Deadliest Warrior: Legends Review If, through some fluke of space and time, Genghis Khan and William Wallace had clashed on the battlefield, who would have won? Deadliest Warrior: Legends doesn't provide a definitive answer to this question, but it does suggest that the battle would have been bloody and possibly absurd. Khan might have broken Wallace's leg and chopped off his arm before twisting his neck with his bare hands. Or perhaps the two warriors would have slashed at each other for a few seconds before Wallace's sword miraculously passed right through Khan's body, instantly making Khan go as limp as a rag doll. Legends is a brutal and goofy game that's good for some guffaws. But the short and silly battles and technical problems of this fighter give it about as much longevity as Attila the Hun has after you've cut off a few of his limbs. Legends lets you choose one of nine historic leaders to take into one-on-one battles with other such personages. Those nine characters are broken down into three categories. Guerrillas like Sun Tzu and Shaka Zulu lack armor but move quickly; champions like Hannibal and Alexander the Great are heavily armored and relatively slow; and berserkers like Hernan Cortes and William Wallace are powerful offensive fighters. Battles occur in three-dimensional space, and you're free to run in any direction. With the three attack buttons, you can perform strikes that target your foe's head, body, or legs. Strikes to the limbs can leave your opponent crippled, making him hobble on his feet or preventing him from wielding heavy, two-handed weapons. And a blow to the head is likely to kill your opponent instantly. Each warrior can wield quick short-range weapons, slower medium-range weapons, and ranged weapons. There are no health meters in this fighting game; characters collapse when they've suffered a blow the game deems fatal, or when they bleed out from a severed limb. Matches often end within just a few seconds of starting, perhaps with an arrow through a warrior's eye or a sword strike to the head that sends a helmet flying off at a trajectory that makes no sense. You can also attempt to grab your opponent. If you succeed, both combatants must then hit the low, medium, or high attack button, and unless the defender makes the same input as the attacker, he suffers a broken leg, a broken arm, or death, depending on the area the attacker targeted. The finishing moves that play out when a warrior successfully performs a high attack in a grapple (or a medium or low attack to an already disabled area) are sometimes shockingly brutal. Vlad the Impaler's finisher, for instance, demonstrates how he earned his grisly nickname. Because a single blow can bring the match to an end, there's none of the tension here that can evolve over the course of a battle in a traditional fighting game as combatants feel each other out and whittle each other down. A different kind of tension could have emerged from battles in which any hit could prove fatal, but Legends is too sloppy to generate much excitement. The game's instructional screens have information about different types of damage--slashing, piercing, and crushing--and the varying effectiveness of armor against these types of attacks. But the actual gameplay doesn't support the depth that this suggests. It's hard to see how such details could matter much when, during battles, weapons regularly clip right through people, swords and shields disappear from a warrior's hands when he tries to grab his opponent, and combatants sometimes collapse dead from attacks that didn't even appear to make contact. There's often no clear rhyme or reason to why one fighter falls while his opponent is left standing, and this makes it nigh impossible to become invested in the action.
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