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Deadpool Review

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The Merc with the Mouth is accurately realized in this otherwise clunky action game, though that might be more curse than blessing.

I can't think of a Marvel Comics character more immediately polarizing than Deadpool. You either love him for his highly sarcastic, psychotic, fourth-wall-breaking antics, or you can't stand him for the very same reasons. That isn't to suggest there isn't room for nuance with the character. Though at times he's been presented as little more than a attention deficient 12-year-old boy in an adult murderer's body, there have been cases where the character has been presented as a bit more than a simple collection of crass one-liners and hit-or-miss slapstick gags.

Deadpool's problem isn't that it fails to capture the character's essence. It certainly does that. Maybe too well...

High Moon Studios' Deadpool is not one of those cases. This is the puerile Deadpool we've seen time and time again, a motor-mouthed maniac who acts like he might explode if he stopped talking for even a second. Plunked down in his very own third-person action game, Deadpool acts as a sort-of-parody of third-person action games, with its hero regularly commenting on various video game tropes, his displeasure with High Moon's script, and even you, the player, when you aren't performing to his expectations. There's nothing inherently wrong with this concept, and handled with a bit more care and craft, Deadpool could have been an enjoyably ludicrous romp. Instead, Deadpool's various technical problems, coupled with a script that can't get out of its own way, sour what little enjoyment there is to be had.

Deadpool opens with so much fourth-wall breaking dialogue that you'll be forgiven if you're utterly exhausted with it before it even hits the 30-minute mark. Deadpool explains that he has been given his own video game, and he's pretty excited about this. He talks about this a lot, because that's what Deadpool does. Nolan North, who has voiced the character in other Marvel games, goes for a kind of scenery-devouring mania throughout the game as he voices Deadpool, the dual voices in his head, and even Nolan North as himself. It's a performance that will delight those who adore Deadpool for his most addled dialogue and flagrant sexual jokes, and completely alienate anyone who isn't totally on board with having an ADHD-fueled psycho constantly screaming half-funny lines whether they belong there or not. It's a terrific performance of a nearly intolerable character.

Understand, I don't hate Deadpool as a character. There have been multiple comic storylines I've quite enjoyed his presence in. But the versions of Deadpool I tend to enjoy are the ones that dial back his absurdity a notch or two from the shrieking nonsense this game so gleefully wraps itself in. Which isn't to say there aren't funny bits in Deadpool, but none of them really hit until later in the game, when the story relaxes into a bit more of a traditional progression and lets the level designs do the gag work, rather than making North beg for laughs by screaming the words "chimichanga" and "fuck" strictly for their presumed hilariousness. An early bit featuring X-Force leader Cable, and an extended sequence featuring Deadpool's on-again/off-again love interest Death are of particular note, though these moments of goofy inspiration seem almost alien compared with the rampant idiocy and braindead gameplay throughout the rest of the game.

There are moments of inspired violence in Deadpool, but most of the combat just revolves around button-mashing and dull shooting against constant waves of dumb bad guys.

I think I might have been able to stomach some of the lousier comedy moments a bit more if Deadpool played better. Unfortunately, this game is all over the place. Unsurprisingly, Deadpool's primary mechanic involves wanton murder--he is an assassin, after all. You'll start out with his trusty swords and a pair of pistols, and over time you'll be able to upgrade those weapons, as well as add more stuff (shotguns, sais, giant hammers, and so on). Yet while there is some variety to the weaponry you're given, the core fighting mechanics are hopelessly dull. Most battles are just protracted arena fights, with scads of enemies blindly running at you in place of any kind of thoughtful challenge.

There's nothing inherently wrong with the occasional brainless kill-'em-up, but Deadpool's clunky controls do it no favors. Basic combat is fine, if a bit unwieldy when trying to fight off groups of larger, more attack-heavy enemies. The camera tends to box you in if you're anywhere other than the most open space the game is capable of giving you, meaning you'll find yourself trying to dodge and teleport around just in the hopes of staying out of a bad guy's way, usually only to find yourself getting blasted from another enemy somewhere entirely off-screen. The platforming sequences are markedly worse, marred by a woefully imprecise jump that results in a lot of missed ledges, and the occasional bout of getting stuck in the scenery.

There's probably a totally decent Deadpool game to be made eventually. But this Deadpool game? This ain't it.

That last bit happened to me a couple of times, and each time I had to reset to the last checkpoint. That's not even the most obvious technical issue the game suffers from, either. Certain boss fights refused to trigger; various enemies would often stand perfectly still, frozen in some half-animated pose while I pumped bullets into them sans resistance; at least two cutscenes simply cut off part of the way through without any button pressing on my part; and dialogue has a terrible tendency to cut itself off. That last part is especially bad during gameplay, where story dialogue and in-action one-liners will essentially overlap and obliterate whatever element of comic timing there may have been.

