Deadpool Video Game Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Released by Activision
Developed by High Moon Studios
2013, Rated PEGI 18
Game released on 28 June 2013
Platforms: Xbox360, PS3
Deadpool! Bang! Babes! Awesome! as the trailer goes. I could pretty much leave the review there and leave those four words to sum up Marvel's controversial anti-hero's new video game. Well, maybe awesome is a bit strong.
I'm not someone who's deep into the Marvel universe and its characters. My knowledge stretches as far as having seen most of the big screen adaptations featuring its super heroes. Until Deadpool's game was announced, I had no knowledge of the character save for seeing a cosplayer dressed as him at a convention. For those that don't know, Deadpool is the alter ego of Wade Winston Wilson, a disfigured and schizophrenic mercenary with accelerated healing powers thanks to the Weapon X program.
Deadpool the game sets you as the character and drops you into a linear, third-person world where the ultimate aim is to find and destroy Sinister, who's just messed up one of Deadpool's contracts, resulting in the mad merc losing money. To accomplish this will take not too many hours of button-mashing and a tolerance for repetitive jokes. Fortunately, I have quite a high threshold for the latter.
The gameplay is fairly old-school in its approach; the aforementioned button-mashing unleashes either a heavy or light attack on the myriad opponents and each one that falls will drop a distinctly retro collection of tokens and/or ammo. Ammo is self-explanatory, the tokens are used in bulk to purchase weapon and player upgrades, and new combos will be unlocked as time goes on. If you can remember brain-twisting combinations of button presses and stick movements and channel those sequences to your fingers, then the combos may come in handy. For me, repeatedly tapping X or Y got the job done.
One of the biggest annoyances is the camera angle on the player; there doesn't seem to be any logic in where the auto-tracking will end up and many times, especially when fighting near scenery, it's possible to find your view obstructed by plants or other items while you're trying to fight off Sinister's henchmen. Not the sort of thing that's great during hand-to-hand combat, but Deadpool's teleport ability, or the tried and tested "run away" are good enough to get you out of momentary pickles.
If you've seen any of the trailers for the game then you know exactly what you're going to get. Deadpool is constantly (and repetitively in some cases) wisecracking and breaking the fourth wall by talking to the player. Not just Deadpool either, both of the voices in his head pitch in whenever they feel like it. It's not actually a bad thing as there were moments where I tried different approaches to achieving goals and the voice overs gave some derisory advice on moving forward.
Not only does Deadpool interact with the player, he also acknowledges he's in the middle of a game by calling up developers High Moon Studios during the early scenes to argue about the script and budget. This leads on to some amusing exchanges and, when the money runs out due to Deadpool blowing too much shit up, the game dropping into old-school top-down dungeon-crawler action.
Many will claim Deadpool as too repetitive and to a certain extent it is a repetitive game, but it wasn't until the final battle featuring wave after wave of Sinister clones and enemies did I start to find it wearing. You'll also find little to amuse you in the game if you're of the fairer sex, as the lead character is most definitely a man's man and treats all the women he comes across as objects of sexual fantasy. If you're not hung up on that kind of behaviour then you and Deadpool should get along just fine.
I was going to end by saying that although Deadpool offers a short period of entertainment (established gamers will have it finished in no time), that its unremitting play and (eventually) grating one-liners make it something that's unlikely to be played a second time. But as I write this I'm getting a wry smile at some of the memories and thinking that another play-through wouldn't hurt. Now where did I put that controller...