It arrived today, and for the first time since the Arkham series, the collision of comic books and video games pays off magnificently. Capturing the postmodernist, fourth-wall breaking character in his entirety, Deadpool throws us directly into the action with a look around his bedsit. Often, I become rather self aware whilst playing games that I am acting as a puppet-master of Orwellian proportions, and Deadpool acknowledges this aspect of gaming, providing commentary through the narrator, the voices in his dead and his very own ongoing monologue. I’m not the most diehard Deadpool fan, but feel strangely drawn to this character, who expresses an honesty not found in other games. With quirky humor and cartoon-like graphics, the initial set-up looks promising.
You can tell the development team must have had fun trying to cram as many jokes in as possible, and as has been stated elsewhere, this makes his “parody of a parody” style of address a little jarring with the actual content. The combat system is generic to a hack and slash, although the kill-cams and takedowns are fun and diverse. I’m sure there are far too many references to the comics for a laissez-faire reader such as myself, but the ones I do understand are well executed.
The actual gameplay and style is very similar to Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions & Web of Shadows it its brightly colored attacks and visually contrasting collectables. Random collectables are a bane of mine, but in this instance they add to the madcap themes and hectic, eccentric format using Taco’s as a main discoverable item. The teleport was a nice addition to your more usual dodging ability, although a dodgy camera positioning meant this was hard to master. The combos are simple to use and the addition of firearms to the swordplay makes for a nice change.
All of the usual mechanics that are in operation are explored through tutorials which, due to the nature of the character, are more reflexive of the nature of video games that usual for a game of this caliber. With all the pieces in place, the game assures the player that it will be an enjoyable experience, but after a while the jokes begin to fall on deaf ears and the repetitive combos and attacks lose their initial appeal. Luckily, the game makes up for this by incorporating an ever-so-slightly-better-than-I’m-used-to upgrades system that would fit in more with an RPG than an arcade style adventure.
As you play through the game, each time you get hit Deadpools costume become more tattered, but pre-rendered cutscenes mean a jarring transition between healthy Deadpool and the character I’m actually playing as. The swordplay also leaves much top be desired, with unconvincing sound effects. Overall, the style of playing was unfulfilled overall, as the actions taking place on screen had little to do with my actual programing. A qualm with the PC version is that the list of customizable keys is extremely limited and I found myself wanting to use controls that the game did not permit. Regardless of this, the overall input system worked with only the essential interact and attack instructions and basic combinations.
All of the reviews you are likely to read about this game will, at some point or another, devote a paragraph praising the character’s attributes and mannerisms, his dark comedy and one liners. While I did find this diverting from the norm, I cannot commend the game solely on this. Arkham Asylum did not invent the sullen brooding Dark Knight and this game is not accountable for the extravaganza of character traits associated with Deadpool. What I can say is that the scripting of action and dialogue, penned by former comic writer Daniel Way is superb and manages to encompass most of what makes the comics so fun.
From your squalid beginnings in a bedsit in “Ambiguous USA” to high rising city blocks, this game tries its best to keep things light and uses narrative tricks and cinematic cut-scenes (a term used regularly but almost never aptly) to portray a classic character in a timeless setting. What it lacks in intuitive gameplay it makes up for in having the audacity to try and raise a relatively unknown superhero to the status of relatively known.
Deadpool (PC) Score Breakdown
Nothing new or particularly striking about the generic combat and interactive system. Crude but effective, the simple layout and accessibility of actions gets the job done but hard to manouvre camera angles during combat are a hindrance at some points.
Following in the footsteps of previous Marvel games, Deadpool features stylized graphics which are above par in this instance, having been built with the latest rendering tools. However, the artistic style does not work as successfully here and the game may have benefited from a more realistic engine to emphasize the gritty realism and to provide a more stark contrast with the joviality Deadpool conducts himself.
A mediocre soundtrack and typical NPC callouts were both severely undermined by the seemingly endless stream of consciousness form the “Merc with a Mouth.” If the dev team were trying to drive players as crazy as Deadpool, they damn near succeeded.
Replay Value Rating:
I’m 90% sure I only managed to complete about 20% of the non-essential scavenging and searching available in the game, as well as being 100% certain I understood only half of the references. Well worth a re-play.
With so many nods to the source material I’m surprised its head is still attached, Deadpool supplies players with his insane view of the world in every aspect of the game – the actual gamne, the menus and loading screens and the llaunch page. Presented with all the flamboyancy this character deserves and indeed requires.” cat5rating=”4″ cat6title=”Overall” cat6detail=”A game that delivers on its promise to access the world of Deadpool, but fails to provide anything new or innovative in terms of gameplay experience, relying on a quirky narrative structure and in-jokes to appeal to its established fanbase. With its distinctly character based approach to an established universe, Deadpool has everything you might expect from a superhero video game, most of what you would expect from a hack-and-slash adventure and managed to re-instill in me some of the charm of the character. For newcomers as well as avid fans, this game should distract you long enough for Deadpool to sneak up behind you and…
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This article was first posted on June 26, 2013