Always seen as the joker in the Marvel pack, Deadpool is the comedy king of comic book characters. He’s mad as a bag of dogs and always has an appropriate (but usually inappropriate) quip for every occasion. Even more interestingly he’s a character that is aware of whatever medium he’s in, often talking directly to the audience.
This proves to be the case from the start with Deadpool, sending up the PS3’s trophy system and blackmailing the developer (High Moon Studios) into making his game. All this takes place in Deadpool’s home where you can wonder round and interact with his possessions. These include a blow up doll (“she always looks so surprised to see me…”) and the kitchen where you can make his famous pancake-heavy meal. You really are going to want to interact with everything and not just because of the trophy you’ll get for doing so; it is a genuinely funny sequence and is peppered with belly laughs.
Then the action gets off to a good start with an easy to grasp tutorial, explaining how you switch between light and heavy attacks and also how to use Deadpool’s evade/teleport abilities. The combat throughout the game continues to flow impressively with the emphasis being placed on using momentum moves to get you out of trouble.
Once the relevant skills are unlocked your momentum bars build up as you bash enemies and can be unleashed for some effective (and cool looking) crowd control moves. Later on you get the chance to purchase instant execution moves with different weapons and these make things a whole lot easier. Throw a flashbang grenade into a group of enemies and you’ve got three or four ready made kills waiting for you.
Dropping enemies earns you DP points which can be used to level up Deadpool’s weapon skills and character abilities. The game encourages you to chain combos together as more DP points are given for larger hit chains.
Combat feels like an enjoyably back to basics Devil May Cry. Yes, there are some enemies who must be taken out first because they give offensive/defensive buffs to their allies and yes, there are some weapons that work better than others against certain enemies. But the game doesn’t seem to throw too much at you at once. Skill is required (you will die a bit if you don’t keep track of where the heavy enemies are) but the game doesn’t punish you quite as mercilessly as DMC. There are also some stealth sections that are simple and easy to negotiate and result in some particularly grisly/amusing stealth kill animations.
Switching between weapons on the fly is easy enough and the shooting mechanic is solid. Stay out of combat long enough and Deapool’s health bar regenerates. You can also purchase upgrades that restore health once you have landed a certain number of hits in a combo. Most importantly of all, the game makes you feel like a badass and gives you the opportunity to look cool.
Even during the action, Deadpool brings the funny. The voices he hears in his head are both heard out loud and also appear in boxouts on the screen. The game takes place in the X-Men universe and features some major and minor characters that Deadpool enjoys irritating the heck out of. The fourth wall breaking continues too, with one particularly funny and inspired sequence in which the developer runs out of money and Deadpool must complete an 8-bit platforming section.
It’s hard to express the sheer craziness of the game’s tone, with everything from a fairground ride into Deadpool’s brain playing out like an on rails shooter, to cut scenes being done with paper cut-outs because the budget has run short (again).
Without the character of Deadpool this game would still be an enjoyable blast. But the character is the game. The style and presentation make the game feel as if it truly has been made by Deadpool, and that is an awesome thing indeed. There are stretches when the combat can get repetitive but these are soon eased out by the next great one liner, crazy quip or brilliantly nonsensical cut scene.
I’ve held back on describing most of these because a laugh is always bigger when hearing a joke for the first time and you can rest assured, there are plenty of laughs to be had throughout this game. Humorous references to pop-culture are dotted throughout with everything from Die Hard to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (yes!) jokingly referred to. Some nice cheeky nods to Batman as well!
The main campaign took me nine and a bit hours to complete. You can then play through again from the start with your enhanced Deadpool on a higher difficulty setting. Completing missions unlocks challenge versions of their levels which are basically increasingly hard enemy wave modes.
To sum up
If you are a fan of cool action and have a sense of humour then Deadpool’s your man. The game left me with a big smile on my face. I’m not sure what Deadpool would say to that. But I bet it’d be inappropriate, and fun!