Superman, Batman, Spider-man; there’s been a copious amount of superhero titles gracing our consoles in recent years. A lot of them are getting a bit samey, we’ve been there and done that so it’s time to stop rehashing the same heroes over and over and introduce some of the more obscure fan favourites – enter Deadpool, star of the new Highmoon Studios action adventure title by the same name.
Wade Wilson was once just your average mercenary, until a brutal experiment gave him regenerative powers and Deadpool was born. Unfortunately it also left him insane… and aware of being a comic book character, or in this case a video games character (an angle that allows constant 4th wall humour in both the comics and the game). Deadpool is never lonely as he has the two other personalities in his head for company.
So what can I expect?
True to the comics, Deadpool comes armed with swords (yes, two) and guns as he mixes the two in a whirlwind of combat that fuses shooters and action titles. Later on your weapon choices expand, as you level up by collecting DP points. These are given by successfully completing combos and killing enemies and the style in which you do so affects the amount of points given. Paired with small stealth sections and platforming action there’s a lot going on gameplay wise, as you battle to stop enemy Sinister and rescue X-Men’s Rogue. Aside from the regen powers, Deadpool’s main gimmick is the ability to teleport short distances, a feature that can be used constantly in battle and whilst platforming.
The story begins in Deadpool’s apartment as he threatens Highmoon into making his video game. Having decided he doesn’t require the script there’s a lot of story not explained and you rarely know why you’re doing something, but this is utterly apt for the character so buckle up. As you begin you can interact with various items in the apartment and I must strongly recommend doing so. It is a quick bit of insight into the mind of Deadpool and will allow you to become instantly immersed in the gross out humour and boob fixation that makes this character who he is.
The game is riddled with pop culture references, from The Simpsons, to Toy Story, to Final Fantasy. And whilst Deadpool fails to be laugh out loud funny, I found myself constantly chuckling inside. As you progress numerous unexpected events occur that show moments of brilliance. A wonderful example comes when Deadpool blows his game’s budget on giant explosions. The result sees the level switch to 8 bit mode until a “friendly” phone call is made to get it back on track. This sort of 4th wall jape is often displayed in the form of a parody of other games, and is definitely a highlight of the game.
But is it good?
Fundamentally, Deadpool does not embrace the tools at it’s disposal. For someone that is supposed to be impossible to kill, unforgiving combat and sparse checkpoints in the end stages mean that you’ll spend a fair amount of time staring at the retry menu. This is only compounded by the insta-deaths that arise from gunshots off camera. Additionally the teleport ability feels too limiting. Whilst Deadpool explains that in order to increase the “fun” the distance of his teleport has been limited, the fact that he can’t teleport through anything, even a box on the floor, feels like lazy programming and under use of one of the things that set Deadpool out from other action titles.
Deadpool may have blown the budget in game, but limited enemy types and reuse of the same bosses makes me wonder if Highmoon really did blow the budget. Collectibles and unlockable costumes have become a loved part of superhero games and the absence of them definitely leaves a void that could easily have been filled. In another stroke of unpolished gameplay, cutscenes often reset your weaponry choices. Whilst it is easy to change them back it is a nuisance having to check if it’s happened. It is also worth mentioning that whilst reviewing the title I did become stuck in scenery twice and have to reload.
Although the more interesting combat is up close and personal, as you progress through the game the guns become a larger part of your offense. Why engage in close combat when a few shots can down any threats as soon as they appear? Auto aim is far from perfect, with the game often targeting an area to one side of the enemy, leading you to retarget if you wish to hit them. Obviously this is hardly ideal and can spell death on later levels or higher difficulties.
The Bottom Line
A more adult and humorous game than many superhero outings, Deadpool certainly should have been a dream title but numerous grievances mean it fails to hit the mark. Moments of genius are plain to be seen but tying it together in a lacklustre way mean that it will mainly be hardcore Deadpool fans who get real enjoyment out of this title.
Miss; Unforgiving combat and lacklustre level sections dent this title heavily.
Need; More variety in villains, collectibles and costumes would have been great addition.