After my second getting my hands on the game, which was recently dated and priced at July 14 for 800 Microsoft Points (the PSN version will come shortly thereafter), I feel confident in saying that I was totally right the first time around. Moreso, the delight I experienced the first time I played the game was only expounded by the arrival a few new anachronistic combatants.
The final version of the game I played at E3 retained the speedy, Bushido Blade-esque battles from the build I played earlier this year, with a few added layers of strategy thanks to the different playstyles of the game's selection of warriors. It would be irresponsible to go any further without providing you with a list of fighters:
- One more yet-to-be-announced warrior from Season 2 of the television show
Though no one warrior is inherently stronger than the others, a tactical approach is necessary when playing as (and against) each of them. The Pirate, for instance, is a powerhouse, armed with a blunderbuss and a special grenadier attack which typically dismembers enemies caught in its radius. He's slow as molasses, though, and requires a bit of preparation in order to pull off his lumbering maneuvers.
There's a few minigames aping common scenarios from the television, such as a pig carcass-slicing minigame, which rewards players with new equipment for whichever fighter is doing the carving. Another nice little bonus: Players who complete any of the fighter's campaigns will unlock a Samurai outfit for their Xbox Live Avatar -- but anyone who wants to unlock the head piece of that outfit will have to complete every campaign on the game's hardest difficulty setting.
I continue to be surprised at how much thought and polish went into the creation of Deadliest Warrior. The game's creators expressed concern at being lumped underneath the characteristically sub-par licensed game umbrella. Though there's nothing they can do to avoid that perception, the product they've created is several cuts above other titles in the licensed game space. There are plenty of hours of enjoyment just waiting to be extracted from its brisk skirmishes, and I simply can't wait to get started.