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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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Posted by LibrorumProhibitorum

What an AWESOME score!

Posted by GERALTITUDE

Color me shocked..

Have to point out though: wanton murder & assassins are not peas in a pod.

Posted by OllyOxenFree

Posted by Dallas_Raines

Way's Deadpool is super shitty.

Edited by MrGtD

It looks like a Saints Row 2 mod!

Posted by Scrumdidlyumptious

Posted by Toug

Kind of a shame. Being a send-up of 90's comic books seems like it could make a really great send up of modern games, considering they're about the same thing.

Posted by Asmo917

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...

Posted by bombedyermom

TWO STARS of AWESOME!

Posted by bkbroiler

This review is full of awesome.

Edited by AlKusanagi

To each his own, I guess. I'm absolutely loving it. Is there just that large a difference between the console and PC versions? It plays perfectly fine and looks great on high settings on my computer.

Posted by WilliamHenry

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.

Posted by iAmJohn

@asmo917: The Deadpool Classic trades are well worth reading.

Edited by Phished0ne

@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 would suggest the original Deadpool run that started in 97(its fun to see his development from a semi-serious character to utter insanity) . Deadpool and Cable was also pretty entertaining. The most recent run written by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn also has a pretty good balance between decent storylines and crazy Deadpoolness. Both of the story arcs in the Duggan/Posehn run are pretty interesting. The first involving a necromancer bringing back zombies of the founding fathers to save the country. Since S.H.I.E.L.D doesn't want the bad press of major heros fighting the presidents, they contract Deadpool to do it. They aren't laugh-a-minute by any means but I think they are really good books. I'm also a huge deadpool fan though. Granted i am kinda out of the loop so i cant really give you any specific story arcs.

Posted by TheHT
Edited by dOm_CaTz

I was hoping this would be like comic jumper. but it seems like the humor isn't good enough to get over the bad gameplay.

Posted by Ghostvenox

I've got to say that I have to disagree with a 2 out of 5 rating for Deadpool. Maybe I fall into that subset category Alex mentions, but I loved everything about the game.

Edited by Stimpack

Edited by Tesla

I read a fair amount of Deadpool as a kid growing up in the 90s. From what I remember he was a killer that was also kind of a smart ass. The Deadpool in this game is a clown, and the vast majority of the jokes in the QL were cringe inducing.

Good premise, utterly failed execution.

Posted by mrfluke

sounds like a decent rental. im willing to see deadpool's ridiculousness

Edited by bkbroiler

@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...

Just going off of what I've heard from other people, the new Brian Posehn-written Deadpool series is supposed to be pretty good.

Posted by alwaysbebombing

At least it sounded like Nolan North was having fun.

Edited by Psychohead

@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 wish I had, like, issue numbers to give you, but alas most of what I'm about to rattle off is right off the dome.

You definitely want to stay far, far away from his early appearances in X-Force and New Mutants. Not only is he barely recognizable, the books are just fucking awful. His solo series from '97 has some great stuff in the back half. The first half is a little angsty at times, and assumes you know a bit about some B and C-lister Marvel continuity. But later on they get into some great black humor exploring just how much Deadpool fucking hates himself and wants to die. Oh, and he fights Captain America. And he's Thor briefly. Oh, oh, and he shoryuken's Kitty Pryde. It's... It's that kinda book.

"Cable & Deadpool" was fun. Cable makes a fantastic straight man, and 'pool nicely reigns in how fucking dire and grim Cable gets. It's like a weird buddy cop piece, but without cops or buddies. It helps to be familiar with the characters' history, but what they imply should be enough to still enjoy the story.

Deadpool Team-Up is hilarious. This is probably "random" Deadpool at his finest. Super Zany Deadpool in small doses, as it turns out, kinda works.

Agent X is was fuckin' weird, but it does have some nice bits with Taskmaster. Which, in turn, informs some stuff in the 2008 solo relaunch. And that book, at least last time I checked in, was pretty solid stuff. "Be the meat," and all that fun jazz.

Posted by alanm26v5

Not a part of Three Star Summer.

Posted by Greenlight13

I was afraid this would happen when they first announced it. I'm a huge fan so I'm getting it anyway, but it's a shame they couldn't do more with it.

I still don't know why there isn't an X-Force game. Highly violent god of war style combat + occasional stealth, with Wolverine, Psylocke, Fantomex, Deadpool, Angel etc would be awesome.

Posted by ildon

I'll give it a try when it's $5 on Steam in a year.

Edited by Humanity

I'm surprised. I was expecting a 1 from Alex.

