- The 4th wall breaking moments are fantastic
- The hallucinations.
- The inner voices.
- The pop culture references.
- Mocks itself and its own genre.
- Stays true to its apparent lack of plot.
- In essence: DEADPOOL (all the above)
- Every single cinematic.
- Visually stunning.
- Upgrades feel significant.
- The “Old School” momentum finisher.
- The Wolverine Slapping.
- Some of the humor is off.
- Strange action mapping (Dodge & Counter).
- Repetitive enemies.
- Shooting camera.
- Repeats phrases a bit too much.
- Boss fights too simple.
- No final boss (not really).
I’d promised myself I wouldn’t review this game, because, how can you review Deadpool? It’s a game that doesn’t even take itself seriously. But I just finished playing it and since I have nothing better to do and I was already planning to make this a writing evening, I might as well do it before I move on to writing either Roberto’s next story or my Shadowrun adventure, still haven’t decided.
Let’s get to it.
Deadpool is game by High Moon Studios, the same people behind the awesomely good Transformers Cybertron games, released a few months ago. The game stars the Merc-with-a-mouth Deadpool, fully aware he’s not only a comic book character but that he is a video game one as well, and in fact is seen during various parts of the game talking to the game producers over the phone and even tearing apart the script. In fact, the “production” aspect of the meta-plot comes into play quite often, with the game more than a few times going over budget and graphics quality suffering from it, not in a real palpable way but in joke form, such as a puppet cinematics, an 8-bit section of a level, and enemies stuck in their model’s T-position (standing straight and arms stretched to the sides). In fact, you can consider the meta-plot the actual plot of the game because Deadpool doesn’t really pay attention to the “real” threat, the real plot, and because he’s not paying attention, you, the player, don’t get to know either.
Visually, the game is stunning, not Crysis, but still visually beautiful, with possible the best CABLE in any X-Men media adaptation. But beyond how good things look, it’s the little details like Cable’s metallic skin, how Wade’s costume is torn when he’s being shot and even Wolverine’s leathery yellow/blue suit, that make this a visually pleasing game. In other words, as good as it looks, it’s the eye candy that makes the visual so good.
Soundwise, the game recycles most of its music, but it really doesn’t matter, since most of what you’ll hear is combat music, and while you’re hacking and slashing your way to the next checkpoint, the music will just be part of the background.
Voice acting is superb, with all actors hitting their mark perfectly and bringing believable performances to all characters; but Nolan North takes the cake as Deadpool and his inner voices, the conversations they have with each other are fantastic, even more so when they impact gameplay, which is often.
Gameplay is repetitive hacking, slashing and shooting, but that’s not a bad thing because it’s repetitive in the way Devil May Cry or God of War are repetitive. You know what you’re going to be playing and they give it to you. That doesn’t mean there aren’t issues. The first and biggest of all is the fact two of your main actions, those being Dodging aka Teleport and Counterattacking are mapped to the same button, and which one happens depends on if an enemy is attacking you or not (you can tell by an R over the enemy’s head), but it’s not perfect and more often than not you’ll teleport away instead of countering, or vice versa. Boss battles are very simple, the few there are, and there’s no real final boss battle, instead you’ll pretty much fight every enemy type in the game in one massive and I have to admit, glorious spectacle (that being said; the ending is awesome). One last gripe, albeit a minor one is how close the camera zooms in when you’re shooting.
The good part of the combat mechanics is how seamlessly swordplay and gunplay mix, especially once you’ve purchased the Gun-Fu upgrade, giving you more combat options including a new finisher. You see, each time you hit something with a weapon, you gain a bit of “Momentum” and once you fill the finisher’s bar, you can execute the momentum move and the best part is each move has its own bar, giving you potentially 4 finishers you can execute one after the other, something I did quite often, even more so during the last couple of levels, where the action can get a bit hectic and you’re taking a lot of hits and those moves saved my life, not only killing the enemies but also giving me temporary invulnerability so ‘Pool’s healing factor could kick in. Of them all, the Break-dancing “Old School” finisher is the best in the game, not only because it kicks ass, but also because it’s hilarious.
Aside from the combat, there’re also plenty of platforming elements and I often worry about these because they tend to me sketchy, but I’m pleased to report are pretty solid in this game. There are also “stealth” segments, where Deadpool hilariously walks like a cartoon, but are few and far in between, and only at one point is the stealth necessary…and it’s worth it.
As this is a DMC style game, there are upgrades, and unlike many similar games, they feel very significant and one upgrade can make all the difference. You start off with the Swords and Pistols but you can purchase other weapons and upgrades. I didn’t, I stayed true to what I feel is classic Deadpool: 2 guns, 2 swords, grenades and the teleporter.
In fact, this leveling system is the first of the many moments the game, like its protagonist, mocks itself and its genre, with one of Deadpool’s inner voices mocking it, saying “Upgrades, can we get more awesome?”, only to be placated by the other two with “No, but it’s called Character Progression and it has to be in the game”, which to me a very poignant critique at how character upgrades and leveling up and experience seems to have invaded every single game and genre under the sun. The game has many of these moments when you realize everything in the game was done on purpose, most of the time mocking the genre and video game culture in general, and to me that’s something that should be celebrated, perhaps even more than the zaniness of the character and gameplay. Even the Deadpool coin collecting is part of this critique, with the character saying something along the lines of “This is my game, so you’ll get powerful killing people and collecting shit”
The tone of the game is silly and was, in fact, partly written by one of Deadpool’s writers, so the humor is Deadpoolish, meaning sometimes it won’t hit the mark, but when it does, it’s brilliant. There are too many moments where the game shines to describe them all, but slapping an unconscious Wolverine, Rogue absorbing Deadpool’s powers AND INNER VOICES, the Rocket-bike, the various and ample references, and the Ending and Credits are some of the best out there.
Sadly, there’s a downside to the Merc-with-a-mouth, and that is he doesn’t really shut up and is constantly yelling out catchphrases and “emotes”, of which there aren’t enough and run out pretty early in the game, making them gratingly repetitive.
The game is flawed, but its sheer brilliance out-does whatever failings it has. The action is fast-paced and crazy enough you probably won’t be complaining much about the repetitiveness of it all. The in-game phrases get repetitive, but they’re out-done by the fantastic voice cast and scenes between the characters and the cinematics, with Cable being the straight man of the comic duo and nailing it beautifully; Wolverine is perfect, as are Domino & Rogue (there’s also Psylocke but she doesn’t say or do much in the game). Even Death, Deadpools’ weird sweetheart, makes an appearance and the scenes between them are extremely good. At its worst, the humor can be juvenile, but at its best is brilliant, referring its own source material and genre, and critiquing them.
The Mental Attic Score: BUY IT NOW!! This game is extremely fun. If you’re not a Deadpool fan, then wait for a sale, but it is a game you must play. In fact, Steam has a 50% off sale on the game RIGHT NOW and for the next 36 hours.