Combine those problems with the game's generally chuggy, unattractive visuals, generic-as-hell soundtrack, painfully obnoxious late-game difficulty spike, and breezily short campaign (I beat most of it in a single afternoon), and you've got yourself a game that really doesn't offer much to anyone, outside of the most dedicated fans of the Merc with the Mouth. While I can usually get behind forgiving some problems in the face of quality fan service, Deadpool's fan service is highly specific to those who want the character taken to the most hyperactive extremes imaginable. Maybe that particular subset of fans will be able to look past the game's issues more easily, but anyone else will likely find Deadpool intensely grating and largely frustrating in equal measure.

Alex Navarro on Google+
112 Comments
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Edited by Undeadpool

@asmo917 said:

So if someone was interested in seeing the best executions of Deadpool that Alex alludes to above, where should one look? If there are cool comic arcs where he's more than what's presented here, I'm interested and have the Marvel iPad app...

Cable & Deadpool (now renamed Deadpool & Cable).

His current run of comics written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan.

It SOUNDS like the dumbest thing ever, but I assure you Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe and Deadpool Killustrated are both interesting ideas executed competently.

Posted by LikeaSsur

The funny part is, what Alex hates about Deadpool, I like. Give me some 4th wall, self-referencing humor. Sorry it's not your cup of tea, Alex. A shame the game got docked for it.

Posted by fox01313

After reading Alex's great review of this, I'll still want to play it but will rent it instead of buying it as it definitely looks like something to dive in on a weekend & then ditch it right after finishing.

Posted by AuthenticM

I'll be renting this just for Nolan North.

Posted by OllyOxenFree
Posted by jimmyfenix
Posted by Asmo917
Edited by Demoskinos

Speaking of puerile humor I Chuckle everytime someone abbreviates Dead Pool as "DP"

Posted by captain_clayman

Every time I see Alex writes a review, I already know that it'll be a 1 or 2 star rating.

Posted by NoelVeiga

@asmo917 said:

So if someone was interested in seeing the best executions of Deadpool that Alex alludes to above, where should one look? If there are cool comic arcs where he's more than what's presented here, I'm interested and have the Marvel iPad app...

You mostly want to go find Joe Kelly's run, which you can google for if you need to know which issues it involves. It's the best balance of the familiar crazy DP personality and execution good enough that you still care about the character genuinely.

To be honest, this is the run that everybody else has been chasing ever since, so you may be good to go after you read it.

Posted by Sharpless

@likeassur said:

The funny part is, what Alex hates about Deadpool, I like. Give me some 4th wall, self-referencing humor. Sorry it's not your cup of tea, Alex. A shame the game got docked for it.

I don't think anyone on the staff has a problem with "4th wall, self-referencing humor" as a whole. The problem is that Deadpool (the game and, often, the comic book character) doesn't do it well. The writing is sloppy and lazy, for the most part. He might as well be running around yelling, "I CAN HAZ CHEESEBURGER?!" for 8 hours. Most people with an internet connection could write jokes on the same level or better. This is some lowest-common-denominator garbage, and it's disappointing because the character has been better, much better.

Posted by Olivaw

@asmo917 said:

So if someone was interested in seeing the best executions of Deadpool that Alex alludes to above, where should one look? If there are cool comic arcs where he's more than what's presented here, I'm interested and have the Marvel iPad app...

You mostly want to go find Joe Kelly's run, which you can google for if you need to know which issues it involves. It's the best balance of the familiar crazy DP personality and execution good enough that you still care about the character genuinely.

To be honest, this is the run that everybody else has been chasing ever since, so you may be good to go after you read it.

Joe Kelly and Gail Simone both did good work with the character. And I enjoyed the Cable and Deadpool comic!

There's a few others, but those are the big ones that I can remember. Apparently the guy who does the Dr. McNinja webcomic wrote a few entertaining Deadpool stories, but the "popular" version of the character is Daniel Way's version, and I think he wrote this game. Which is why it's mostly intolerable.

Edited by ScreamingGhost

This game seems to live and die by whether you like Deadpool or not those that do seem to acknowledge its flaws but still have an overall good time. I might pick this up when its on a steam sale in the future but skipping it for now. Though a lot of people don't seem to like Daniel Way's Deadpool so even if you are a Deadpool fan you still might not find enjoyment.

Edited by taig

The idea that "Deadpool" the character is something you like or you don't is silly. There have been so many writers, some great like Joe Kelley, others less great.

