Review – Deadpool

Review

  • Review – Deadpool
  • Review – Deadpool
  • Review – Deadpool

"
If that hit you in the chest, I'm sorry. I was aiming for your crotch.
Publisher:
Activision
Developer:
High Moon Studios
Release Date:
15-Jul-2013
Platform(s):
XBox 360, PS3, PC
Genre:
Action-Adventure
Age Rating:
Ok, so what the hell guys?!

High Moon offer up not only their most accomplished effort to date, but a seminal event in gaming comedy. And we what? We just overlook it? Lament the fact you can’t idly button mash your way through it?!

WTF?!?!
WTF?!?!Enlarge Enlarge

For Shame! SHAAAAMMMEEEE!

Currently enduring a respectful (if unduly harsh) 64 on Metacritic, this unrelentingly droll Hack/Slash/TPS hybrid is one of the most amusing experiences 2013 has spewed up so far.

Deadpool took a beating last month. Critics derided his trademark hyperactivity and bungled mechanics. However, if there’s one thing The Merc with a Mouth can take, it’s a pummelling. And tacos.
He can take ALL the tacos.

While pretenders Matt Hazard and Duke Nukem can take years/decades in development only to botch the final product, High Moon Studios have breezily pumped out gaming’s defining irreverent badass.

See? Badass.
See? Badass.Enlarge Enlarge

Mechanically, Deadpool is NOT the mess of bile and slurry you’ve been warned off.

Admittedly, melee combos are limited, a shadow of genre greats like God of War or DMC. But Deadpool has untapped layers, offering players secondary gadgets, arena clearing ‘Momentum’ techniques, visceral takedowns, bullet ridden finishers, split-second counters, and my personal favourite, Equilibrium’s GUN KATA! A trio of primary choppers juggle with four free-aiming, dual wielding lead-spitters for the most convincing melee/shooter fusion gameplay yet.

Bang! Bang Bang Bang!
Bang! Bang Bang Bang!Enlarge Enlarge

Yes, it’s jerky at times, botching transitions, arresting the flow. But to brand Deadpool a simple button masher speaks more of the player’s lack of imagination than High Moon’s. There is no shortage of tricks, turnarounds, tactics, and gloriously over the top takedowns to be mined here. You just have to soddin’ well dig for them!

First and foremost, Deadpool, both the game and Marvel entity, exists to entertain – and thus the laurels of this jerky-albeit-quite-creative combat are never rested upon. Gameplay is continuously broken up with tropes both common (stealth sections, turret sequences, RPG unlocks, FPS Breeches) and not-so-much-with-the-common (8-bit isometrics, 2D platforming, outrageously inappropriate dialogue trees)

Stealth Kills are the least stealthy thing in existence
Stealth Kills are the least stealthy thing in existenceEnlarge Enlarge

But anyone dropping 60 bucks on this purely for its aerial jugglers is evidentially a few leagues wide of the mark –we’re all showing up for Deadpool’s trademark funnies!

And with voice-talent vet Nolan North off the leash, they’re dumped by the truckload!

We’re not even being metaphorical here. There are literally thousands of lines of dialogue here - No mean feat for a one man show! And though many sardonic witticisms will be missed without steadfastly exploring each and every avenue of interaction, they are all of them worth the effort!
This sequence alone yields dozens of gems
This sequence alone yields dozens of gemsEnlarge Enlarge

Now I’ll happily admit the scatological, sexist comedy Deadpool has been slammed for is hard to miss, though to reduce such a herculean effort to mere toilet humour seems a purposely ignorant tack. Rocking a three-way split personality, Deadpool’s (North’s?) wit is sharper than his sai, his comedic timing more surgical than his shotgunnery.

And they're pretty sharp to begin with...
And they're pretty sharp to begin with...Enlarge Enlarge

Far, FAR more often than not, Deadpool is genuinely riotous, constantly nattering zany observations in your ear during combat; “I am NOT a clown, sir!” Cutscenes are simply vehicles for more satirical barbs but most impressively, the weight of Deadpool’s fourth wall breaking prowess is saved for his oddly insightful commentary on the predictable nature of video games.

Equal parts celebration and criticism, Deadpool saves his most meta-physical antics for observation on progression in games, their need for experience points, their reliance on arbitrarily locked out systems, their recycling of AI foes, their pathological desire to shoehorn fetch quests into every scenario.

Death: Deadpool's unrequited love. Naturally.
Death: Deadpool's unrequited love. Naturally.Enlarge Enlarge

At one point, Deadpool will explain away the sudden increase in his teleport ability as “a standard gaming trope” or hammer home the explanation “just so we’re sure, this lever here, opens this gate right here, allowing me to progress to the next screen there”. Elsewhere, he’ll even employ his ubiquitous thought bubbles to traverse a seemingly impassable ravine.

Perhaps, Deadpool’s greatest achievement is the fact it stays doggedly, steadfastly faithful to its source material, while seamlessly transitioning to a fresh medium. Domino, Death, Wolverine and Cable (Who the F*ck is that?!) all make cameos, perfect foils for Deadpool’s heightened, hyper(active) reality.


Ultimately, you can taste the effort, the research, the polished performances THROWN at this game by High Moon. From their self-referential jibes to the unrelenting stream of nonsense dripping from their protagonist’s cancer ridden skull, this is a labour of love.

Frenzied, barking mad, batsh*t insane love.

A bromance for the ages
A bromance for the agesEnlarge Enlarge

No doubt, Deadpool aims squarely for his niche target audience, and trips over himself with ambitious-yet-jagged combat. But if you’re even fleetingly interested in Marvel’s Mad Hatter, get your greasy hands on this and prepare for 7 solid hours of deliriously delicious dementia!

P.S. In the game, I’d probably get triple Deadpool points for alliteration!


8 Stars: Recommended
Review – Deadpool on ClickOnline.com


About this author

jack@clickonline.com
Staff Reporter
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