Despite It's Repetitiveness, Deathspank Is Still Quite a Fun Game
Perhaps the last two games you would expect to hear in the same sentence are Blizzard's Diablo franchise and Telltale's Monkey Island series. Ron Gilbert and Hothead games have combined these two game types into one, and it is called Deathspank. Deathspank, you say? Yes, Deathspank, the game is named after ultra-ridiculous super hero protagonis t trying to rid the world of all evil.
The story covers Deathspank trying to obtain " The Artifact." I don't really know why he's looking for it. It may or may not tell you, I don't remember. It doesn't really matter. Deathspank's enemy, Sergeant Orque, steals the Artfact and sends Deathspank on a journey to find it. He also has captured a couple orphans and Deathspank will try his hardest to recover them.
Deathspank's main core gameplay revolves around standard action-roleplaying-game formulas. You'll pick up quests from non-player-characters, they'll go in your quest log, and you'll read it's description to figure out what you need to do. Most of the time it'll revolve around killing enemy creeps that wonder around the world, such as spiders, orcs... or as the game spells them "orques", cyclopes, demon imps, donkeys, unicorns, and other comical beings. Other times you'll have to pick items up and return them to the quest giver, purchase items from other NPC's, or other normal action-RPG quests.
My biggest problem, and really only problem, is the lack of variety. It's quite repetitive, as most quests are just like a dozen others, just with a different enemy to kill, or a different item to pick up. There are some creative quests, but they are very uncommon. Even when something is creative, they seem to run with it and draw it out as much as they can, making even creative quests feel redundant. There is a lot of content for the $15 price tag, 8 hours to be exact, so if that's what you're looking for you'll be happy, even if it doesn't have much assortment.
Deathspank sports a leveling system and a loot system. You won't be able to wonder right into the higher level areas until you complete a fair number of quests in the area you belong in. There will be many quests that you will receive 3 or 4 levels before you'd ever be able to do them, and unknowingly you may attempt to do them and realize that it's impossible at your current level.
The loot system is definitely the most simplest one you will come across. If you're new to this genre, then you won't feel like you don't quite understand what's going on. First off, unlike most games of this kind, you'll have many statistics on your armor including agility, strength, stamina, spell damage, and more. In this game there's only one main stat: health. This allows the game to easily include a "equip best armor button" which allows for less confusion. There are resistant stats though, such as nature, fire, and ice resistance, so it isn't exactly perfect as certain resistances will be more important against
certain types of enemies.
When it comes to weapons, the only stats they have is damage, along with specific damage types like fire or ice. You'll pick up axes, swords, maces, fist weapons, crossbows and more. There are a lot of weapons, but most are just stronger types of a previous weapon with same character model and a new adjective in front of it. Certain weapons will have special abilities after being used enough, like a whirlwind attack, a lightning area of effect attack, or an AoE that will stun all nearby enemies. You can equip up to 8 weapons, with the D-pad and the face buttons, but you will most likely use the D-pad for potions and other items, with the face buttons for your weapons.
The art style is quite creative, with most doodads in the environment looking like flat cardboard cut outs. The map is very big, with lots of different environments, including haunted forests, enchanted forests, regular forests, caves with lava everywhere, and more.
Any of the items in your inventory that you pick up can be grinded at any time for money, so you don't have to walk back to vendors to sell stuff like you would in other games. There's a huge variety of potions and other usable items to increase things like speed, size, damage, or even spawn a group of friendly mobs to help you out.
As I mentioned, adventure game aspects show up in the game as well. Most notably the game's dialogue system. You'll always have a short conversation with anyone you come across. The game tries to throw as much humor into everything they can. There's puns in the names of NPC's, item names and descriptions, and of course the dialogue. I certainly never cringed at the dialogue, it's not bad by any means, but some of the humor feels forced. It often breaks the fourth wall, poking fun at itself and other videogames. Most attempts will make you smile, but rarely laugh. Deathspank's voice actor resembles that of The Tick or Captain Qwark, from the Ratchet and Clank series. Certain quest will require the combination of certain items, ala adventure games. This is very rare, though, so when it does happen you won't think of it even being a possibility. You can pick up fortune cookies that will allow you to get hints on quests you get stuck on.
I almost wish Deathspank was a $60 game. It lacks so much variety, and if it had more production values I feel it would have been a much bettter game. While it's still very fun and sometimes funny, I can't help but imagine a full retail Deathspank with 4-5 more hours of content added onto it and much more variety in weapons, quests, and loot. Deathspank's biggest problem is that isn't really a genre that fits the downloadable space well.