The character Deadpool now has been strangled on its own success. People clung to this idea of that he is "meta" and fourth wall breaking, but forget that when it is done well it is very much engaging with the form of comics. Most important of all it lives or dies on whether its funny, and comedy is hard as evident by most of the shit with Deadpool in it. Im looking at you Daniel Way.

The only way Deadpool would work off the page is with not only an excellent writer to create the voice, but an excellent comedic actor to deliver that voice, and even that perfect star aligning get could be ruined by a shitty videogame.

The fact that they failed on all fronts making this game is sad, but the fact that they failed was inevitable.

Edited by BoOzak

At least it sounded like Nolan North was having fun.

Yeah, at first I felt bad for him, since it seems like Troy Baker had taken all the decent roles, but it must be quite freeing not having to play the Nathan Drakes, Desmond Miles', and *insert other bland snarky protagonist* of the world. (although I did like him as David in TLOU)

Edited by Redhorn

Fuck Deadpool.

Edited by TadThuggish
Posted by beeryayghost
Posted by Xaero

As someone who is a fan of Deadpool and have played this game, the GAME part of this is pretty generic and bad and probably deserves the 2/5, however the sheer fan service to the character and the execution of his attitude and mannerisms was pretty enjoyable.

Overall I can't say I disagree with the score, but Deadpool fans WILL enjoy this for what it's worth.

Posted by cooljammer00

At least it sounded like Nolan North was having fun.

I wonder if he got paid extra since he played at least 4 different roles in this game.

Posted by MonkeyMitcho

I'm going to pick this up. I haven't played a mediocre game in a while.

Posted by SpudBug

That's too bad :( I was going to say wait for a under $10 steam sale then i remembered activision publishes this game and it'll be $40 for all time :((

Posted by Gamer_152

A shame that it sounds like this is such a disappointment.

Moderator
Posted by chilipeppersman

i tried it out, and 2 stars is about right. the jokes arent funny, and only once in a while did i have a grin or have a little laugh. but that was it. the combat gets old fast, after about an hour the same one liners are repeated, and the mini bosses are very boring. This is one of those games that really takes no skill. I dont know who out there would buy this.......except maybe when it gets down to $5............but that wont be me. I could barely play it for an hour without wanting to do something else.

Posted by deathstriker666

Whoa, wasn't this 3-stars earlier in the day? Eh, I guess two-stars is a lot more appropriate to the game's quality and the tone of the review.

Posted by ZZoMBiE13

That's a fair review. And about right on the score.

That said though, I still don't think this game is awful. But I am a fan of the character, and I don't mind the sophomoric humor nearly as much as Alex seemed to. I'd have been just as happy if the game had gone with the less frantic Deadpool, but I don't mind this version either.

The game is a sledgehammer, not a scalpel. But it is what it is. And if you like the character, you will probably find some fun with the game.

This is what we used to call a renter. But since a lot of places that used to rent games are no longer around, I just picked it up. And I don't regret it. But I probably won't keep it in my collection past beating it either. Trade in or give it to a friend or something.

Edited by Aelric

Between this and Ride to Hell, this week looks pretty bleak.

Posted by KikkomanSA

It's a real shame that they had to base this game around Daniel Way's shitty meme-spitting version of Deadpool. I'm sure that anyone who read Kelly's great run back in the nineties or even the current run by Posehn and Duggan are gonna be disappointed.

Edited by Zevvion

@asmo917 said:

So if someone was interested in seeing the best executions of Deadpool that Alex alludes to above, where should one look? If there are cool comic arcs where he's more than what's presented here, I'm interested and have the Marvel iPad app...

I'm interested in this too. Someone replied to me in another video that the most recent Deadpool comics are pretty good. I subscribed to them to check it out.

Online
Posted by 5Figh

and completely alienate anyone who isn't totally on board with having an ADHD-fueled psycho constantly screaming half-funny lines whether they belong there or not.

Posted by EightBitShik

@crusader8463: Thanks for the suggestion, however, I am a man and never play games on easy ^_~.

Posted by dropabombonit

Good review. I was expecting this score after watching the quick look. I'm a huge Deadpool fan (also Marvel in general) and the quick look made me cringe so much. Like you said in the review Alex, it's one thing if the humor is hit and miss but if the gameplay is mediocre at best then why bother with this game. There are so many better games of this type, I'm sure you could pick up DMC for half the price of this

Posted by Scampbell

@ninessc2 said:

Alex's reviews are always objective and intelligently put.

No review is completely objective, and that is fine. In fact one of the ideas behind GiantBomb is that you know the tastes and personality of the person reviewing the game, and should take that into consideration before making your judgement.

