry" (though the base game is still required to play) and introduces six factions: knights, vikings, Spartans, samurai, ninjas, and pirates. You start out in each faction using the most basic equipment, but as you practice and rack up experience, you have the ability to unlock the faction's more advanced weapons. You are also able to unlock different accessories, but these just provide a custom appearance and does not award the player with special bonuses.
"Deadliest Warrior" differs from "Chivalry" in that it does not have special story maps/missions. Each game is a deathmatch with a wide variety of scenarios; sometimes its a free-for-all while other times it is a team deathmatch. Sometimes it divides the players into faction vs factions matches, limiting choice but providing a more stable sense of balance.
Each game itself is very frantic and exciting. People (especially those new to the game) sprint towards their opponents, spamming the war-cry button ("C" if you're interested), and then it's mostly a LMB fest. Sure, sometimes people use their ranged weapons or use the other attacks besides whatever their primary attack is, but what you'll see 80 percent of the time is people spinning around enemies hitting the LMB and then complaining that that is all anyone ever does. You can't argue with results, though. The game does a great job of making combat very satisfying. You can stop off heads and limbs. Arrows and spears stick into people's bodies. Finishing blows can leave deep gashes that expose bone, muscle, and blood.
The different levels of the game each have their own stylized beauty to them - not nearly to the level that the base "Chivalry" game has, but they come close. The Spartan level, for instance, has an impossibly deep well (ala the movie "300"), into which you can kick foes that aren't paying attention to their environment. The pirate level has cannons that you can hit and fire. The Japan level has spike traps placed at certain key points. Just about every map has something special to it to make the game just a little more diverse and frenetic.
Each faction has different strengths and weaknesses that provide an extra level of strategy to the typical LMB fest that makes up most combat. The knights, for instance, are slow but heavily armored, allowing them to take a lot of punishment before going down. Pirates have access to guns and can drink rum to restore their health (at the cost of getting drunk). Ninjas are fast and run silently, giving them the opportunity to sneak up on people. Samurai and Spartans are both armored, have access to ranged weapons (bows and spears, respectively), and maintain a decent movement speed.
Vikings are my favorite class in the game. While when dual wielding, they can get into a combo in which their attack speed becomes faster and faster until they either run out of targets or exhaust themselves. That is not my favorite part, however. My favorite bit is the viking's ability to throw ALL of their gear. Swords, hammers, axes and even their shield can suddenly become a ranged weapon until the viking is left with nothing but their fists to attack their opponents. One of my favorite memories of the game is when I was charging three samurai on a staircase. They were shooting arrows at me, and I was dodging while I advanced. One steped forward to meet me, drawing his katana. I responded by throwing my shield Captain America-style right at his face, which made his head explode. I celebrated by spamming the war-cry button (as you do) and then being sliced to death by the remaining samurai that expertly outmaneuvered me. I died, but seeing that first swordsman's head erupt into goo was just too fantastic.
"Deadliest Warrior" is filled with those types of experiences that keep you coming back to the game despite the little bugs and often frustrating matchups. As a pirate, I've thrown a bottle of burning grog and lit a group of ninjas on fire. As a Spartan, I've "THIS IS SPARTA" kicked a dumb knight into the well on the Greek level. As a knight, I've swung my mace and exploded two viking skulls. The game is still fairly new and has its share of issues, but it also has tremendous potential to grow into something as polished as the base "Chivalry" game. And if it continues to follow the footsteps of the "Deadliest Warrior" TV show, then there is definitely a chance that we'll see more factions added to the game (Shaolin monks? Maori? Zulu warriors?), which will only add to the insane experience that make the game so memorable.
Currently, "Deadliest Warrior" is available on Steam, but in my opinion as a fan of the game, it is also a little too pricey for what the game is right now. I recommend keeping an eye on the game and waiting for a sale to snag it. It doesn't look like much, but I was definitely surprised at how addicted I became to it. It has a long way to go before looking as polished as the base game of Chivalry looks, but even as it is now, the game is a great deal of silly fun and if you like unlikely matchups, you should definitely give 'Deadliest Warrior' a chance.