Deadpool Review

[Written on GIO.]

Let me get something straight before I really go into too much detail in this review: Deadpool, or the ‘merc with the mouth’, has finally gotten his own well-deserved moment in the gaming spotlight, and he does a few wild and adventurous things with his time at center stage. Deadpool, true to his comic book persona, enjoys himself immensely- whether it be by making fun of Cable and Wolverine, or by drawing…questionable things that Duke Nukem would most likely approve of. In fact…I would most likely compare Deadpool to Duke Nukem Forever if given the opportunity to choose any one game this particular one most resembles. High Moon’s Deadpool adventure has about the same sense of “humor”, questionable content, and semi-mediocrity of DNF- minus the twelve plus years of publication and design, of course. All things said, if you can stomach the obscenities and tamp down your ire and revolt at nearly everything Deadpool says, you’ll enjoy the game’s short and sweet-ish campaign to some extent. You won’t love it, the mechanics will be somewhat finicky, and it will quickly become repetitive and selfsame- but it’ll still be quite a decent experience all the same. Having warned you of this, let’s delve into Deadpool’s twisted psyche, shall we?

The mercenary’s adventure starts off as cliched as most do, with one exception- Deadpool constantly breaks the fourth wall, and sometimes even creates a fifth one just so he can break it down as well. This makes for an interesting air of paranoia and schizophrenia at all times- probably how Deadpool feels. Not only does he not even begin to bother reading the game’s supposed “script”, but he explores the world and often adds in what he feels needs to be real to the already insane story. He has quite the imagination, often thinking up inflatable toys, weapons of mass destruction, and even bigger battles of decapitating awesomeness. Expect to see a lot of degrading thoughts manifested about X-Men such as Cable and Wolverine, much to their woe and players’ hilarity and enjoyment. While Deadpool’s humor and jokes are a little bit crude and prude even for my tastes, and the jokes about certain genitalia gets old after the first dozen times, I must say that if High Moon got one thing right- it’s North’s portrayal of the merc with a mouth. Nolan North’s voiceover does Deadpool the justice he deserves, in my mind, and also adds in some hilarity with schizo-inducing voices, thoughts, and actions. If they did one thing right, its getting the personality and setting right- based mostly on the comics themselves.

If you can stomach Deadpool’s tastes and ‘etiquette’ then you’re in for a semi-entertaining thrill ride, however, if his quirky personality and humor manages to overwhelm you- don’t be ashamed, just hit the mute button and keep on trucking through the repetitive gameplay. Deadpool is almost never silent, because true to his character, he spouts off one-liners, complaints, and gibberish throughout his adventures- never once ceasing to take a breath or berate himself. Oh wait- he does talk to himself, that’s right… Whoops. Back onto the topic of repetitive gameplay here, it’s almost impossible to avoid this repetition mainly because the enemy types, attacks, and even Deadpool’s own moveset and performances are very repetitive and forgetful. Almost all enemies are the same clones you encounter in the beginning, while some are beefed up a little more, or maybe quicker and more lithe, or maybe simply more powerful. They all look about the same, although the environments they fight you in change according to the locale and Deadpool’s thought process. One of the major annoyances in the selfsame combat however comes from ranged weapons, which are quite powerful, but terribly difficult and pointless to even attempt aiming, as the target locking is abominable at best. Have fun shooting those guys who fly around…

Combat isn’t all so bad as the ranged targeting however- melee attacks actually can be quite satisfying and when coupled with short range ‘gun-fu’ (yes, I’ve seen Equilibrium before) can be quite deadly and enjoyable. The combo attacks work pretty similarly to the Batman: Arkham games’ combo system, where you can build up your combo while dodging and evading enemy attacks, countering, and adding in further attacks. True to his deadly proficiency with swords and other awesome weapons, gallons of blood follow Deadpool’s accurate strikes wherever they travel- through heads, limbs, and other body parts. Now, here’s where the repetitive gameplay starts to set in- these almighty combos require insane button mashing skills to keep up, and require pretty much no thought, focusing instead on basic luck. There is an integrated upgrades system for Deadpool and his weapons, however it focuses instead of making him more deadly and powerful than actually giving him more skills or powers. Don’t automatically assume this game is simply a brawling, button-mashing funfest though- it does incorporate other gameplay elements as well, instead of simply copying Batman’s more successful gaming incarnations.

As ‘easy’ to get a handle on as the melee portions of the game are however, once more the target locking issues come into question whenever firearms are whipped out onscreen. Considering the fact that running and gunning to take down similarly armed foes and foes at a distance is all but impossible to do accurately, or even at all in most cases, nearly half of your powerful arsenal will be rendered obsolete after the first few hours of gameplay. While the melee system is by no means perfect or even good, the firearms you handle are still much dumber and cruder than their sharper counterparts. It seems as if the only reasons you should use your guns are to laugh at the hilarious reactions of the enemy AI, witness the decapitating powers of your close range shotguns, and hope beyond belief that your weapons take down that powerful bruiser heading your way- even though you know they probably won’t. Sometimes you’ll just be so frustratedly desperate though, that you’ll try to score that headshot anyway. And sometimes you’ll actually succeed- maybe.

The game is decently put together, although it lacks the level of carefully crafted design and character of the Transformers games. Because of this lack of true polish or depth to gameplay and the ‘story’, Deadpool’s misadventures aren’t quite as meaningful or lasting as they could have been given more time and thought. Instead you’re stuck with a game that ends up becoming a frustrating mess of controls that don’t always work properly, and overpowered bosses that get the drop on you almost every time. The game is by no means a terrible one, but it is most certainly an unfinished one- so much more could’ve been done with Deadpool’s story, and its a shame that, because of this poorer showing, he most likely won’t get another chance to tell his full story. You’ll probably enjoy the witty banter, and even the combat itself, but the story is another thing entirely. Sometimes Deadpool strikes the right chords, and sometimes it just falls flat or goes completely out of tune. I’d recommend it for comic fans and fans of the character’s other incarnations, but I wouldn’t recommend it highly to many other gamers. There’s really just not all too much more to be said.

Concept: Create a time-consuming and frustrating game that has potential and plenty of witty dialogue, but shows its true colors too early on to be any more fun afterwards.

Graphics: The attention to detail is pretty fine tuned, the environments seem to be rendered nicely, and enemies react accordingly to violence, and are animated well- despite their designs being very similar and repetitive at the same time.

Sound: Deadpool’s voice(s) are well-done and his comedic banter is spur of the moment and pays off. The soundtrack, if there is one, is totally nonexistent and unnecessary, but otherwise everything sounds nice and fluffy. Which is obviously a lie, with all the things spewing out of this merc’s mouth.

Playability: Some of the controls have issues during combat, much most others work well enough to get the point across.

Entertainment: It can be entertaining at times, but most of the gameplay bogs players down in repetitive, frustrating hordes of attackers and Deadpool’s stylized dialogue.

Replay Value: Moderately Low

Overall Score: 7.0

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