Friday, February 20, 2015

Deadpool (video game) review

    It's widely considered to be one of the great tragedies of the X-men movies screw-ups with both X-men 3 and Wolverine: Origins that we never got to see Ryan Renyolds star in his own movie as Deadpool. Deadpool is a character who is one of the few good things to come out of the Dark Ages of the Nineties, even if he's not a character to everyone's taste?

    The appeal of Deadpool to those unfamiliar with the character? He's essentially a tool of the writer to make fun of all of the grim and gritty excesses of the Nineties. I've heard him described as what you'd get if you combined Spiderman with the Punisher only amped up the humor value a hundred times. That's not a bad description, though it'd be more accurate to say Spiderman with Deathstroke.

Exploring Deadpool's apartment is, I kid you not, one of the best parts of the game.
    The failure of the Deadpool franchise to materialize meant planned games and ideas never surfaced. However, Activision was kind enough to continue working on the idea until they managed to release the game in 2014. The game starred Nolan North as the voice of Deadpol in an inspired, albeit obvious in hindsight casting choice, as well as a script by Deadpool writer Daniel Way.

    And it's terribly fun.

    The game really puts the idea to the test of whether good writing can compensate for a lackluster game. The gameplay is painfully generic, pretty much Devil May Cry with  less enemy variety. However, the script is awesome. The jokes come fast and furious, most of them being extremely funny, and poke endless amounts of fun at gaming's sacred cows.

The stealth executions are hilariously over-the-top.
    The fact it is, literally, Deadpool believing he's in a video game as he's trying to threaten High Moon into making a video game about himself adds a veneer of meta-humor to what could have been a paint-by-the-numbers story. It's even kind of sexy with some of the X-men's lovely lasses plus a parade of well-illustrated CGI girls Deadpool will try, but fail, to sleep with. As much as I hate Duke Nukem, this game manages to capture all of the appeal of his stupid frat boy antics without being misogynist.

    Deadpool, you see, likes women.


    Okay, veering off topic.

    Way off topic.

    The premise of the game, as mentioned, is Deadpool wanting to make a video game starring himself. While in negotiations with High Moon studios, a subsidiary of Activision, he gets called into an assassination contract which ends up with him against X-men villain Mister Sinister.

    Mister Sinister is a fairly decent villain in the right hands but is very-very easy to make fun of for his card-carrying evil. Deadpool takes maximum advantage of Mister Sinister's faux-seriousness and makes it clear the villain's plot to destroy the world makes no difference to him. He's only going after Sinister because otherwise there'd be no game (and because he ruined a contract of Deadpool's).

This is more or less the entire game.
    The game makes good use of its small supporting cast with Rogue, Wolverine, and Cable all playing important parts. There's an absolutely gonzo moment of the game where Rogue absorbs Wade Wilson's powers and personality for a short time. Honestly, I wish the section where you played as Roguepool was longer. Death, a character who plays an important role in Deadpool's backstory, plays a significant role in the game too.

    There's just so much fun in the game.

    As mentioned, the biggest issue is the gameplay is on the mediocre side. It consists of Deadpool shooting and slashing waves of mooks for a dozen or so levels. It's fun enough, albeit nothing special, with a completely unnecessary sneak mechanic which exists for the purposes of allowing hilariously over-the-top execution montages.

I also love all the fun in-character bios of obscure and not-so-obscure Marvel characters.
    The lack of larger enemies or colorful bosses (with the exception of the Marauders--who are C-List villains at best) is a shame since we really needed a Deadpool and Sentinel fight. Maybe Deadpool versus Wolverine, since they both have healing factors and would recover. The game's environments are also rather dreary, including sewers and underground tunnels as well as Genosha's ruins. Some more exotic locations would have spruced things up considerably.

    Deadpool is a bit on the short side, too, but lasts just about as long as it could without making his repeating quips become annoying or the gameplay get irritating. It doesn't have much replay value either but it was well-worth the purchase cost. With the success of Batman's Arkham series, it's easy to think making a comic book video game would be a piece-of-cake but too many games misuse their license. This one takes full advantage of its lead's many idiosyncrasies even if its not the most beloved of characters.

    In conclusion, this is a tremendously fun game but for the writing and humor rather than the gameplay, which is only serviceable. Sadly, it's been taken off downloads and is only available in physical form.


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