QCF: Deadpool

This review was freelanced by Gregory Wright, you can find his other works here.

'll come clean with you guys: I'm not a huge comic book fan. It's not that I don't want to be, but these damn "video games" keep sucking up all my free time. Despite that, even I know who Deadpool is. Games such as X-Men Legends II, the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance games, or even Marvel vs. Capcom 3 introduced me to the character, and I have to say, Deadpool is a hard guy NOT to like. How do you dislike someone who constantly breaks the fourth wall and treats everything like a joke? So after years of playing the supporting character role, Deadpool is finally starring as a headliner in his own game.

And knowing Deadpool, this is going to be a bumpy ride...

For those who don't know, Deadpool isn't exactly... sane. In fact, it's probably more accurate to call him "Bat-shit crazy." However, that is probably the game's biggest selling point: you never know what crazy thing Deadpool could do or say next. The game starts out with Deadpool deciding he deserves his own game and then convinces High Moon Studios to develop it for him with his "explosive" personality (Read: He bombed High Moon's studio). This, of course, leads to a script being delivered to Deadpool's apartment and the game getting underway.

Of course, Deadpool can't be bothered with a script (it's full of words, after all) and completely ignores it. This actually affects YOU though, believe it or not. Playing through Deadpool is akin to playing a game that Deadpool is running the show on. To be blunt, Deadpool doesn't really have a story attached to it. Sure, it's there, but every time you are about to get a glimpse of it, Deadpool himself goes off and does something crazy because he's bored. For example, at one point Cable warps in and tries to explain the situation to Deadpool, but Deadpool quickly gets bored of hearing him and goes off to ride a mechanized rocket toy. I literally cannot make this stuff up.

What the game lacks in any form of coherent story it makes up for in humor. One-liners and random craziness are everywhere, as Deadpool always has something to say. The crazy humor and dialogue are the game's biggest draw by far, but you'll be disappointed if you come in looking for a story with any amount of depth.

One of the first things that drew me to Deadpool when I first saw/heard of him was his weapons. Dual katanas and handguns? Yes please! I'm kind of a katana nut. Naturally, Deadpool fights with his signature weapons, but also brings along sais, hammers, and a wealth of guns and throwable items to use, so expect some variety.

At its core, Deadpool is a third-person hack-and-slash game with elements of a shooter. You'll chain together light and heavy attacks to take down enemies (and sometimes break a foe's blocking) while occasionally releasing super-charged momentum attacks. The gun play is really nothing special with a fairly standard lock-on mechanic and aiming system, but it can chain into or out of melee attacks, which is neat (Gunkata). Deadpool also teleports short distances, which acts as your main defensive maneuver since blocking is out of the question. You can also counter foes, but the teleport button and the counter button are mapped to the same button, a fact which the game itself recognizes and tells you to "deal with" (re-mapping buttons is not an option). The game does pack in "Deadpool Points" which are gained by collecting coins and stringing hits together so you can buy all of Deadpool's weapons and upgrade his abilities, so there is at least a sense of progression as you play.

Despite packing enough heat to take on a small army (there's a joke in there somewhere), Deadpool's greatest ability is still his healing factor. Given enough time, Deadpool can come back from just about any injury, including having his head chopped clean off. The game makes use of this in the story, of course, but implements this into Deadpool's health bar as well. This leads to incoming damage being negligible as long as you don't take too much punishment (much like your modern day first-person shooter). You know what they say: those who run away and hide behind that pillar over there live to fight another day.

Much like the gameplay, the graphics in Deadpool are a mixed bag. On one hand you have a ton of awesome set pieces in the game that have Deadpool blowing mutant clones to kingdom come (while riding a sentinel boot), traversing 2D environments and riding a pirate ship while shooting beach balls at foes. Some really cool and random stuff. On the other (more prominent) hand, you'll traverse through many generic and repetitive environments, the kind of graphics where "average" is the highest compliment you can give them. The final chapter of the game actually throws some interesting environments at you, but it's still too little too late.

Nolan North (who voices everything) provides the voice of Deadpool and his various personalities in the game. Since Deadpool loves to talk to himself and just generally runs his mouth 24/7, this means that Nolan actually voices 90 percent of the game. Sure, there are various other X-Men (including Steve Blum as Wolverine), but Nolan really carries the team here and does a fantastic job -- especially considering the fact that Deadpool has multiple voices inside of his head. The game's remaining audio delivery is mostly underwhelming. There's a few bright spots here and there, such as the music at a surprise party (Sylvain Lux - Close to the Mirror) and the time when Deadpool decides he needs theme music, but there's nothing here that's going to stick with you for any amount of time.

If you take nothing else away from this review, know that Deadpool is pathetically short. The game consists of eight chapters overall and can easily be beaten in a single afternoon. I write video game guides as a hobby (because, you know... writing reviews isn't enough), and that usually makes a game take three times as long to beat, and yet I managed to write up a guide for Deadpool in two days. Granted, Deadpool comes with multiple difficulties and trophies/achievements depending on your console, but so does every other game out there.

Deadpool does include eight "Challenge" maps that unlock as you play through the game, but they are a joke since they have you use your powered-up Deadpool in said maps. They're even more of a joke considering each of the maps is DIRECTLY ripped from the level you just played, which just screams "Lazy Developer." Each level has multiple "challenges" to complete (Bronze, Silver, and Gold) which consist of throwing enemies at you with a time limit, but most of the maps have the EXACT SAME enemy combinations as every other map. If you manage to stick out the challenge maps (instead of quitting out of boredom), you get rewarded with a new costume for Deadpool. Too bad you can't wear that costume outside of the specific challenge map you won it in.

In the end, Deadpool personifies just about everything you look for in a rental game: It's pathetically short, the gameplay itself is shallow, and there's no true replay value. Despite all these flaws, Deadpool is honestly hilarious and good at providing an afternoon of mindless single player fun. Whether or not you're looking for mindless single player fun is up to you.

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