April 17, 2014

That's A Wrap: Deadpool

warning: may contain spoilers. And prime examples of why I'm frequently compared to the M with a M.

The time. Has come. I couldn't put off my darling Deadpool any longer. Even the case was starting to get mouthy! People seem to struggle with the idea of a woman really loving Deadpool. Even the guys at the game shop I bought my copy at were like, "um... do you know what you're getting into?"
"Did you read any reviews?"
The fact remains: I love Deadpool. I love Deadpool. I love Deadpo-

Dammit, Apple! Learn to recognize 'Deadpool' as a word!

I love Deadpool.
There we go. Anyway, as I was saying: I love the M with a M so much, I'd buy this game even if it was terrible, and was just going to sit on my shelf and collect dust.

My first impression of DP went something like: "I'm 60 seconds in and I've already received 3 achievements…"
And then: "I'm 120 seconds in and I can't stop laughing. Also, more achievements."
You can kind of tell that the DP game didn't get a ton of love, in spite of the great effort on the part of the developer. Visually speaking, the game is a bit dull, unsaturated and lacking detail, and graphics look almost incomplete in some places.
There are also a fair few glitches in the game, including the very animated hands of dead people sticking out of the walls. That said, if there is any game that could capitalize on such flaws and still be charming, it's Deadpool. In fact I often wonder if they did things like this on purpose? There's a liberal dose of campiness, but it works for this game. Odd.

The tunes in Deadpool vary from heavy metal to the merc himself serenading us. DP and Death sing Patsy Cline… I can't say that at any point during my playthrough I found the soundtrack really popped, but it suited the subject matter nonetheless. I did notice something really neat about sound effects though! Not only are there a ton of them, but they actually reflect DP, sort of onomatopoeically. Y'know when you're playing a shooter and you land a bunch of headshots and suddenly have a dozen catch phrases? It's like that, but with catch phrases AND sound effects.

I'm sure it's no surprise to you by now that I'm a longtime fan of Deadpool, and in a world where comic book heroes characters are constantly being reinvented for games, movies and television, the most important thing for me was nailing classic DP. And DP is one of the easiest characters to mess up because he's a little… all over the map? batshitcrazy!. Many people use this as an excuse to take him in different directions, but there's no fooling us classic Deadpool fans! That said, I quite like the writing in Deadpool, I think it's consistent and showcases DP's personality marvelously. Get it? Marvel-ously? Tee hee! I feel comfortable saying this because there were innumerable instances in this game where DP and I said the same thing at the exact same time. Usually "oh, shit." There were a ton of movie and pop culture references - as per Deadpool tradition - and I found myself wanting to tweet every line in this game because the comedy was simply gold. I also noticed that in addition to being totally hilarious, the brief bios in the game contain artwork from many iterations of each character. It's pretty cool that game makers chose to nod to each comic and artist!
And I don't know where they found this voice actor, but he captured DP in many ways. I approve. Even if he does teeter on the line of Gilbert Gottfried every now and then.

The plot of the Deadpool video game is essentially… Deadpool wants a video game. No seriously. The game is about making a game. About Deadpool. Makes sense, right? Of course it does! Everything makes sense when it comes to Deadpool…

...okay not really. But that is, in fact, the premise of the game. Our man won't read the script, so we have no idea what's going on. We find out. In short: it is completely random. The game encompasses various elements from DP-related materials, and then just adds as much craziness as possible. There are a couple of recurring themes in Deadpool though:
1. The budget. Thought to be quite low, much to our dismay. The writers use this as a catalyst to include various art and game styles, occasionally turning the game into 8-bit, or a side scroller. Also makes reference to makes fun of other comics and game styles.
2. DP didn't read the script. This is the serving platter for all the bonkers content. They use this to randomly introduce characters and their purpose. Like your dog!

In addition to DP, DP and DP (voices in his head), you are at some point or another paid visit by Domino, Psylocke, Wolverine, Rogue and Cable. And you spend a few sensual moments with Death, too! And then you battle "D-list" enemies like Arclight, Vertigo, Blockbuster, a ton of X-men clones and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, who all appear to be working for slightly-more-impressive enemy Mister Sinister.

But you're not alone! In addition to the voices making all sorts of useless comments, you've got the ability to teleport, regenerative health, guns, "throwables" and swords. Both your teleporter and health take time to recharge, though, so keep an eye on your health meter, and listen to DP when he yells at you.
Also on your main screen: representation of which weapons you have equipped, and you can choose a set of swords, a gun and a throwable to equip at a time. Beneath that is your momentum meter(s). As you build up combos, your momentum will build leading to a devastating attack which you can initiate whenever you please by pressing LB + A (or X, if you have two momentum gauges). These attacks are super handy. In this particular screen shot, you can also see a small speech bubble indicating which of your many personalities is talking. To the top right is your DP points, which add up as you kill stuff and progress through the levels by collecting the little DP logo coins. You will find ammo scattered about the levels, taking the appearance of small yellow signs, randomly floating in the air. If you have purchased the corresponding gun, you'll pick up the ammo by simply walking through it.