Posted by ILikePopCans

Edited by JoeyRavn

And Alex's (bad) luck with reviews continues!

Posted by crusader8463

I literally just got done playing it and I think it's a solid 3. If you are a fan of Deadpool then there's enough DP in here to keep ya going to the next level, but make sure you play it on easy mode as the combat is rather repetitive and needing to redo the levels on harder difficulty would destroy this game.

Posted by InfiniteGeass

I'll pick it up if it ever becomes free on PS+

Posted by LarryDavis

Way's Deadpool is super shitty.

Yes, and Remender and Joe Casey's Deadpools are great. Too bad this game is the Way version.

Edited by ShaggE

I was going to say Alex is being a little harsh, but this game is as polarizing as it gets, and both sides are equally valid for many reasons.

Edited by Akyho

@asmo917: When Deadpool tries to become an X-men. He visits San fransisco lost on what to do....then it hits him. Become an X-men on their self governed mutant island. Scott Summers ofcourse tells him no....which leads to deadpol trying to convince them he would be great.

This one has all the mad cappery of Deadpool, while being structured some intresting seriouse stories. You also have wolverine and Domino as big parts in it. So its not most alienateing story line.

X-X baby!!

Posted by bemusedchunk

It's a shame this didn't end up like Xmen Origins: Wolverine.

Thats a bad game gone good.

Edited by Brandino

As someone who has been a Deadpool fan for over 20 years i absolutely love the game. It's got some camera issues but i think the combat is perfectly fine. It's good for what it is and does the job and the humor? The humor will kill this game for most everyone who isn't a fan, especially a fan of his marvel now stuff.

These scores don't surprise me, most people who review this aren't big fans of the character, at least not the character he has become over the years and that's fine. This game is a love letter for the fans.

Posted by simkas

I would have given it 3 stars myself, I thought the combat and gameplay was actually quite fun and oddly I didn't encounter ANY clunkiness whatsoever in any parts of the gameplay. Maybe it's because I played the PC version?

Posted by altairre

@mrfluke said:

sounds like a decent rental. im willing to see deadpool's ridiculousness

For me it was a decent rental.

Played through it on the PS3 today and the game is alright. The PC version is probably preferable because the framerate was a little iffy at times.

I think Alex is spot on with the score (if there were half stars I'd probably give it a 2.5), even if have to say that button mashing is not the most effective way to play, since you'll die rather fast if you don't use the counter, your guns and the momentum moves accordingly (which doesn't mean that there is a lot of depth to the combat).

It has a pretty good upgrade system though the combat does repetetive towards the end (at least there are more options that in Wolverine) and the level design is very run of mill (when will devs learn that commenting on bad design choices isn't funny doesn't make them better somehow).

The Deadpool "charme" is in full effect and while I certainly found it obnoxious at times (boobs, right guys?) they are at least consistent with it (so don't even bother if you find this incarnation of the character intolerable).

Some of the comedic ideas are neat but you will probably forget Deadpool not long after you finished it. For those who might get something out of this depiction of the character it's worth either a rental or maybe about 10 bucks. No trainwreck but an Arkham Asylum this is not.

Posted by Darth_Luna

@dallas_raines: Indeed, I knew this game was gonna suck as soon as Way was announced as the writer for it.

Posted by Grimdaddy

Thanks for the warning, Alex. What a shame!

Posted by PipeAndSlippers

The big 4th wall break is that Deadpool wanted 2 stars all along! One for each of he's testes! Thats how wacky that fucker is!

Posted by LiquidPrince

I got this off Steam yesterday and have actually been enjoying it a fair bit. It has gotten some genuine laughs out of me, although it is a bit clunky. The story itself seems appropriately Deadpool, and I was fully expecting it to not mesh with the Bomb Squad. Especially Alex, who seems readily available to hate on anything that competes with him in the snark department.

Posted by BlueWolverine

Daniel Way is a horrible writer. He makes Deadpool a caricature. He over-exaggerates on the things Deadpool is known for by the uninformed, but that's all he does. He is a terrible comedic writer.

Posted by CornBREDX

I suspected this game would be bad.

It seems like a bargain bin buy for me.

I'll get it super cheap on a steam sale at some point.

Posted by EarlessShrimp

Alex... I believe you broke the terms of the official 3-star summer here...

Online
Posted by ToTheNines

Alex's reviews are always objective and intelligently put.

Edited by TheManWithNoPlan

It looks like this game was "Dead" on arrival. Hah!

Edited by Soral

For real, there are 3 or 4 jokes in the game that got me real good

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