Despite its repetitive gameplay, Deadpool stands out with its stellar comedy writing and craziness.
Deadpool is one of those characters that people will either love or hate. There really is no in-between. The fourth-wall breaking “Merc With A Mouth” tends to spout offensive nonsense and often finds himself in completely insane situations, even for a comic book character. That’s what makes him so special, though – watching Deadpool make an ass of himself and poke fun at the sullen, stoic heroes around him (like Wolverine and Cable) will crack you up, and his juvenile nature is what makes his character memorable. High Moon Studios definitely “gets” the character, and Deadpool the game is overflowing with vulgarity, callousness and hilarity. The deranged humor (brought to life by veteran voice actor Nolan North) is what makes Deadpool worth playing, but luckily there’s a decent game underneath it all as well.
Deadpool will certainly not appeal to everyone, but Nolan North and the script’s writers manage to keep the game entertaining throughout. At the outset of the game, Deadpool threatens High Moon Studios until they agree to create a video game for him. The player can rummage through Deadpool’s stuff in his apartment, make pancakes, surf the internet, even blow up a sex doll while waiting for the game’s script to arrive. He’ll call out cheap 3D props around the bachelor pad, exclaiming that they were “clearly made by a junior artist”. Listening to Deadpool’s musings about video games, his angry tirades against High Moon, and the voices in his head argue with each other certainly gets the player up to speed on what kind of game they’re in for. He even calls up Nolan North, asking him if he wants to do his voice for the game.
It’s especially fun to slice and dice foes with Deadpool’s katanas and sais
Some of the best parts of the game have to do with its self-referential, meta style, such as Deadpool using word bubbles from his delirious mind to hop across a poisonous river, or when he blows the game’s budget for a level and it regresses to a top-down, 8-bit-Zelda-style affair. Nolan North’s animated delivery, combined with plenty of cameos from X-Men and other members of the Marvel Universe keeps the game fresh, and Deadpool’s ADD ensures that plenty of fun surprises are in store. That said, I was disappointed that Spider-Man doesn’t show up, and an instance where DP slaps Wolverine repeatedly was dumb fun, but felt like a missed opportunity to mention Wade Wilson’s awful treatment in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. By and large though, High Moon has created a fun game that’s very true to the character.
The third-person hack n’ slash gameplay is competent, and it’s especially fun to slice and dice foes with Deadpool’s katanas and sais. Giant hammers are unlocked later in the adventure, and though they’re interesting a first, I liked the other two melee methods better and was a bit let down to discover that the hammers are really the only effective close-range weapon towards the home stretch. Weapons can be upgraded, as well as Wade himself, but the standard katana blades were effectively useless by the end of Deadpool’s campaign. Guns are a large part of Wade’s repertoire as well, ranging from standard dual-wielded pistols to SMGs, shotguns and a plasma rifle.
Mixing up combos between guns and swords feels quite a bit like the Devil May Cry games, and the combat plays pretty smoothly and is well-animated. Long-range gunplay can feel a bit imprecise at times though, and enemies towards the end of the game can absorb a pretty ridiculous amount of damage, making headshots a necessity. Deadpool can also teleport, and this tactic becomes very useful later in the game, but it’s a bit strange that it’s mapped to the same button as counter. Whereas early enemy confrontations are exciting, near the end the combat devolves into stabbing, teleporting and running away to regenerate health, and repeating the process to slowly drain your opponent’s health meter. Still, throughout the majority of the campaign, chopping up bad guys is a blast.
Despite the repetitive nature of the gameplay, Deadpool stands out with its stellar comedy writing and generally eccentric nature. Special mention must go to Nolan North, I honestly don’t think that this game would even be possible without his energetic performance. Deadpool is definitely worth playing, but unfortunately there’s not much reason to keep playing it once you’re finished. Though you can continue to earn upgrades, there’s not a single collectible comic or unlockable suit in the game. This is especially disappointing considering that Wade’s story is only 6 or so hours long, but I feel as though the campaign’s length is just about right – any longer would probably lead to the game wearing out its welcome. As it stands, Deadpool is mindless fun that is easily recommendable to anyone with a twisted sense of humor.