STAFF REVIEW of Deadpool (Xbox 360)

Monday, July 8, 2013.
by Adam Dileva

Deadpool Box art If there’s one comic book character that is perfectly suited for having his own video game, Deadpool would be the ideal candidate, even if it is very long overdue. The fan favorite Marvel character that originally started off a bad guy is now the loveable, charming, hilarious, and absolutely insane anti-hero that you love to...well, love. Deadpool is beyond a lunatic, as he hears voices inside his head, which he also regularly has conversations with. He’s probably the most notable comic book character that tends to regularly break the fourth wall and talk to his own comic book readers and is full aware that he’s a comic book character as well.

Comedy is very difficult to pull off in videogames; sure you can easily get a laugh here and there, but to fully capture Deadpool’s essence and what makes him so entertaining is all of his small intricacies and commentary to the world surrounding him, in the video game and in the real world is very difficult to pull off properly that fans will approve of. High Moon Studios, best known for the previous and fantastic Transformers games, have taken upon this monumental task of creating a game starring one of Marvel’s most beloved and whacky characters of all time.

The final product from High Moon Studios (and trust me, you won’t forget the developers of the game when you play through it as they are referenced throughout) is a third person hack and slash adventure, not only revolved around Deadpool himself, but you’ll see many famous comic book heroes and villains throughout the campaign. There’s plenty of blood, violence, breasts, innuendo, and poop jokes to be had, and it’s absolutely hilarious start to finish.

If you’re not familiar with Marvel’s Deadpool, he was originally set to be a villain but soon starred in his own series and alongside others, Cable being probably his most famous run, and has been come to be known as the ‘Merc with a Mouth”. He’s constantly chatty, to himself, other characters, or even the reader or player, which opens up so many more possibilities for the humor to take place. There isn’t many comic book characters that can talk directly to their audience or is self-aware of his existence in the comic book or videogame world. Much like Wolverine, he was a part of the Weapon X program that granted him many of the same abilities, music the Adamantium bone structure. He did however receive the accelerated healing which virtually makes him immortal (as he has been dismembered and beheaded on more than one occasion). Because of health issues he had at the time of the program though, a side effect made his whole body scar tissue and looking like he is severely disfigured, hence the costume and mask. The other side effect that makes Deadpool so unique is that it also made him abosuotely insane, as he actually hears voices in his head, talks to them and vice versa, and is probably the reason why he’s so self-aware that he’s a character in the Marvel universe and can talk to the reader or player.

It wouldn’t have been too difficult to create a plot for Deadpool’s game that would be taken seriously, but High Moon Studios has opted to stay true to Deadpool’s nature and create a story that is completely fitting for the character and simply wouldn’t work as well with any other. Deadpool the game is about Deadpool getting to create his own game from High Moon Studios. Yes, that’s the essential idea around the story, and it only works because of the titular character. Deadpool contacts High Moon Studios to make his awesome game, they give him a rough idea, and he throws it out the window and changes everything (in crayon mind you) which allows for some absolutely hilarious situations, hysterical one-liners, Marvel character cameos (you’ll be interacting with his old pal Cable and Wolverine quite often, meet up with Death, Psylocke, Mister Sinister, and more), and an avalanche of boob, fart, and d*** jokes throughout. Oddly enough, the humor works quite well.

Deadpool will constantly break the fourth wall in many ways and talk to you the player or even notice that he can use his speech bubbles as platforms to get to his destination. Many times you’ll be insulted due to your skill, or lack thereof, or he’ll even ask if you’ve got any ladies with you. He is able to make fun of himself at his own expense, even when he’s lost a limb or two, though he’ll constantly verbally bash the enemy clones he consistently fights in ways only he could conceive. While the in-combat one-liners become stake and reused way more often than you’ll like, every other line in the game that comes out of his mouth (or the ones in his head) are absolute pure gold, as long as you find that type of comicality funny.

