Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Deathspank Review

Platform: MAC
Genre: hack'n'slash

What do you expect when you see a name like Ron Gilbert attached to a game ? Tons of laughs and Monkey Island-like puzzles. But what if the game is a hack'n'slash and not an adventure game ? Well ... humor can be added anywhere and puzzles can have their place in such a game...

And so we got Deathspank. The protagonist, which bares the same name, is not just a hero... he is The Hero and needs to find The Artifact. Throw in some missing orphans and an antagonist and that kinda sums up the story of the game. 
While the story might seem a bit thin, it's packed with humor and hilarious references (you will also find out what retired World of Warcraft orcs do to pass time or other heroes struggling to finish their last quest). The dialog, item-naming, descriptions and quest log are filled with text that will make you chuckle at least once every two minutes. Quests are categorized in "Things I have to do" (main quests) and "Unimportant things I have to do" (secondaries). However there isn't much variety to them; you mainly have to kill X monsters of Y sort, collect items or clear out another cave for the same guy. Although they might get repetitive, they add some play time to this funny, short game. I spent around 10 hours with the game (mainly because I didn't stock up on potions and kept dying in a dungeon) and did everything I could and reached level 20 which is the maximum.

The game takes place in a fantasy setting, where your worst enemies are unicorns and on your way you get to kill weird crossbreeds like KangaMoo's (mama cow met papa kangaroo or vice versa). The landscape and the characters are 3D but the trees, houses, grass look like 2D cardboard cutouts. This I really enjoyed. It was a refreshing new gimmick that I hadn't seen before. 

Being a hack'n'slash you would expect a lot of items generated and difficult choices like "should I lose 20% healing per kill for 5 % extra gold and + 21 agility ?" well... you don't have to worry about those. Items in your inventory have a coloured background if they are better than your current selection and if you really want to, you can choose to auto-equip the best items. I also didn't notice any legendary/special items. Armour suits just come as you progress through the story, some as quest rewards, some from chests and you will have the full set of each one. And the weapons ... well I couldn't be bothered, I usually just put on the one with the biggest damage. The combat is as you would expect, you click ... Deathspank strikes. You can switch anytime between two selections of two weapons. So you could say you can carry four pain inducing devices at once. You will have to alternate between them to get the best results in a fight, some weapons having some bonuses (elemental damage), or just using the bow from a distance to weaken enemies. While you kill enemies Deathspank's justice meter will fill up. When it's full you can use a weapon's special attack (if that weapon has one). Also, a bit later in the game you come across various runes that tell you how to combine weapons to do more damage. I wish I could tell you more about the runes but I never used them. One thing I didn't like was the fact that when switching between the two weapon sets their 3d model doesn't change until you attack at least once. I saw the game on the xbox later on, and noticed that you don't have to switch between to weapon sets, each one the four weapons was linked to a lettered button. And since the game game out originally on the XBLA it's understandable.
The problem with the game is not that it's not complex, but given the fact that the death penalty is putting you a few feet back, and taking some of your gold (which you need only in one quest at the beginning or to buy potions), I just didn't care about dying. So, in the later half of the game, I was running around, killing what I could and dying and coming back and so on. I could've bought invisibility potions but again, didn't need them. Also potions heal you instantly but you can also eat pizza or fries while running. These will slowly regenerate your life until you are hit. Still ... in most cases I just ran around the monsters while eating all the junkfood.

Although it has its flaws and almost no replay value, Deathspank delivers more than enough humor for its price.

the good: humor
the bad: no replay value

[more screenshots on our facebook page, please like/friend/subscribe/whatever]

No comments:

Post a Comment