Posted by BrokenPoem

I'll think about picking it up once it's in the bargain bin.

Posted by Mucklefluga

@asmo917 said:

So if someone was interested in seeing the best executions of Deadpool that Alex alludes to above, where should one look? If there are cool comic arcs where he's more than what's presented here, I'm interested and have the Marvel iPad app...

Current Deadpool, Cable & Deadpool and although he shows up not too often he's written very well in Remender's Uncanny X-Force, especially the final trades.

Posted by Garviell

Huge disappointment.

Not only is the gameplay in this game absolutely horrible but they don't really do Deadpool well. They took the already rather one dimensional character, cut off everything other than his silly ADHD madness and ramped it up to 10. And to make things worse the world the game is set in seems like some Deadpool parody of the Marvel universe rather than the actual marvel universe in order to make some cheap gags. Losing all the contrast between Deadpools madness and the seriousness of the marvel universe and cast (I mean Logan giving Deadpool a call? What the actual fuck?)

Also the 4th wall thing is WAY overdone, instead of having him reference the player every once in a while he actually seems to be inhabiting the same world as the guys making the game... It just doesn't feel like he is a madman in a real world.. It feels like he's a cartoon character in a silly cartoon..

3/10

Posted by HandsomeDom

Great review, Alex.

Kind if felt myself liking some of the spazzed out dialogue in the QL but the game still seems rough as hell.

Edited by DjCmeP

I laughed a couple times during the QL. The gameplay looked very similar to SR : The Third and the gameplay wasn't great in it but I liked the story and the jokes. I think I'm gonna pick this one up when the price goes down a bit.

Posted by Galadan

I just played through the game up to where they ended the quick look, and I'm quite liking it so far. Now I can see why some might not like it, especially since I'm no great fan of Way's Deadpool, but as a game to play after a stressful day when you just want to turn off your brain and relax? Pretty much perfect.

Edited by Sooty

@williamhenry said:

I love Deadpool but I'm still not entirely convinced he works in any medium outside of comics. Its one thing to read his crazy antics and dialogue in your head, but something is lost in translation when he is taken out of a comic. A lot of his stuff starts to get real cringe worthy when you hear it out loud and/or watch it. I'll still play this when it drops in price though.

He works great in Marvel 3.

this was especially hilarious

I think he suits them sort of games pretty well though because he makes a lot of short quips and then shuts up, no pressure to keep it going since it's a fighting game. (activating xfactor makes him say "Anime power up time!" which was pretty fitting)

Posted by slayergnome

Does anyone else thing Alex can be a little harsh in his reviews? I mean I am not going to argue this is a good game but 2 stars seems a little low. It has some funny moments and the I honestly did not find the controls that bad.

Posted by Meowshi
@asmo917 said:

So if someone was interested in seeing the best executions of Deadpool that Alex alludes to above, where should one look? If there are cool comic arcs where he's more than what's presented here, I'm interested and have the Marvel iPad app...

Uncanny X-Force Volume 1.

It's fantastic and Deadpool is fantastic in it.

Posted by Epidehl
@meowshi said:
@asmo917 said:

So if someone was interested in seeing the best executions of Deadpool that Alex alludes to above, where should one look? If there are cool comic arcs where he's more than what's presented here, I'm interested and have the Marvel iPad app...

Uncanny X-Force Volume 1.

It's fantastic and Deadpool is fantastic in it.

I can second this. While I've enjoyed some of the "wackier" Deadpool (though thinking about it, I don't know if I read any Daniel Way stuff), Uncanny X-Force is probably my favorite use of him.

Posted by Lind_L_Taylor

Bargain bin material....if I have time.

Posted by granderojo

I really wanted to like this game.

Posted by Atwa

I bought and played this game, cause I have always had a soft spot for Deadpool.
I would probably rate it a 3/5, I certainly don't think its terrible but its also not great. Some of the jokes are outright hilarious though, I laughed good a few times. The gameplay is pretty generic but gets the job done.

If anyone is interested and likes Deadpool I advice getting it when the price is down, its a fun weekend.

Posted by BABS

This was expected.

Posted by onan

From the sound of it, this tries to do the exact same thing that Matt Hazard did, and fares just about as well. Way to shoot for the moon, High Moon.

Edited by AstroCow

I finally threw in the towel on this title (was playing it on PC). I was nearing the end of the game and just wanted to complete the bloody thing. However, the piss poor gameplay and overly repetitious enemies finally took their toll and I kindly uninstalled this one. After 4 hours of Deadpool you won't just tire of his awful jokes/humor, you'll want to murder your ears. It's bad. That bad. This is honestly the worst title of 2013 thus far.

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