It would seem that if you have a licensed game which needs developed, and you want it done right, High Moon Studios is the first call you want to make! Hot off the heels of their hit Transformers series comes Deadpool, a game based on Marvel’s slapsticky and psychotic Merc with a Mouth.
My first experience with Deadpool was way back in the 90s when Marvel gave him his own book. Written by the great Joe Kelly, and illustrated by the unfathomable Ed Mcguinnes, I found Deadpool to be a delightfully dark romp. Deadpool had the ability to go from laugh out loud funny, to dark and disturbing psychosis at the drop of a hat. It was great, and I’ve been a fan of Deadpool ever since. As the character evolved and became more “bang, bang, bang,… penis joke…, bang, bang, bang!” and less “I lock old blind ladies in my personal torture chamber when they upset me.” I eventually dropped the book.
Highmoon’s game absolutely draws more from the former when it comes to portraying ol’ Wade Wilson, and that’s ok. What wasn’t working for me in the comic anymore, surprisingly feels oh so right in the game! Highmoon has ratcheted the level of Deadpoolly-ness right off any measuring scale known to man…and it works. The best part of playing through this game is waiting to see what Deadpool will say next, or how he will break the fourth wall. It’s vulgar, it’s crass, often times it’s pretty gross. It absolutely speaks to the 13 year old sociopath in all of us.
Graphically, the game is pretty top-notch. High Moon’s proficiency with making the Unreal Engine 3 it’s bitch is pretty apparent throughout a playthrough. Sure there is a glitch, or invisible wall here or there, but nothing so bad as to detract from the overall experience. Unfortunately, the levels one will be playing through are somewhat bland and uninspired. At least until later parts in the game. Linear sewers and highrise buildings are the order of the day my friends, something that Deadpool himself comments on.
Gameplay centers around making use of Deadpool’s trademark swords and pistols in order to cut a swath through many a generic henchman. Yes, you will be dismembering, impaling, and filling the same enemy types full of lead over….and over….and over again. Thanks to some witty banter from Deadpool himself, whether directed towards his current victim or the player, things don’t get to tedious. All though it would have been nice to see a greater variety of enemy classes. It’s a problem I pointed out with High Moon’s Transformers games as well, and it’s something I hope they address in their next game.
As the player progresses, he/she will be afforded the opportunity to purchase new weapons, or upgrade Deadpool’s abilities. Something that the game, and Deadpool himself will remind the player of ad nauseum. Dispatching enemies with a sledge hammer, or immobilizing them with a bear trap, before relieving them of various appendages is quite gratifying. The combo system feels a bit sluggish at times, and could have used a bit more refinement. Switching from Deadpool’s signature swordplay to a ranged attack using pistols, shotguns, lasers, etc… can also feel a bit jarring. It’s nothing that players will not adjust to as they progress through the game, but at first it does feel a bit hinky. Deadpool’s signature teleporter is also included in his arsenal. It’s quite useful in dodging incoming attacks or setting up combos against enemies who seem to have gotten their block button stuck.
It’s not all wise-cracking and fourth wall breaking though, this game has a story. Deadpool is working with (threatening their lives) High Moon to make the most amazing Deadpool game ever. There is a knock at the door, a script is delivered, and it’s off to the races for our black and crimson clad hero. The game features guest stars a plenty, with heavy hitters like Wolverine, Cable, Mr. Sinister, Psylocke, and Rogue all making appearances.
It would literally be impossible to make this game work with a protagonist who runs his mouth this much, without some top-notch voice over talent. Que Nolan North, the most electrifying man in video game voice over entertainment. North once again proves why he is the top guy in the biz by giving Deadpool, and his psychosis, a voice to berate baddies with.
Unlocks and extras are really kept to minimum which is a shame. This really hinders the game’s replayability. High Moon has included a challenge mode, which is basically just a survival mode using environments from various levels throughout the game. It really isn’t enough to keep players coming back for more after conquering the campaign. This is strictly a ‘one and done’ game my friends.
All in all, I think fans of Deadpool will find this game an entertaining experience. The best thing about it is Deadpool himself, and High Moon has delivered on that front in spades. Those of you out there who have never experienced Deadpool before, or find sophomoric humor to be…….well…..sophomoric (you have no souls by the way), may want to give this one a pass. If you set aside the dick jokes, the innuendo (in your endo), and the wall breaking, what’s left is a pretty mediocre hack and slash that doesn’t justify the price. Waiting till Deadpool gets a price drop, or a good Steam sale, is probably the way to go.