Deadpool starts off with his iconic duals swords and pistols, but can eventually purchase new and upgrade weapons with Deadpool Points the player picks up from battle. Eventually you can purchase shotguns, SMG’s, Sai’s, and even Sledgehammers, all of which have a different strength and weakness in battle. While I upgraded a few of the weapon choices, the fully upgraded default weapons are still my favorite, even by the ending of the game. Your swords are used with the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ buttons for light and heavy attacks, while ‘Left Trigger’ will make you aim your guns and ‘Right Trigger’ fires the weapons. There are combinations to be use with your melee weapons, and you unlock more via upgrades, but you can easily button mash your way through most sections of the game without much recourse. While I liked the gunplay the best, your ammo is limited and is only replenished by killing enemies and picking up ammo from corpses or lying around the battlefield. There is a lock on feature for the guns, but it’s very finicky when it decides if and when it wants to work, and even when it does lock on, sometimes it’s not actually in the middle of the hit box, but off to the side instead. Because of this it can’t be relied upon very often unless the enemies are running right towards you (and moving the ‘Right Stick’ for your aim or camera completely stops the auto lock-on from working).

You also have the ability to teleport a short distance to get out of danger with the ‘B’ button, but this is also your counter button as well when an enemy has the appropriate “B” symbol above their head. If you don’t time the counters just perfectly, you’ll teleport all over the place mistakenly more than once. While it’s not a deal breaker, it does sometimes draw out battles a little long because you can’t always do exactly what you intend. When you get too hurt in battle, simply run away and void getting hit for a short period of time to let Deadpool’s healing factor kick in before jumping back into battle.

A large part of the game is the upgrades you can earn for your weapons and unlocking new ones as well that can be switched with the D-Pad on the fly, freely switching between your melee weapons, firearms, and grenades when needed. It’s up to you when and what you want to upgrade or purchase, depending on your play style and preferences for combat, though I do at least suggest unlocking all of the weapons, as you are much more efficient with certain ones against specific enemies. Each weaon has specific upgrades that can range from more ammo, damage, Deadpool Points (DP… Yea, heh), rate of fire, and more. There are even upgrades for Deadpool himself like larger health bar, carry more ammo and throwables, more teleports before needing to recharge, and more. Surprisingly the upgraded di seem to make quite a difference, and my fully upgraded pistol can easily chew through most enemies’ health bars.

Deadpool is lovingly sarcastic, not only in the characters dialogue, but in the gameplay itself. During serious moments of the plot, Deadpool will most likely not be paying attention to what’s going on, insulting someone’s dumb super power, crying, and who knows what else. The comedy begins from the moment you start the game and doesn’t end until the credits finish. Not only are Deadpool’s one-liners hilarious, but the game as a whole is as well, as some of the weapon descriptions are just as funny; The Bear Trap weapon’s description says it’s for trapping bears, and that there are no bears in this game. Everything is treated so silly that you’ll have a hard time not laughing as long as you don’t get offended by the crude humor that he whole game revolves around.

While the humor is the star of the game and the reason you should play it, the same can’t be said for the combat though. It works, and it’s bland, but that’s about it. Combat is very generic and nothing you’ve never seen many times before and the majority of the time is slews of enemies thrown your way that you’ll need to slog through just to get to the next funny bit you want to see. It’s the standard action game you’d expect peppered in with a few platforming segments to slightly break up the combat monotony. That being said, the mediocre as best combat mechanic is completely overshadowed by Deadpool’s humor and will actually have you laughing out loud and smiling at jokes you probably shouldn’t.

The plot works for what it is (which I actually enjoyed its self-aware humor) and I believe High Moon Studios has captured the essence of Deadpool absolutely perfectly. Nolan North voices Deadpool with perfection, as every line is delivered with that believability that he actually is insane and bat**** crazy. If you’re a Deadpool fan you are going to love this game, though fi you’re looking for a good action game with solid mechanics powering the combat, it won’t be enough to entice you. You need that crude sense of humor and immaturity to truly enjoy Deadpools antics, but if you do, this may be one of the funniest games you’ll play, even if it’s only worth one playthrough of the campaign. I truly can’t remember a game recently that I’ve laughed not only this hard, but often as well. I already want a sequel and hope Deadpool is here to stay, and brings those sexy Marvel girls with him again, and his dog, and pancakes; Oh look something shiny! Let’s go ride bikes!

Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 7.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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