A fun but broken game that doesn't feel as good as it should.
By Adrian Forest on July 3, 2013 at 10:42 am
Deadpool is a character who knows he’s in a comic book, but is too crazy to care. He’s an affectionate parody of another costumed mercenary, trading the original’s stone cold nature for wacky cartoon hijinks. In the hands of High Moon, a studio known for two Transformers games that demonstrate an affection and respect for that franchise, a Deadpool video game ought to be wonderfully self-aware.
Unfortunately, what they’ve produced is a game that’s crazy, but not quite in the right way.
It certainly starts off in the right direction, with Deadpool threatening to blow up the developer’s offices unless they make a game about him. Translating the character’s awareness of being in a comic to an awareness of being in a video game is the obvious choice, and the opening act of the game has a lot of fun with this. But it’s also where the trouble starts.
The first job in trying to make a self-aware video game is being honest about the medium. Deadpool comments on the production values of his apartment, and throws out the script in favour of taking mercenary jobs, but he doesn’t care that this is also a video game cliche. He has nothing to say about the framerate drops, or the camera issues, or glitches that occasionally result in his own accidental death. To be truly self-aware, the Deadpool game would have to admit that it’s a little bit broken in places. But that’s further than High Moon were apparently willing to go.
In the comics, Deadpool got Wolverine’s “mutant healing factor” as the result of an attempt to copy a previous success — and attempting to copy the success of others is something this game does well. Carving up the endless horde of mooks the game throws at you is fun for a while, and Deadpool does at least mention how many of these guys there are, and how easily he kicks their asses. But it rapidly becomes a bit of chore, and certainly not half as fun as shooting robots in High Moon’s previous games. Even as he works up strings of combos that stretch to a hundred hits or more, there’s not a single nod to the game’s combat system being very similar to that of the Arkham Batman games.
Likewise Deadpool doesn’t really acknowledge that his “mutant healing factor”, which translates into regenerating health, is one of the biggest cliches in video games at this point. There are a number of fun twists, but this is more a game that acknowledges that it is a video game, rather than one that goes the distance in showing it knows what that actually means. Perhaps one of the game’s most honest moments seems unintentional: early on, Deadpool is dumped into a Zelda-esque top-down version of the game, nonetheless still rendered in 3D. Demanding an explanation from High Moon, he’s told they ran out of money.
Though it’s not actually a bad game, it’s clear enough that — unlike the labours of love that were High Moon’s Transformers games — this was just another job for a mercenary developer who needed the cash.
- Good jokes occasionally, if a little heavy on the toilet humour
- Combat is pretty fun, with a few nice touches
- Quickly becomes repetitive
- Almost no video settings – definitely a console port
Deadpool is available on Steam for a surprisingly cheap $30.
This review copy purchased by the reviewer at their own expense.