Say it in your head. Deadpool, the game. No way does that sound like a game that would be any good. If anything, it sounds like a throwaway title cashing in on the popularity of the character. In case you don’t already know, Deadpool is a Marvel comic character who is more like a joke character than a serious brooding character like Wolverine, Captain America or Thor. He makes fun of his exploits like Spiderman and Iron Man but he takes it to the next level, with toilet humor, sexual innuendo and fourth wall breaking jokes aimed at the reader. Perfect for a game, maybe, but no way would the care be put into making such a game. In many ways, that’s true of this game, as it’s not a deep experience and some of the lessons learned from other superhero games have not been implemented here. But all of that goes right out the window as Deadpool manages to be a lot of fun for the short time that it lasts.
Developed by High Moon Studios
Published by Activision
Platforms: PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Released on 06-25-2013
Wade Wilson aka Deadpool is rude, depraved, horny, selfish, insane, brash, kick-ass, and above all else, awesome. Nolan North does a spot on depiction of the crazed mercenary, which is essential to the game as a vast majority of it relies on your enjoyment of Deadpool himself. His quips during combat, the inane cutscenes that range from depictions of stupid jokes to weird comic strip montages to something Deadpool himself threw together with paper cutouts, Popsicle sticks and probably some glue that he huffed, and even the story all draw you in only if his brand of juvenile comedy appeals to you. As such, this game isn’t for everyone but if that appeals to you, you’ll be satisfied in spades. I myself am not a reader of Deadpool comics but from what I can tell, this game nails down his persona exactly and I’m eager to check out his comics as a result.
So what’s the game about? Um…I’m not entirely sure. Deadpool asked High Moon Studios to develop a video game based on him and after an initial rejection reversed by his threat to blow their building up, they send him a script (done by longtime Deadpool writer Daniel Way), which he promptly destroys in favor of an adventure that he came up with. What follows is a plot that involves Deadpool going after X-Men villain Mister Sinister for ruining his assassination contract. Various other X-Men including Wolverine, Cable, and Rogue show up along the way as well as other Marvel characters to help or hinder Deadpool’s adventure, with little or no consequence, positive or otherwise, to him. Early on in the game, Deadpool tells the player to “just go with it” and that’s essentially what you have to do. There is a vague motivation to do what you’re doing but the real reason you, and Deadpool, are killing various clones is because it’s awesome.
Speaking of, Deadpool is your typical hack and slash action title in the vein of God of War or Devil May Cry. Deadpool can slice, shoot, and counter enemies as well as evade by teleportation. As you defeat enemies, your gain DP points (I know it technically means Deadpool Points but we both know it also means something else), which can be used to buy different melee weapons, guns and gadgets as well as upgrades. Deadpool can use not only his dual katana blades and dual pistols but sais, hammers, shotguns, pulse rifle, uzis, grenades, mines, smoke grenades, and even bear traps. All can be switched on the fly via the d-pad and this diversifies combat. Although you don’t need one weapon in particular to defeat certain enemies, the options offered to you as well as the ability to upgrade your arsenal do show significant improvement and you’ll be happy to gain enough for that next ability or boost.
Gameplay is fairly straightforward. There’s little room for exploration though what little you do will often reward you in collectible DP point pickups and ammo. Besides that, you’ll typically fight a wave of enemies or two, walk to the next area and fight another wave of enemies. Lather, rinse, repeat. At times, you’ll have some platforming sections or parts where you’ll need to find a thing to put in another thing (direct quote from the game) and even some retro areas in the style of old Legend of Zelda titles or Prince of Persia side-scrollers but these are implemented sparsely. Platforming isn’t the best you’ve ever experienced and is actually quite stiff but levels are designed in a way that it’s very rarely an issue. You won’t get frustrated trying to make a jump to a platform that the developers probably should have moved closer. Equally so, the items you need are fairly simple to find. I only got stuck once in the whole game and it was only for around five minutes. There are also some cool down moments where you’ll be walking around your apartment or in a club or something else kinda strange considering the context but this is more character building and is entertaining.
Gameplay wise, whether or not you like it really comes down to whether or not you find the combat repetitive. You will be fighting enemies most of the time and I can see some getting bored of fighting essentially the same enemies over and over. The excuse is that they’re clones but still. Personally, I found the combat never got old thanks to the responsive controls and various attacking options but I can see the combat being very polarizing between various gamers. Honestly, there’s nothing actually wrong with the game itself; it’s just that nothing aside from Deadpool himself is exceptional. The graphics look good if not great, level design is fair if uninspired with its constant dip into the sewer/ruins/underground well, and the frame rate on the PC was solid aside from some infrequent dips.
That said, there are some issues I can address about the game. The camera during combat is horrible. Luckily, you can usually continue fighting with little consequence while you try to fix the camera but especially at the end of the game (which is more like an endurance round which some will like and others won’t), it becomes a real issue. It constantly gets caught behind a wall, especially in close knit spaces, and the lack of a camera reset only hinders this more. Gunplay is also noticeably weaker than melee combat. Mixing swordplay with guns typically doesn’t work like you want it to and the aiming cross-hairs is too small. Finally, the challenge mode feels like an after thought as the objectives are boring and typically doesn’t offer anything more than a score on a leaderboard. It’s a poor attempt to extend the life of the game.
Deadpool really does play like a typical action title, with little to differentiate itself from the crowd. Granted, it’s a solid title that’s structurally more sound than others but it really only has one element that makes it different from titles like Dante’s Inferno or Marvel’s own X-Men Origins: Wolverine. However, that one element really does carry the entire game. Deadpool is an extremely entertaining character that takes an okay game and makes it good. I mean, he builds up momentum for his special attacks by eating tacos. Who doesn’t love tacos!? Never has a game expressed the explanation “Because Video Games” more explicitly than this game. It may not be for everyone but Deadpool is literally one of the most fun games I’ve played recently and although it only lasts six to eight hours, it’s an experience I want to have again. And that’s it. Seriously, roll credits. We’re done here.