Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine… you haven’t made it as a comic book hero unless you’ve got your own video game. And that’s exactly why Deadpool embarks on this adventure. High Moon Studios and Activision have given the so-called “Merc with a Mouth” centre stage in this new third person action game – and for the most part it plays quite well.
There’s no real story as such, with the foul-mouthed protagonist simply focussed on ensuring High Moon gives him the starring role in his very own video game. He sets out to track down a dodgy media mogul and it all kind of escalates from there. It’s all about making fun of the medium and breaking down the “fourth wall” to interact with the player.
Certainly, comic book aficionados will no doubt appreciate the inclusion of the various Marvel icons who make cameo appearances, including the likes of Domino, Cable, Death, Rogue and Mister Sinister. A quick button press when meeting one of these colourful characters sees the screen filled with a virtual comic strip explaining who they are and their relationship with Deadpool.
For anyone unfamiliar with his escapades, you can expect plenty of sarcasm, wit and obscenity from our anti-hero throughout your playthrough.
You’ll quickly realise that the game takes itself far less seriously than Batman or Spidey’s outings. It opens, for example, with Deadpool lounging round in his flat. A couple of achievements pop up onscreen for doing little more than getting out of a chair, setting the scene for the quirky humour that you’ll enjoy/endure for the next few hours of gameplay.
Exploring the apartment and watching TV all contribute towards another cheap achievement. Many will like the feel and irreverence from the start, but equally I can see how some players will tire of it rather quickly. It took me a few levels before the puerile humour really started to grate!
The apartment and sewer level that follow give the gamer the chance to grasp the simple controls, from interacting with objects to jumping, fighting and teleporting out of trouble.
A couple of buttons unleash the attack moves, with Deadpool wielding swords that can used for some quite staggering combos – one achievement rewards you for a 300 move attack!
Before long you’ll be a killing machine with access to a range of guns, grenades, hammers, mantraps and assault rifles. Find yourself in a spot of bother when surrounded by enemies or plunge from a ledge and a quick tap of the B button will teleport you out of danger too. There is also the option to stealthily creep up on unsuspecting enemies – but you’ll rarely use, or need, this.
Take a hit and your health bar dips, only for it to regenerate moments later. You’ll soon realise that running away when you’re overcome by bad guys to recuperate and then diving back into the action is a successful strategy.
The game flings XP at you with every hack and slash. Kill enough goons and the so-called DP points that are accrued can be used as currency in a shop accessed anytime by pressing the Back button. It’s certainly handy being able to buy new weaponry and upgrades, or switch between guns, mid fight so you can choose the most effective way of killing enemies.
I question whether there should have been more guns on offer, however, and that some of the more devastating weapons ought to be harder to get hold of. Before too long you’ll have unlocked even the most the powerful hammers and plasma rifles, which makes progress a lot simpler.
Early on you’ll realise that the humour is quite lewd and the gameplay reasonably gory, which makes it clear it’s not aimed at the younger audience. Deadpool frequently spews obscenities from his deranged mouth and rolls out one liners as he decapitates enemies and slices and dices their limbs.
The visuals are really spot on – full of colour and looking suitably comic book-like, with some fantastic animation. Nolan North of Uncharted fame leads the vocal talent as our titular superhero, and does a mighty fine job too. Text pops up in balloons and captions to explain a new objective or provide an insight into Deadpool’s psyche.
On the hardest setting, things get really tricky; a few direct hits from a gun-wielding enemy and the all too familiar Continue screen will pop up again – complete with sarcastic comments from Deadpool. Conversely, I tried dropping the difficulty down a couple of notches and found it took no time to speed through levels, even when up against tough enemies armed to the teeth with over sized grenade launchers and miniguns. It doesn’t matter too much if you die however, as the restart points are generous so there’s never too much backtracking.
There’s an early nod to 8-bit games and some simple puzzle elements thrown in for good measure – but ultimately, you’ve seen most of what’s on offer after a few levels. It does quickly get repetitive and playing the game on anything lower than the toughest difficulty setting means the playtime is fairly short.
It’s also a bit of a shame that besides the health regeneration – and reattaching your head or arm on the odd occasion – you never really feel like a superhero. Still, it’s an enjoyable romp. You’ll either love or loathe the humour, but as comic book capers go, Deadpool’s outing is not a bad effort.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.