Barely a footnote in the history books.
The most flattering thing that can be said about Deadliest Warrior: Legends is that it borrows a page from Bushido Blade with its combat of quick combat that aims for realism—sometimes a single strike can end a round. The longer you sit with it, though—and it doesn't take that long—the more you realize that this is pretty much the only thing the game really has going for it. Even its concept is not really capitalized on: take a bunch of famous warriors from human history and toss them at each other. It could be have quite entertaining… if it were handled with a more engaging approach and more personality.
To its credit, it does try to add some strategy to the mix with unlockable armor and weapons that can slightly alter the way a character functions, but with how short-lived the combat is, the difference becomes negligible. It doesn't really matter how much Attila the Hun and Joan of Arc is wearing or what color their clothes are.
There are some options in the modes, including a trite strategy game of sorts that just wastes time in getting to the brief fighting. But there's no real depth or personality here. Most fighting games rely on at least one or the other, but neither is going to be found here beyond the first few minutes.
It's seemingly random how a fight can drag on as two warriors bang swords against shields or end in a single button press when an arrow just happens to pierce the opponent's head. A limb can be wounded and disabled for the rest of a fight, but with battle averaging a few seconds it doesn't really give any weight to things. The voice acting is dull, the environments plain, and even the mouth movements during show-off animations don't match. It's a bit insulting to some of the world's most well-known combatants, turning Alexander the Great into Alexander the Not-So-Much. The dramatic tension in the menu screens gives way to painfully boring combat that lacks any meat to its mechanics or its art and sound.
Speaking of the menu, the loading times quickly become quite a bother—in my time playing the game I was literally in loading screens just as long, if not longer, than my playtime. The game just loads that slow and matches end that fast. Anatrocious affair for any game, no matter the genre. It's not unplayable or even frustrating in any regard—I could see a group of drunken fools having some fun passing controllers around for giggles—but it's sadly not worth looking into other than a short-lived cheap mockery of historical figures…if you're into that sort of thing.
Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat does not prove its mettle. Whatever fun you might have ends as quickly as the matches do. It has a glimmer of potential that flickers out in an instant, much like a single-arrow KO that can send you reeling right back to long loading screens.
Review based on Xbox 360 version. Copy provided by publisher.