Friday, September 20, 2013

Deadpool (video game)

While the game's reviews were lackluster leading up to release day,  I still had hopes for this game.  With his penchant for breaking the fourth wall and his status as a mercenary, Deadpool seemed perfect to make a game around.  The fact that he's a mutant is also a plus, as it guaranteed tons of X-men related cameos.  I managed to find the game at a decent discount for pre-order and decided to ignore the critics and decide for myself.

The humor in the game is top notch, assuming you like it a little crude and overly silly.  He comes off as a completely insane mix between Duke Nukem and Leisure Suite Larry, with an extreme love of violence and lust for women.  Add to that the voices in his head, one screwball insane and the other full of dry humor seriousness, whose words show up on the screen in comic book inspired text boxes, and it's a lot of fun.  I think they also managed to strike the right balance between giving something to hardcore fans and people who are not even remotely familiar with the character, as Jak watched me play some of the early levels and enjoyed it as much as I did.

In terms of gameplay it's a pretty standard hack and slash & run and gun hybrid, letting you switch between using blades or guns to kill waves of enemies and eventually bosses.  The bosses require a degree of strategy but mostly they just come down to "stay alive."  Deadpool has a healing factor that kicks in as long as you can avoid taking hits for a certain amount of time which helps a lot for those of us who aren't very good at these types of games.  The gameplay could easily be considered repetitive but I think the humor does a lot to keep you into it.  There's also a lot of breaks in between, fetch quests and mild puzzle solving, to help break it up a bit.

A recurring theme throughout the game is that the video game company is running out of budget dollars to make it.  I hate to ruin the surprises that happen in these moments, as they are some of the funniest parts of the game.  I'll just say they get very creative.  Another fun moment happens when Deadpool convinces Cable to re-program a sentinel boot so he can travel with it.  The trophy you earn once this section is complete references a certain one level only item you get in Super Mario Bros 3, which was the icing on the cake for this really fun sequence.

Unfortunately, the fun doesn't last forever.  One thing I think this game could have really done without is platforming.  Maybe I'm just really terrible at it, but these sequences were almost always frustrating for me, having to find the perfect angles to get him to jump where I needed him to go.  It's made even more ridiculous by the fact that Deadpool has the ability to teleport, but apparently he only uses it when he feels like it.  There's even a point halfway through the game where they make it so he can teleport twice as far, and they literally just have him shrug at you and tell you there's no good reason why it wasn't at full capacity before.

The final level of the game shares a common problem with a lot of other games I've been playing lately.  Instead of having a true final boss, they just decide to send wave after wave of enemy at you, making you fight three former bosses all at once this time, and so on.  I found myself dealing with wave after wave of the tougher grunts, and then groaning in frustration when I died and found I have to do all those waves all over again because I hadn't hit the checkpoint yet.  After a while, I decided that frustration wasn't worth it when I had plenty of other games to play, and I looked up the ending on Youtube.

Even despite that, I still would recommend this game.  More experienced players could probably get through it easier than I did, and even those who aren't that good will still get a lot of decent laughs out of it along the way.  It's not a perfect game by any means, but it is a lot of fun.

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