"Deadpool, Bang, Babes, MAYHEM"...damn that launch trailer was amazing, too bad the game isn't...
For those of you who might not know, Deadpool is an action hack and slash third person shooter video game based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name developed by High Moon Studios, the creators of the critically acclaimed Transformers games of this generation. Now as we all know, a game based on a comic book hero rarely (and I mean it) can be good and fun to play. Deadpool manages to be one of those. FUN! Fart jokes, d*ck jokes, sex jokes, hilarious conversations and funny situations, Deadpool will make you burst out laughing.
When it was first announced the game looked very interesting and many people, me included, thought that this maybe is the "Arkham Asylum" game for Marvel. It looked like High Moon Studios really captured the character of Deadpool and that the gameplay was something to look forward too. The game came out and I can say that they at least got one thing spot on, Deadpool himself. As we all know from the comics and animated shows, Deadpool is a batshit crazy anti-Hero with a very big mouth and a nature we haven't really seem before. And in the game he is all this and much more. Voicing Deadpool and his two other voices in his head is Nolan North, who doesn't need any introduction, and let me tell you that HE IS DEADPOOL! The dialogues he has with the two other voices in his head are hilarious, but the best is when he is talking with you. Yes you, the player. He totally breaks the fourth wall of gaming like we have never seen before. In the past there were some games like Metal Gear Solid where Psycho Mantis "moved your controller" with his mind powers, but Deadpool rises over that. He knows he is inside a game and he will tell you this countless times while you are playing. Many times he will call you names, make fun of you, make fun of the game itself. He will mock game cliches, mechanics, gimmicks, glitches, bugs etc. he is self-aware that in reality this it's only a game and he will make the most out of it. Breaking the fourth wall, this is the driving force behind this game.
The writing is hilarious even if the game story doesn't make any sense and it feels that there isn't one actually to speak of in the first place. Maybe that is because Deadpool destroys the script of the game and writes all over it with crayons cause he wants to "create and write" his own game. Mr. Sinister who wants to kill every human and mutant on the planet and repopulate it with "perfect" clones and Deadpool takes the responsibility to stop his evil plans, but how all of this plays out during the 7 hour long singleplayer is poorly executed. But, as I said above, what is fantastically executed is the portrayal of Deadpool himself. You start in his apartment, where there are many things he can interact with–you can drop a “stink pickle in the bath”, eat some pizza, drink beers, watch some TV, go to the internet, pet your dog or even blow up his inflatable doll. Everyone of these actions becomes zany and immature with prompts like "Do Doggy Style" or with the his silly comments like the about the the inflatable doll "Tell me we are not going to put our pen*s there". This is the best part of Deadpool, it doesn't take itself seriously and the result of that is simply hilarious and never seen before anywhere. Once you’ve exhausted the interactivity of the apartment, you and Deadpool are set upon the path to create your game.
Gameplay wise, it is fun and satisfying...for the first two hours, then it becomes boring and very repetitive. Deadpool is a hack and slash at heart mixed with gunplay and some tacked on platforming sequences. Note that this is not God of War nor Devil May Cry, both games where you have to at least switch and combo some attacks to kill the enemies. Nope, here you can kill pretty much everyone and everything just by mashing buttons. You get light and heavy attacks which you can mix with gunplay resulting in "Gun-Kata", but again, you just have to mash them in order to win, there's no strategy to follow, no big 10 button combo to execute in order to win a fight. The gunplay works like your traditional third person shooter. Shooting enemies feel right and the bullets have a satisfying impact on them. The only problem with it is the lock-on, it doesn't work properly for no apparent reason. Once you lock on an enemy the reticle goes to the far left, so you miss every shot...strange.
Another thing that I found it was lacking is that there aren't any QTEs in the game. Why is that High Moon, why? I would have loved to see Deadpool kill a boss in a quick time event with some hilarious and very creative moves only he can pull off, but there is nothing like that in the game. Boss fights are very lame, as its every other encounter with the same three or four types of enemies. You just kill and decapitate clone upon clone (well, that kinda makes sense with the game story) and it gets repetitive as hell. There is also a mechanic like the counter in the Arkham games, but it's kinda useless here. When you see the Circle or B button on top of an enemy, he is about to strike you and by pressing it, Deadpool counters him. When Batman countered someone he performed a badass move and knocked him down, but here Deadpool just slashes the enemy while a kapow sound effect plays out. The counter button is also used as the evade button, where Deadpool teleports himself out of danger, and I think you might understand what problems this choice in button layout rises. Apart from the hack and slash, there's also a stealth element, but since is very underdeveloped it is not even worth mentioning.
By killing enemies and collecting DP tokens, you earn DP points (DP like Deadpool you sick f*cks, not the other thing) which you can spend on upgrading Deadpool, buy new weapons, guns, gadgets or upgrading the current ones. There are three different weapons which you can choose from: katanas, sais and hammers. Each one of those can be upgraded where you increase their damage, unlock new combos, powers etc. What I found out is that when you upgrade your katanas to the max, you can use only those to "win" the game, since there is no incentive in using the other two. The same is for guns which are four to choose from: pistols, machine guns, shotguns and rail guns. Using these weapons can be fun, especially when you execute the "Gun-Kata". And there for last, there are the gadgets or consumables consisting in grenades, flashback, bear traps and trip mines, which are cool and help during combat but nothing special.
Presentation is OK I guess. Visually ehhh... character models look good and the animations during cutscenes are very well done, during gameplay not so much. The environments looks bland with low res textures, you get the generic ones like sewers or inside bland buildings or office block etc. Sounds, instead, are very well done. VO as I said is amazing, Nolan North brings Deadpool, Deadpool and Deadpool (three voices!) to life. Frame rate stutters many times while combat, many times that it can get a true nuisance.
Fan service is pretty much nonexistent, apart from a few bios videos of the characters you find in the game. If you come from a game like Arkham City that has more than 400 Riddler secrets, where each unlocked something like art or a video or a costume, in Deadpool there is nothing. No alternate costumes, no secrets, as far as I know no easter eggs, nothing. Once you finish the game, that's it, there's no point of going back for a second time. There are the so called "Challenge Maps", arenas where you have to kill X number of enemies before time runs out, but you will not want to play them.
Bottom Line: Deadpool offers a humor that other games can only dream of. It has some of the most funniest and very creative moments in gaming history and it has satisfying gameplay, but it grows old really fast. Visually looks OK, Nolan North is the man and it is very short with zero replay value. If you are a hardcore Deadpool fan, definitely pick it up, this is for you. But if you are a casual player looking for a hack and slash game, for 50$ there are some better choices out there. The game had a lot of potential, but it was executed poorly. Maybe if in the near future, Deadpool manages to gather the necessary budget for a sequel and if the High Moon guys take their time to develop and not rushing things through, Deadpool The Sequel might be a game to look forward to.
Deadpool was reviewed on the PS3 using a promo copy provided by Activision. Deadpool is now available for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.