Top critical review
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A lot of fun if you like the character
on 10 July 2013
Well, Deadpool finally gets his own game! I have to say first and foremost it's heck of a lot better than many of those generic comic-book-character-based games out there (Arkham Asylum and Arkham City notwithstanding, of course). So, first off:
Deadpool. Oh god Deadpool. They did the character perfectly. Great voice acting, breaking of the fourth wall, interacting with the other characters etc all shine out in glorious absurdity. I had a good laugh pretty much all the way through the game, and for once a game had me LOOKING FORWARD to the cut-scenes just to see what shenanigans Deadpool would get up to next.
The humor is golden, if you happen to like immature, slap-stick, absurdist, offensive humor. But then again if you don't, I kinda don't understand why you'd be looking at a game with a main character who is pretty much the embodiment of all of the above. You've got the boob jokes, the penis jokes, the swearing, the over-the-top violence, the voices in Deadpool's head... And every once in a while, Deadpool's insanity will kick in full-force, resulting in hilarious hallucinations that provide a nice break from the monotone and dreary level design.
The story is almost incomprehensible and yet well done (if that makes any sense). It creates a perfect contrast between Deadpool (who has no clue why he has to kill his first target, even) and the other X-men who are trying to save the world as always (I guess?). Cable makes a brilliant straight man, providing a voice of reason that Deadpool never listens to. Pretty much every scene that involves Cable is funny and memorable.
All in all, Deadpool brings life to this game, and if you're a fan it's a must-have.
The action. It's a pretty standard affair, by which I mean if you've played any classic hack-and-slash game you know the system. Deadpool breaks absolutely no new ground here. While it's perfectly functional with a few little oddities (like bear traps), it just is... Well, bland. You've got your standard layout of melee weapons (Balanced, quick, heavy-hitter)and firearms (pistols, shotguns, sub-machine guns, and energy weapons) with your obligatory power-up-by-collecting-credits-by-killing-things system. You can switch pretty smoothly from a 3rd person shooter gameplay to a Bayonetta style slice and dice brawler, and chaining combos using both melee weapons and firearms is fun. There are camera issues, the usual gripes for this kind of game but they didn't strike me as being any worse than most other hack and slashers.
You also have stealth takedowns which are all funny, but the stealth gameplay is iffy at best. There are some sections of the game where you can go in guns blazing, or stealthily take down bad guys, but it's never really clear whether or not they can see you. I always ended up taking down one guy only to immediately be spotted by another guy (and yes, I was using MELEE takedowns. The gun takedowns are noisy, obviously). I feel like this aspect of the game could have been polished more.
Level design. As I said, Deadpool brings life to this game. In other words, without Deadpool, it's uninventive and monotonous. It's good in the sense that it makes Deadpool stands out, but it also means that in-between bouts of madness induced hallucinations you're trudging through places you've seen a million times before in other games. I feel like they could have done so much more here, they do their best to shake things up but still it gets a bit dreary.
Difficulty. It vacillates like crazy. If you're only up against melee enemies you can mow through them like a ninja in red tights, but as the game progresses you get melee characters, gun characters, self-destructing characters, teleporting characters, and characters with ridiculous amounts of health all coming at you at once. You do have a healing factor, but it takes a while to kick in, and when you're being bombarded from all sides by bullets and energy blasts and grenades it gets frustrating. You can be comboing some melee guys when bang you're hit by an energy bolt from an enemy you didn't see, lose your combo, and then in the mean time the self-destructing guys have snuck up on you and game over. You of course have a counter attack and a dodge function (using Deadpool's teleporter) but they only work for melee enemies, and they use the same button so if you're one second too soon on hitting a counter attack you end up teleporting to the other side of the screen. That being said, if you memorize what enemies appear where you generally can use the appropriate weapons and gadgets (like grenades, mines, and the aforementioned bear traps) to make things a lot easier. I won't say it's poor design, but it could do with a polish.
Replay value. Non existent. No real collectables or exploration aspect, no multiple endings, and well, the humor is great but any joke heard 2 or 3 times stops being funny. The game can be powered through in a weekend, and after that there wasn't much incentive to keep playing. I DID do a second playthrough just because I found the game hilarious (and yes, it was the second time through too) but unless you REALLY want those trophies, it's really not that replayable. I mean there are the challenge maps but like I said, the combat is nothing special and fighting wave after wave of enemies just gets tedious after a while.
If you like Deadpool, you'll like this game. I had a blast playing it, and it's also fun to play with friends while having a few beers (note: no multiplayer option exists). The humor is good, they nailed the character of Deadpool, and the action is satisfactory if uninventive. I'm hoping this will be the Arkham Asylum of Deadpool, leading to a better, funnier sequel.