Deadpool: The Game review
Here at Sticky Trigger, we have a number of comic book fans. While I might not have the in-depth knowledge of some comic book fans, I’m more than familiar with Deadpool, the schizophrenic, masked “merc with a mouth” from Marvel Comics. Fans of Deadpool have been eager to see him make the leap into other avenues of entertainment for years, and now, they have ‘Deadpool: The Game’ to look forward. Deadpool even revealed the game himself at Comic-con!
I’ve finished Deadpool: The Game’s campaign, and despite the game design seeming to be in conflict with itself (much like its protagonist), the game is exactly what Deadpool fans could hope for. High Moon have crammed as many boobies, burritos, and bazookas as they could into the game, and have recruited the legendary Nolan North to voice Deadpool. To summarise, Deadpool is awesome, though not without some minor annoyances.
Developed by High Moon Studios (Transformers: Fall of Cybertron), Deadpool casts players as Deadpool, Marvel’s iconic smartass mutate. At the same time, it shatters the fourth wall and casts players as themselves, controlling Deadpool. It’s an odd design choice, but ultimately, one that works as it provides the player with a number of decent gags and laughs. I do feel it outstays its welcome, though.
The story (if you can call it that) begins with Deadpool sitting in his derelict apartment, awaiting a phone call from High Moon Studios. High Moon passes on making a Deadpool videogame, which causes Deadpool to use C4 explosives to “change their minds”. After some jokes which, in all honesty, fell quite flat, Deadpool gets his videogame deal and before you know it, you’re in the first level, ready to assassinate an evil media mogul.
The problem with the story is that High Moon mocks the lack of a story by its own admittance, and then decides to rectify the situation towards the end of the game. While this could have been pulled off quite well, the game flounders about for the first part of the game, and then awkwardly rushes an attempt on a more traditional narrative. Even more annoying is how the constant in-jokes and self-referencing actually detract from fully immersing yourself into Deadpool’s character. Deadpool even remarks that there are bad guys for the sake of bad guys, and that for his game, Rogue can fly (who can’t fly right now in the comics) and if you don’t like it “move out of your mother’s basement”. High Moon adding a weak attempt at a non-story with a half-executed story just ends up falling flat.
While it may sound like I hated the game’s story, I really didn’t. It has quite a few highlight moments, but those moments don’t add up to the experience I wanted. I did have fun annoying the heck out of characters from The X-Men, as well as chasing after Rogue, but a few memorable moments just isn’t enough from this game. I also had more than my fill of calling High Moon Studios on Deadpool’s mobile phone and demanding more content in “his” game.
Those of you familiar with Deadpool will know of his legendary reputation as a smartass and a homicidal killing-machine who takes great pride in his work. High Moon Studios casted Nolan North as the voice of Deadpool (not a shock, as North has voiced DP multiple times), and together with some fantastic writing, North really shines as Deadpool. It would have to be my favourite voice acting work from him (and he has performed in over 200 voice roles).
I suppose the next thing that springs to mind when thinking of Deadpool are his mutate (Deadpool was not born a mutant) abilities and badass weaponry, which DP has a truckload off. Deadpool has Wolverine’s healing ability, the ability to teleport (though in the comics he uses gadgets) and he is also a master assassin and marksman.
Gameplay usually involves set-piece style fighting and shooting sections, some platforming with some minor puzzle elements (like finding a switch) followed by what can only be described as “whoa” moments. You remember stealing a bank vault in Saints Row: The Third, and dangling from it over the city as you shot hundreds of police? Deadpool one-ups that in every single level, and it never gets old. Whether you’re strapping rockets to a bicycle or piloting a sentinel’s foot, every single level in Deadpool has at least one of these awesome moments.
It’s a shame though, that there is a lot of monotony getting to these moments of extreme lunacy. Like all modern beat-em-ups, Deadpool has taken a leaf from RPGs and allows gamers to upgrade Deadpool’s stats or unlock new weapons/slash moves as rewards for good gameplay and high combos. Also like most brawlers, Deadpool has a “momentum” gauge (usually described in other games as the “fury” or “rage” mechanic) which constantly fills with damage dealt in combat. Filling the gauge allows players to perform different momentum-attacks which although are cool, quite often feel as though they make the fights a little too easy, even on the hardest difficulty setting. Ultimately, the momentum moves are there just to diminish a boss’ minions or a boss’ health, which they do adequately.
Even though you unlock a plethora of different combos and weapons, the combat feels repetitive no matter what weapon you use. If you enjoy modern brawlers such as Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden, you will probably enjoy Deadpool too. That being said, Deadpool’s combat is nowhere near as fluid or as thought out as in other beat-em-ups. There are a few bugs and collision errors that can really frustrate. Sometimes there is even a frame skip during a fight which causes you to miss that crucial counter-attack or momentum attack, and when you manage to pull off a 100+ combo, you’re bound to be a bit miffed by that.
Just to re-iterate, I didn’t dislike Deadpool’s campaign. I actually loved it, and found the game to be really enjoyable once it kicks into gear, stops breaking the fourth wall, and once I got used to the occasional bug. There is even an oddly touching sub-plot involving Death, Deadpool’s would-be girlfriend (you know, if he could actually die).
Of course, Deadpool is a single-player only experience, though you do unlock challenges to compete for the best score with other players through online leaderboards, if that’s your thing.
Deadpool the game is quite enjoyable, though the level of enjoyment really comes down to an individual player’s sense of humour and whether or not they can withstand the hack-slash-shoot-repeat gameplay. For those of you who looking for a good single-player experience, check out Deadpool: The Game, it’s not as polished some action games, but it is infinitely better than Deadpool’s depiction in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (sorry, I had to!)