Since our last time visiting with Deathspank he had a buddy with him - a goofy little wizard named Sparkles. Shortly after completing and thoroughly enjoying the first game, Deathspank makes a triumphant return in a sequel that feels an awful lot like an expansion Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue. Still vanquishing evil, assisting the downtrodden, and battling some pretty outlandish characters, Deathspank has changed settings and sidekicks - and that’s about it.
The first game featured Deathspank as a medieval warrior using swords, magic, and taking care of the village folk in their struggles. Thongs of Virtue tosses us into an epic battle resembling a World War 1 scenario, and more soldiers need help than villagers while some familiar villagers still remain. Guns and bullets replace crossbows and arrows, swords still hit enemies, and the armor is a bit more Normandy this time around.
Orques are still present in the world and ready to shoot you with bazookas (seriously, who gave these guys bazookas? Rude.) They’re the primary enemy in the game, but you’ll also see the familiar Greems (goblins, kind-of), evil donkeys, and other such strange entities that primarily exist only in the Deathspank realm.
In Thongs of Virtue you’re also with a new sidekick. We’d like you to meet Steve. Still goofy, still quiet, still a fairly trimmed down co-op partner. You see, Steve is traveling the countryside on his miniature unicorn. Oh yea, and he’s a ninja. His powers include throwing some Shurikens, healing with rainbows, and generally helping out on the side.
That’s basically all Steve is capable of. Like Sparkles from the first game, Steve cannot interact with characters, pick up quest items, open treasure chests, level up or equip any items. He is great for healing and as a support character for co-op gamers that don’t like too much responsibility. For the rest of us, he’s just as disappointing as Sparkles.
Speaking of the spectacle-sporting wizard, Sparkles is also available to play in Thongs of Virtue. He’ll heal and perform decent distance attacks just as Steve does. Same function, different purple cloak. Oh, did I mention the health bar is still shared in co-op? It’s a good thing the co-op partner can heal on command, since they can’t use any healing items or armor.
The missions in Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue still have all of the fun and humor built in that the original had, but with a lot more length to it. Not to say it gets boring after any amount of time, but the leveling and missions go on much longer for those that can’t get enough of the loot gathering and mission completing.
Areas are just as varied as the first game; traveling from a war torn battlefield to the snow covered peaks of a mountain, tromping through a dark forest and dealing with some interesting circumstances in each area. Missions are also a bit different, but executed in a way that is true to the Deathspank way.
Players will get tasks from various people in the game. These tasks can be anything from passing along messages to various people to rescuing captured scientists. You’ll end up collecting things along the way as well, and if I may recommend doing that while taking care of other tasks it certainly helps the time fly by.
Since most of the tasks are completed for some loot reward (armor, weapons, potions, etc) it’s really a shame that the second player gets none of this tangible rewards for playing the same game as the Deathspank character. It is still nice to play together but it’s incredibly limited as to what you get to experience as a team, leaving one player in the proverbial dust.
The Co-Op Experience: The co-op mode consists of a sidekick system. Player 2 won't get any saved progress as Sparkeles or Ninja Steve - but they can assist Deathspank.
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