I took the new Deadpool game for a spin a few weeks ago. I shot, stabbed, and wisecracked my way through the third-person action title in around nine easily-paced hours. Deadpool is one of Marvel’s most popular characters, at least that’s what it says on the game’s webpage. I’ll get the “merc with the mouth” line out of the way now. There. I typed it.
Most of the story centers around the making of the game. I’m not kidding. Part of Deadpool’s schtick is breaking the fourth wall, and the plot of the game loosely revolves around him talking to people from developer High Moon Studios about making his game. I thought it was funny when he bitched about the budget, but then I looked at the game’s dated visuals and it made me kind of sad. There are some decent gaming/comic related jokes in here, but the rest of the humor is so juvenile I was wincing more than chuckling. Yes, Deadpool, I understand you enjoy burritos and breasts. I do to. Very much so. At least I can shut up about it.
There’s also some larger plot involving Mr. Sinister, Cable, and time travel, but since Deadpool himself didn’t seem to care I sure as hell didn’t.
A typical encounter would begin with me entering an generic area and bad guys showing up. Deadpool would have a overly-self-aware three-sided conversation with-in his fractured mind. Then the ass-kicking would commence. Combat is a familiar mix of light and heavy melee attacks sprinkled with some decent shooting. Banking huge combos is the best way to earn experience. Wiping out a wave of enemies without taking damage is the key to earning the choice upgrades early. It’s no Devil May Cry, but it’ll do in a pinch.
The counter system used and abused in the recent Batman Arkham games is in full effect, and it will keep the mobs of same-y enemies manageable. Gory, over-the-top stealth kills were a lot of fun. Sadly, they are few and far between, which is a shame. A few more highlights come from some cool set pieces that change things up a bit, but the combat gets a little stale after awhile. Deadpool fans should push through to the end. The payoff is, well, it’s something.
There’s a decent variety of weapons to play with. Deadpool has guns and swords and hammers and pulse rifles and bear traps and other assorted lethal stuff. Yes, bear traps. They’re more effective that you’d think. He also can’t really die, due to his super healing power. Or maybe he can. He says he can’t, but he doesn’t seem like the most reliable narrator. I was on the bad end of several ass-whoopings until I managed to unlock a few key upgrades.
Some other Marvel heroes make a brief appearance. Wolverine and Cable are about as tolerant of Deadpool as they can be, and the X-Women only serve as curvy window dressing. I’m not complaining, but I’m sure someone could if they wanted to.
Deadpool is a perfectly serviceable action game. It’s just not a very good one. Everything is just north of average, save for the excellent voice acting from, well, Nolan North. The overall presentation, enemy and level designs, and the combat itself is firmly “ok”. The Marvel characters elevate the game a bit, but we’re not really dealing with top-tier talent here. Sure, Mr. Sinister is the big bad, but with “super” villains like Vertigo, Blockbuster, and Arclight filling out the boss list, it’s hard to see Deadpool as anything but a minor leaguer.