Finally, a Deadpool Game
It’s been a long time coming, but everyone’s favorite fourth wall-shattering mutant mercenary for hire finally got his very own videogame. The game is lacking in some pretty major areas, but it hits enough of the right notes to be faithful to the character, and it’s worth your time if you’re fan of the Deadpool comics.
The plot of Deadpool is thin. Everyone’s favorite “Merc’ With a Mouth” is cheated out of an assassination contract and runs off, guns blazing, to get his money back. Along the way you’re also thrown flimsy plot points about an evil plan to clone mutants by Mr. Sinister, and meet a cast of Marvel mutants that range from well-know favorites like Wolverine and Rogue to D-listers like Arclight, Blockbuster and Vertigo.
What saves the near-nonexistent plot is the fact that the game itself actually acknowledges this fact, thanks to the near-constant fourth wall breaking that fans of the comics have come to know, love and expect from Deadpool. Whether it’s Deadpool calling up the developers at High Moon Studios to request a bigger budget and more explosions, fooling around in an inflatable bouncy castle, or making clever quips while slicing and dicing his way through hordes of enemies, the game’s writing is dead-on for the character and the world he inhabits. Much of this is due to Former Deadpool comic writer Daniel Way, who wrote the story for the game, and the voice talents of Nolan North, who strikes a great balance between silliness and dangerous insanity as Deadpool.
The game’s humor, much like Deadpool himself, is not for everyone. For every well-crafted, clever moment (see ‘Pool’s interaction with long-time frenemy, Cable), there are just as many sophomoric jokes about male genitalia or women’s breasts.
If you’ve played any third-person hack-and-slash in the last console generation, than you already have a pretty good idea of what the gameplay is like in Deadpool.
Using a combination of Deadpool’s signature swords, guns and explosives, players are encouraged to string together combos and build special meters to dispatch foes. Bigger, better combos earn you more points, which can be traded in for more powerful weapons, new combos and increased health and damage stats.
Weapons can be switched in and out on-the-go during combat, allowing for some pretty impressive strings of combos for those who care to spend some time learning the combat mechanics. However there is little incentive to do so, other then just trying to achieve a high score. Similarly, the only real variety of the weapons themselves (katanas-to-sais-to-hammers, handguns-to-shotguns-to-pulse-rifles, etc.) is their power and damage.
In the end, the combat mechanics, while playable, are hardly innovative and lack the style and reward incentives to create crazy attacks a’la Devil May Cry.
Deadpool’s Combat consists of taking on wave after wave after repetitive wave of enemies. While the animations are smooth, and the amount of gore is impressive, there is little variety in enemy types (save a few bosses) and gets old very quickly.
Deadpool’s seemingly endless one-liners and comments as he slashes and shoots his way through the game offers a little solace from this game’s repetitiveness, but by the end of the 6-hourish campaign, its a struggle as you hear him make many of those comments for the 40th or 50th time.
Again, it seems that Full Moon was aware of this, and included a few sections in the game that depart from the hack-and-slash mechanic.
Those respites are some of my favorite parts of the game. Before the meat of the game even begins, player are able to roam Deadpool’s seedy apartment, where he comments on just about every object inside of it. Later levels feature “mini-stages” such as an on-rails gallery shooter and a 3D side-scrolling mini-level. These along with a couple of turret sequences keep the game interesting enough get you through to the end of the campaign.
Graphics & Sound
For a $50 “budget” title, the look of Deadpool is top-notch. The cast of Marvel characters were on-model, and the environments were well rendered, if occasionally bland. The fighting animation is fluid, and the cinematics are well rendered; flowing in and out of the gameplay smoothly.
Despite the nearly overwhelming mobs of enemies onscreen at one time, framerate issues were nearly non-existent while running the Xbox 360 version of the game.
The game’s music was a pleasant surprise. While you’ll mostly be focusing on Deadpool’s never-ending litany wisecracks or the sounds of screaming and gunfire, the soundtrack of electronic music steadily pumping away in the background is interesting and keeps up the game’s energy without falling into grinding, dubstep-esque distraction (I’m looking at you Syndicate).
Again, the games biggest downfall is simply its repetitiveness. Thankfully, the short campaign length, and the writing, saves Deadpool from being an absolute snooze of a game.
Coming in a close second is the lack of any replay value. Once you’ve played through the game, you’ve seen every level, weapon, enemy and heard every joke Deadpool has to offer. There’s no co-op or multiplayer, and no reason to play the game a second time unless it’s to try a harder difficulty level.
No real extras, but patient gamers will be rewarded for sticking around during idle animations and the game’s mid-battle scenes. Letting Deadpool stand around when the game prompts you to press a button or take an action often yields a lengthy string of jokes and gags you won’t get if you rush through the non-combat sections of the game.
While the gameplay is nothing to write home about, the writing and humor of Deadpool keep the game from being totally forgettable. Couple that with a $50 price tag, and it might be worth a buy for die-hard Deadpool fans, and a rental for everyone else.