The levels are pretty straight forward and not too hard to navigate, but there are often indicators such as green lights pointing the way to the next section. DP will usually explain things as you go, especially in the beginning, which is also littered with tutorials for the many possible actions. DP will make fun of you if you suck, and suggests you pass the controller along to someone else. Or he tells you you play like a girl… Yeah. Thanks, DP.
Every now and then the game inserts a puzzle or mini game, like playing with busted sentinel arms, a mine cart or carnival river raft game and one area where you become completely dismantledoriented and your controls are backwards. If that isn't enough to do, you can collect tacos. Yes, tacos. YAY TACOS! Occasionally you'll stumble across a treasure chest, too, which may contain DP points, tacos, or JRPG references. Once you beat the game, you'll unlock each chapter for replay, as well as various challenges for your killing pleasure. There are also extras, which I imagine expands into all sorts of things if you put the time into it, but by default you only get the animated bios for each character in the game.

As you navigate the levels you are bombarded by enemies that progress in difficulty. At times, your health disappears fast, so you have to balance your technique. Some baddies are more susceptible to swords or guns, some are tough no matter what, so you have to experiment with ancillary weapons like grenades and, y'know, bear traps totally common weapon in these games, as well as teleporting to take them all down to advance to the next level. Sometimes the enemies are glowing; this is a sort of shield, and means they'll be even more difficult to put to bed. Rock-a-bye baby, stab stab stab!
Each level ends with one of the aforementioned D-list bosses. And yes, sometimes it's okay to implement the tried-and-true 'Legend of Zelda' way of dealing with bosses: run around in circles. Just remember that you can't advance until all of your adversaries are dead. Occasionally you're presented with the opportunity to execute a stealth kill, in which DP tip-toes up to the baddy and usually decapitates him. It's awesome!
Combat isn't difficult to master, but the baddies in this game are pretty tough, and there is a rather excessive amount of both in Deadpool. It gets a little repetitive and annoying. The only counter is that DP entertains you non-stop through the whole game. It's almost worth the endless battles just to hear all the crazy things he says as you fight your way through. He comes equipped with weapons and a plethora of jokes!

Controls can be a little cumbersome; I find it sometimes feels like a first-person game. Lining up a jump can be a chore, aiming during combos is virtually impossible, and as cool as teleporting is, it only works on enemies and blank areas. You can't teleport through walls, objects or even sofas. The camera is an asshole at times never returns my calls!, particularly after teleporting. Can't see a thing. Being Deadpool is hard, man. Sometimes the game will throw you a bone when you miss a big jump, and will allow you teleport back to your last footing.
On the 360, for some reason LB does a lot. Actually, the controls are pretty goofy altogether, but: X is your "light" attack, Y is heavy; mix for fun, mash for combos. A is jump double it! while B is your teleport command. LT aims and RT fires. LB reloads when your clip runs out. Eventually you're taught "lock on", in which you hold LT and hover about the enemy for a sec, and your aim will… lock on… who'd have guessed that? If you touch anything other than RT, however, your lock is lost. Don't. Touch. Anything.
Your D-Pad allows you to cycle quickly through weapons. Left is swords, right is guns, down is throws and, where applicable, pressing up will make DP look toward something of interest… I told you the controls were weird.
Pressing 'back' brings up some swell elevator music, as well as your upgrades and equipment menu. You earn DP points for killin' guys which you can spend on new weapons and eventually character upgrades in this menu. As you use the weapons you unlock more upgrades. I find the character upgrades range from totally useless to totally amazeballs. They're obvious things like extended health, and then random things like combo boosters and other… random… blah blah blah jeez, I sound like Cable. A to upgrade, X to equip, B to go back to killing stuff.

Genetically Superior, Veteran or Ultra Violence. Even the difficulties in this game are hilarious! I played on vet, and in addition to my being a little rusty in the hack 'n slash region, I found it to be really tricky at times. Luckily, DP has regenerative health, so with a little strategy and sometimes slowing it down a notch, I was able to get by. If you're not a, uh… gun and slash? enthusiast, I imagine the game would be just as entertaining on easy mode. It took me about 9 hours to complete Deadpool, and I'll gladly do it again.

This game will probably feel painfully familiar to anyone who has played Lollipop Chainsaw (insert shameless self-promotion here) and if you haven't, but you enjoyed Deadpool, you may want to give it a looksie. If you're a fan of the gameplay direction, but no-so-much the humor, maybe try the Devil May Cry series. I reckon the only thing that could make this game more fun is if you could interact with DP and have him respond to your retorts. I was going to say it would be cool if you could play as other characters, but...
In the end, I really can't put into words just how entertaining this game is. And for whatever it's worth, you don't need to be a comic book aficionado to enjoy Deadpool. They do take the time to introduce every character and if you pay attention to the jokes, basic relations are explained. The one thing you must have to play Deadpool is a sense of humor.

  • That chopper in the first mission is a bitch. Do not let it see you for more than a few seconds.
  • Watch the title screen for a while. It's not helpful, but just do it anyway.
  • Some bosses drop grenade launchers. Those are fun. Pick them up!
  • Replay your favorite chapters to practice combos. It'll help.
  • If your melee and guns aren't doing a lot of damage, it means it's time to strategize and use throwables. Or run away like a pansy…
  • Purchase upgrades as quickly as you can. They do get better.

1 comment:

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