Review: Deadpool has a big mouth, but can he back it up?
Deadpool is the perfect video game character: loud, mouthy, silly, goofy, vulgar, wacky, off-the-wall, and any other loony adjective you can think of. He's the Duke Nukem of Marvel, encompassing everything the video game used to offer, you know, before it “grew up.” No longer are vulgarity and sexism appropriate forms of entertainment... or are they?
Playing Deadpool, you'd never know we now have discussions like “Damsel in Distress: Tropes vs Women in Video Games.” It's filled with inappropriate (sometimes uncomfortable) dick/boob jokes and sexism. The thing is, it kind of works.
Deadpool knows what it is – a pedestrian action-adventure that relies on toilet humor as a crutch to its shallow plot and crude humor. Like the character, the actual game itself doesn't take itself too seriously. The whole time, it knows it's a game and Deadpool is very aware of the fact, breaking the fourth wall, addressing the player, and speaking to the “game designer” as events are unfolding. Deadpool doesn't let you forget that you're playing, or making, a game.
High Moon Studios has abandoned any sense of real plot, opting to instead rely on the zany personality of Deadpool to carry the “story,” which is, well, that it's a game. Deadpool asks/forces High Moon Studios to make an “awesome” game for him. Throw in some classic Marvel cameos, the villainous Mr. Sinister, and a few one-liners and that's about as deep as the story goes. For Deadpool and comic fans, this may be all you need to enjoy the game. Personally, I like a little bit more narrative with my dick jokes.
Nolan North does a fantastic job as the Merc with a Mouth. Each line is delivered with the entertaining maniacal tone you'd expect of Wade Wilson and, oftentimes, it's North's acting ability that carries what would otherwise be an uncomfortable joke. Whether or not you find boob and dick jokes funny is up to the individual player and your taste for vulgarity. For me, I didn't mind it. I laughed; I cried; I squirmed; I sometimes found myself shaking my head at just how over-the-top this game was.
But let's remember, Deadpool is a game, and when it comes to mechanics, it's about as generic as it gets. High Moon plays it very safe when it comes to gameplay. You'll roam the linear halls of a bland environment and travel from room to room beating up bad guys. In between, you have some light platforming.
With twin blades and an arsenal of weaponry at your disposal, fighting is entertaining, though somewhat repetitive towards the latter half of the game – there just isn't enough variation. Combat relies on a combo system that builds up Momentum which, in turn, can be used for flashier moves and attacks. Deadpool relies on a mix of melee and ranged weapons, and combining the two forms in a seamless combo can be very rewarding. Not only does it look pretty, but it will help you earn more Deadpool Points, which can be spent unlocking new weapons, moves, and skills in a pretty shallow upgrade system. It gives you a sense of customizing your character, but the various upgrades are hardly noticeable, nor unique.
Combat is not challenging by any means. Most enemies, save for a few “bosses,” can be sliced and diced fairly easy and send you on a real power trip. The game becomes a real slaughter fest as you run from room to room and have your way with anyone who poses a threat. Boss battles with a few “D-list” villains exist largely as a tribute to the characters and don't pose much of a challenge. Though I will say the last hour or so poses considerable more threat as you'll encounter more of the villainous bosses and less of their lackeys.
Deadpool is the very thing it makes fun of: a generic action game with little innovation, one that sometimes finds its foot in its mouth. That's not to say it isn't entertaining, though. The character of Deadpool makes the more dull aspects of the game enjoyable and forgivable. Fans of the character will undoubtedly enjoy North's performance, combat is passable, and the graphics, while not the best, are far from ugly. Overall, it's a fun little romp. If you can tolerate Deadpool's demented humor, you'll find a nice few hours of entertainment within the game.