Deadpool – Xbox 360
Developer: High Moon Studios
Release Date: Jun 25, 2013
Reviewed by Jason Flick
Review Score: 4 of 5
Imagine my surprise when I received a package at our offices from a certain spandex wearing, gun n’ sword totting luna… I mean… yeah he’s a lunatic. This package contained a copy of said lunatic’s own game, Deadpool for the Xbox 360. So rather than accrue any mystery injuries, I dove into this review with near reckless abandon. No seriously, I am after all a huge Deadpool fan.
Deadpool, for those who haven’t seen the X-Men Origins film or read any comic books, is the “Merc with the Mouth” that went under the knife in the Weapon X program like a certain hairy midget. Only this merc doesn’t have swords that come out his arms and he loves explosions, violence, talking to himself, his other self and has the hots for a certain pale lady. He’s also most notable as the only comic book character to break the fourth wall…repeatedly. You see that experiment left him bat-shit crazy and made him believe that he’s not even real.
This is reinforced a thousand fold, even in the opening act as you peruse Deadpool’s junk. Yes they went there and so did I. The basis of this game is that Deadpool wants to make a game featuring him and he wants High Moon Studios to do it. After some heavy “negotiations”, Peter and the folks at High Moon agree to make the adventure that I actually like for the most part. For no particular reason at all a large part of the game takes place on Genosha after the infamous Mutant Massacre at the hands of Sentinels.
Deadpool’s adventure features a variety of different gameplay styles just like the man has combat skills. The main chunk of the game is presented in the third-person perspective due to the largely hack n’ slash nature of this bloodbath of an adventure. While the game isn’t rivers-run-red gruesome you’ll be cutting enemies to shreds with the wicked combos you can unlock with the Deadpool Points (DP) collected from defeated foes or from the various pickups throughout the levels.
Deadpool’s swords are not the only method of taking out enemies though as he also wields a pair of pistols for some good old shooter action as well. The farther you get in the game however those pistols may not be up to the challenge as say some pulse rifles would be. Gun combat remains a third person experience though it took me a little while to get used to the aiming. There is a lock on feature that helps greatly especially against flying enemies. No matter which way you decide to go at your foes there are several unlockables to use such the sais, shotguns, and hammers.
To keep things from being a complete cakewalk, the early levels notwithstanding, guns have limited ammo unless otherwise scripted. So you have to run around gathering various ammo pickups or dispatch enemies and hope they drop some amidst the DP points. Those DP coins that drop also can be used to not only buy weapons but enhance them and Deadpool’s own abilities. For instance you can spend points to increase the carry capacity of ammo or use the points to allow Deadpool to earn more momentum while in combat. Momentum allows the great D-Pooly to pull off wicked abilities like a 360 gun attack or a forward lunging sword attack. Each special melee attack is also different depending on which weapon you’ve got equipped at the time.
There is one thing about the game that is noticeable is that the enemies are not all that varied. You’ll be seeing a LOT of the same guys and gals over and over again. There’s a game plot element to explain that but the developers try to mix things up by giving enemies stronger abilities or area of effect debuffs. This forces you to change up your tactics from time to time, which isn’t so bad.
One of my favorite things about Deadpool’s game other than the human mutate (not mutant) himself are the levels. The game is little weird to begin with like blowing up a bounce castle for no apparent reason at all. The cool thing about Deadpool is that they mix-up various genres throughout the adventure. This game absolutely makes fun of video games (especially itself) all within good taste. One minute I was going through a dank sewer and the next the screens going top-down and I got a reminder of one of my favorite games or the game goes into side-scrolling Prince of Persia mode while I’m running around in a tomb doing a favor for Death.
The basic level designs are actually fun and often multi-tiered as you make your way, platformer style, through the wreckage of a once safe haven for mutants. There’s even this part in Genosha where you get to play with pieces of broken Sentinels that I enjoyed as much as Deadpool did. There are places where one could make a wrong step and you get to use Deadpool’s teleporting ability to avoid death. Not that Deadpool can actually die, but if you do take too much damage you “die” and have to start over from the last achieved checkpoint. That same teleporting ability allows you to dodge incoming attacks and is used as a way to reach normally out of reach locations later in the game. The one downside to this ability is that is it tied to the exact same button as the counter/finisher which makes things a little annoying when you miss the opportunity to take out a tough enemy quicker.
The level designs are cool graphically and there are more than a few moments that got a little weird and colorful though in the mindset of Deadpool fit perfectly. The best part of the game however is Deadpool and his accompanying cast of characters. The developers did an amazing job bringing Deadpool to life both graphically and vocally. The iconic red and black pajamas look awesome including the variants that appear periodically in the start menu and during some of Deadpool’s delusional moments. Several members of the X-Men make an awesome appearance including Rogue, Cable, Psylocke, Wolverine and Domino. There’s even the interesting cast of B-level villains that are all nicely recreated from the comics.
Each of the characters is voiced by some big names in the voice over biz like Steve Blum and Fred Tatasciore, but the pièce de résistance is Nolan North. You might remember him as the voice of Nathan Drake, but after playing both Marvel Heroes and Deadpool he will always be Deadpool to me. His ability to pull off four separate voices throughout the game, including an altered version of him, is astounding. I never thought that Nolan could pull off a psychotic mercenary but he does so with style. I swear I had to stop playing because I was laughing so hard more than a few times.
Deadpool hit stores a little cheaper than your traditional title at $50 but to the right person and/or lover of Deadpool than the lower price will be right up your alley. Deadpool doesn’t come with a lot of extras though to keep you busy after the story is done, however the challenge mode is interesting and actually useful for the main game. The challenge mode pits you up against wave after wave of enemies usually under a time limit. Defeating foes still allow you to earn DP points and they carry over to the main game allowing you to purchase upgrades that will aid you in the later levels.
I must admit that being a huge Deadpool fan may have made this game a lot more enjoyable to me than many other people will find it. Whether it’s the vocal styling of Nolan North or the changing gameplay styles there’s something there for Deadpool fans and action fans alike. The game had its up and down moments particularly in the difficulty sector though I was playing on Ultra-Violence mode and the game did warn me and I took the precaution to play alone. True Deadpool fans will probably love this game and to those people I recommend it whole-heartedly.
[Editor’s Note:] It’s $10 cheaper on PC/Steam and looks and plays a lot better for those with the system to run it. You can even use your 360 controller.