Play The Game: Deadpool Edition
Deadpool month is carrying on and I decided now was the perfect time to crack open last years Deadpool video game from Activision so that I could give my review. So how did High Moon Studios handle the Merc With The Mouth? In the immortal words of the Tootsie Roll Owl: Let’s find out.
First a little DVG history for you; released in June of 2013 the game was developed by “Fall of Cybertron/War for Cybertron” gurus High Moon Studios for Activision. High Moons quality in being respectful and knowledgeable with the source material is in full effect as Deadpool is rendered in wonderful digital graphics as are all the X-characters that grace this release.
So onto the review:
This game is hilarious plain and simple. This game is the first one that has ever had me laughing so hard I had to pause the game. The humor is puerile, immature, out and out juvenile, and any other word that means lowbrow. However, it is executed with such timing that it comes off extremely satisfying. Comedy is hard and more so with a video game because it requires a thousand different things working together to succeed and more often than not one of those things does not live up to it’s part.
Lucky for the humor; all the parts in this game succeed.
The story is pure Deadpool. It’s a game designed by Deadpool and with all that that means. He knows it’s a game, he came up with it. The very start of the game is Deadpool receiving the script to the game that you then play through. He talks to the player, he takes off on his own and the camera has to catch up to you.
His teleporter only gets upgraded to longer periods when it becomes necessary and he explains why to the player. It all is classic Deadpool and essential to the character. He knows he’s a comic book character, so of course he has to know he’s in a video game.
The plot is a basic Deadpool scenario, he does a job, it goes south, and so Deadpool carries on in order to get his money from the guy who cost him (in this case a sinister mister). This has been a plot of Deadpool over and over. It takes him from a business high rise all the way to the wasteland of post-genocidal Genosha.
Along the way Wade comes across Wolverine and his band of merry mutant females, gets to crash the Blackbird, meet up with Cable again, take on a task for his lady love Death, and kill more clones than is usually humanly possible. Throughout it all Wade, crack jokes as well as skulls, cuts one liners as well as arms (and gas), and carries on in a way that only the most insane of us can appreciate.
This game is for the SouthPark fan. If you’re a fan of Deadpool, you’ll enjoy this game. If you’re a fan of Daniel Way’s Deadpool, you will definitely enjoy this game.
I’ve talked about the story. I’ve talked about the plot. Let’s talk dialogue. This games dialogue is simply amazing. I’m not just talking cutscenes- which will have you in stitches all by themselves- but the dialogue in game while you are navigating Mr. Wilson through the pits and valleys of the various environments.
The conversations he has with himself and with others are ripe with fourth wall breaking quips, little bits of marvel knowledge, and natural as can be. It’s amazing how natural Cable and Deadpool sound when talking about some very out there stuff.
The best part is that, since this game is the one created by Deadpool, everyone talks and acts as Deadpool thinks that they talk and act. The result is you get this sort of blank slate in these characters that allow them to be a little more funny than they usually are.
Wolverine is very much a soldier with a stuck up his bum and he says bub… a lot, Mr. Sinister is raining clones everywhere, there’s a wheel of chance in order to get to the top of a security tower, and Rogue makes out with Deadpool. The best part of this though has got to be seeing Deadpool’s take on Cable.
Cable spends the entire game talking about fighting a war in the future that he keeps having to go back to, but because this is Deadpool’s point of view game it comes across like he’s completely full of it. It adds to the humor of the game and just makes it a lot more fun and fresh.
Deadpool is the perfect character to have this new spin on these classic characters.
Either way, the plot and dialogue of this game is a home run and make it enjoyable to play from start to finish.
The other thing that makes this game terrific is the voice acting. Holy dear god, Nolan North as Deadpool is just a classic to behold. If you haven’t heard him yet I’ll sum it up like this. Nolan is for Deadpool what Conroy was for Batman, Hamill was for Joker, and Blum is for Wolverine. He is definitive. He won’t be topped. He can be overcharged as Deadpool must be but without being overbearing (which is a risk that actors face with this character).
However, Nolan maintains that energy throughout without ever being annoying. His reactions, dialogue, moments with every character he has are just golden.
However, Nolan isn’t enough to make the dialogue shine. He needs a great supporting cast. Steve Blum is Wolverine and he and Nolan play so well off of each other I want them in a new buddy cop animated series now.
Fred Tastaciore has found another character that he can claim as his own in the role of Cable. His time as the Hulk has been excellent but he has the deep baritone and gravitas that make that character work and work well against Deadpool. This is a team that has been around before and there is a real sense of history between these two characters. What makes it work is that Fred is perfect for Cable as the straight man to Nolan’s Deadpool as the comedian.
The downside of this game is the gameplay. It’s your classic action-adventure format so it’s very A to B style. Which in and of itself is okay, it’s enjoyable but there’s nothing innovative in it. This stands out when you see just how out there the narrative and dialogue of the story is, it is hampered by the fact that the format is very formulaic. Even a joke about it doesn’t really mitigate it. It’s a tad lackluster but it’s all the stuff that works that makes it very apparent as such.
The landscapes are also very barebones. Genosha is a ruined office park straight out of “Last of Us” only with lesser graphic quality. The use of Sentinel parts to navigate the terrain was a brilliant master stroke but the overall design of the look environments makes me believe they rushed through that process and just made generic looking places but with some Sentinel parts so that you know it’s Genosha.
The catacombs are fairly well designed drawing inspiration from “Tomb Raider” and “Temple of Doom” but the rest of them just are so bland. Again, this wouldn’t be an issue if the uniqueness of everything else about Deadpool wasn’t a stark contrast bringing this out.
The other downside is the control functions needed a little more tightening up. The real culprit of this is that at times you are working against the camera that refuses to auto focus on enemies. I lost a ton of health due this problem.
The other big issue is the left trigger auto aim doesn’t always work. There were a few times I had to hit that left trigger because it didn’t automatically lock up on a target like it was supposed to. When dealing with the weather controlling clones this is a must have function if you wish to un-alive them.
In the end, all the creativity and care that went into crafting the story, dialogue, and voice-over work really highlight the complete lack of the same in design, layout, control, and gameplay. This doesn’t ruin the game in the slightest for me as all the good stuff still outweigh the lackluster
Deadpool is a game with brilliant writing, snappy dialogue, and amazing voice over work that make for a fun, exciting, and humorous game; all the things that make Deadpool Deadpool.
However, if you’re a gamer that focuses more on game play without really caring about any of the other stuff, you’re not going to enjoy the game. It’s fairly easy, not really groundbreaking in any way outside of the writing and acting, and the control failures can be annoying. Likewise, if you like your games long then this isn’t for you either. Oh, did I forger to mention that?
Yeah, this game is short. It plays almost like a mini-game, which is sad because I desperately would love more of this Deadpool. The game itself is pretty straight forward and the only real tense moment in it is the final stage which is one of the most amazing gauntlet runs I have ever experienced in my time as a gamer (of course, I’m not that much of a hardcore gamer so take that for what it’s worth).
In the end, if you love Deadpool (especially Daniel Way’s DP) you need to play this game. I wouldn’t pay $60 for it, but if you can get it for $30 you more than got your money’s worth.
It’s a game with flaws, but a game that must be played.
4 out of 5