Deadpool: The Videogame – Sorta Review
It is hardly a secret that I am a big fan of High Moon Studios’ Transformers games, so when it was announced that they were doing a Deadpool game, I was very excited, because I also a huge fan of Deadpool.
Now, people were skeptical, and that’s understandable. Making decent third-person shooters out of Transformers is one thing, but creating a third-person action game that relies on melee as much (or more) as shooting, and starring Deadpool, who is known at the best of times to be a tad odd, now that’s a different matter.
With both Activision and Marvel breathing down their necks, could they still create a product with the same quality and respect for the source material as shown in Transformers?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Let’s talk.
Deadpool is not a game without its issues. As I played on the PC, let’s discuss the PC port first of all.
The options menu is sparse, to say the least. There is not a lot there, especially not for graphics options. And for some reason the game seems locked at 60 fps (which isn’t bad, I admit), regardless of having V-Sync on or off. Well, except in the cutscenes. Again, probably for reasons.
And the default key-bindings are a bit awkward. Not insurmountably so, but if you want to use mouse and keyboard, you might want to do some re-binding first. I do appreciate that they let you re-bind everything.
And the issue of how your vision narrows in and restricts your FOV when using guns is a lot stronger felt on a PC monitor than on a TV.
In a surprising twist, the controller and mouse & keyboard controls are roughly equal. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. With the controller the camera is more noticeably troublesome, and aiming and firing the guns is about what you’d expect. Melee combat and dodging/counters feels smoother though.
To contrast that the mouse & keyboard controls give you better camera control, and feel better when using guns, but melee is a bit more awkward and as I mentioned the default keybindings can be tricky.
I started with mouse & keyboard, switched to a 360 controller after the first mission, and then switched back a little over half-way in. So personally the mouse & keyboard controls won my preference, but overall they feel so equal that I think it will all be a matter of taste, rather than one being objectively better than the other.
So how does it all work? Well, for melee you have light and heavy attacks that can be mixed together for various combos. There’s also the ‘dodge’ button, which is actually a short-range teleport in this game, because Deadpool has a body-slider device. The teleport button also doubles as the counter-attack button, and if you weren’t invulnerable while countering that would be a lot more annoying than it actually is.
For the guns you have aiming and firing. No alternate fire. There’s also a grenade button, though you have to unlock thrown items with Deadpool Points before you get any. And when you get the right upgrades for your guns, you can even mix them into melee combos for Deadpool’s patented Gunkata style.
And of course there are the Momentum attacks. Learning to make use of these is rather important, especially towards the end of the game. I never would have gotten through the final encounter without them. You start with just one, but can unlock more by getting upgrades for your weapons. Momentum builds while you’re fighting, and when the bar is full you get a prompt of what to press on the left-hand side like in the screenshot above. They’re pretty much always devastating, but fit for different circumstances. Also, Deadpool starts to threaten you if you don’t use them often enough.
As for the upgrade system, Deadpool himself admits that it’s just there because these games have them, and people want them. You start with your swords and pistols, and can use Deadpool Points you earn from beating enemies, getting combos and finding pick-ups to unlock two more melee weapons and three more guns (Deadpool of course gets two that he dual-wields of all of them), along with four different thrown items. Then you can also buy upgrades, both for the weapons, and yourself.
The upgrades aren’t available as soon as you unlock a weapon though. You have to get a certain amount of kills with it before you can buy them. Thankfully the combat is pretty fun, and the weapons all feel sufficiently different that experimenting is also fun.
The swords aren’t as fast as you might expect, and actually have a lot of impact to them. The sai are faster and blur around like crazy. They’re great for stun-locking. And the hammers, well, they smash. Slow and heavy. My personal favourites.
The pistols are quick and accurate. The shotguns do a load of damage up-close. The sub-machineguns are great for spraying an area, though their accuracy drops dramatically at range. The pulse rifles are just fun, but low on ammo.
So yeah, even at its worst, I’d say the combat is above average. It starts out fairly basic, but gets more involved and varied as you unlock more weapons and combos. It’s also pretty lethal. Regardless of his healing factor, which takes a short while to kick in, Deadpool can’t take a ridiculous amount of punishment. In fact, the machinegun-wielding baddies would usually wreck me really fast up close. Getting back in the action is fast though, and for the most part I didn’t have any problems with the checkpoint system.
Wow, I didn’t expect to talk that much about the gameplay. Are you still with me? Good. Because this is supposed to be about Deadpool. He is rude, crude, chauvinistic, psychopathic and batshit bonkers. And this game captures that pretty much perfectly. And I think it strikes a pretty nice balance between the “omg lol randoms”, straight-up comedy and some clever commentary on the state of modern gaming.
There are also the voices in his head, who are basically perfect. One sounds almost sophisticated, and tries to act as Deadpool’s voice of reason, to an extent. The other is pure lunacy and kinda stupid, and just advocates chaos and boobies. Together the three of them converse and comment on what is happening. In cutscenes they have their own text-boxes, but during gameplay you just get little indicators at the side of the screen to show who’s talking, since it can be hard to tell during the action.
Deadpool is known for breaking the fourth wall a lot, and that is not missing either. He knows he’s in a game, because he extorted the studio into making it for him. He even argues with the lead developer on the phone at a couple of occasions. He will keep making comments on how you should play the game, especially if you’re doing poorly. The objectives quite often have an amusing writing style to them.
One of the first things I did after the prologue was…
The game is extremely self-aware, and self-referential. I especially liked how during one of his delusions a couple of scantily-clad, big-boobed women were talking about fluff, and suddenly started saying “aren’t we such typical female stereotypes?”. That made me giggle.
A big part of the appeal is finding out what happens next. Deadpool is not afraid of mixing things up. This does probably hurt its replayability for a lot of people, since when you already know what’s going to happen and you’ve heard the jokes, you might not care for a second run. Though personally I plan to play through the game at least once more, to see if there was anything I missed, and to get more silly achievements.
Deadpool is probably the perfect character for a videogame, especially one as self-aware and filled with clever/amusing and(occasionally) subtle commentary as this. And as an adaptation of Deadpool, it is pretty much perfect. Deadpool: The Videogame is Deadpool. If you don’t like Deadpool, you won’t like this game. They’re impossible to separate. I like Deadpool a lot, and my feelings on the game started as “oo, this is pretty neat”, which turned into “I like it” before it became a full-blown “I love you so much, game, you are the best”.
It might not be perfect as a game, but Deadpool is my current favourite of Game Of The Year 2013. If you like Deadpool and live in North America, the game is priced at a reasonable $40, so I suggest getting it. However, in the EU zone it is priced at €50 because Activision hates us, apparently. So unless you really like Deadpool, like me, I would suggest waiting for a sale (or possible pricedrop) before you get it. And again, if you don’t like Deadpool, this is not the game for you. For those who have no particular feelings on Deadpool, but might be curious, I’d say wait for a sale.
Oh, and before you start playing, might I suggest going into the Extras section on the main menu and looking at the character bios? They’re excellent. Here’s the Cable one:
Posted on June 28, 2013, in Games, Sorta reviews and tagged 3rd person action, Activision, Deadpool, Deadpool Game, High Moon Studios, PC, PS3, videogames, Xbox 360. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.