reviews\ Sep 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm

The Baconing Review


Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. It’s one thing to release a game and then space out its sequels every two years or so, but it’s another to release a game, then follow it up every few months with a new adventure, to the point that we never really got to enjoy the previous one as we’re curious about venturing into new territory. That’s the case with The Baconing, the third adventure to feature DeathSpank, the peculiarly named hero who last fought on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network in Thongs of Virtue a few months back.

It’s business as usual for DeathSpank. He’s enjoying the thrill of justice, but is busy seeking out a new adversary after finally snagging the Thongs of Virtue. Bored, he decides to put on all the thongs at once and throws the world into chaos, creating a new enemy – a robotic version of himself that’s known as the Antispank. Before you know it, he’s off creating all kinds of terror, and DeathSpank finds himself having to burn the Thongs of Virtue in bacon fires in order to save it and stop the evil menace. But nothing comes that easy – not for DeathSpank.

If you’re a fan of the first two games, you’ll feel right at home here. Hothead Games continues to load up its franchise with all sorts of weirdness, whether you’re seeking justice for a mooing cow (because, hey, cows deserve great justice!) or dealing with the likes of such characters as Tankko and Bob From Marketing. Hothead knows how to write a swell, Monty Python-esque tale, and the third time around, there are a few laughs digging through here.

So then, why the less than favorable score? Because it’s mostly the same stuff that we’ve dealt with in the last two games. While there are some interesting power-ups that tend to change the shift in battle every once in a while, most of The Baconing is spent beating up guys. And beating up more guys. Though you have a number of battle techniques and weapons that prove useful, results are about the same – you kill until you die, and then you’re brought back in an outhouse (of all places) to do it all over again. Worse yet, Baconing seems a little more linear, as you’re following a guided path throughout most of the game. As a result, exploration is cut even shorter here than it was in Thongs of Virtue.

The visuals are nothing spectacular for Baconing though they work for the most part, with plenty of cartoon-style animations and interesting locales, such as a retirement home for worn-out Gods. However, there are times they can be a little fuzzy, due to a lack of polish that was apparent in the first two DeathSpank games. It’s not a horrible game when it comes to appearance, but you can see marks of where Hothead was growing a little weary. The dialogue is still humorous, with DeathSpank sounding like some kind of spin-off of The Tick. We almost expect him to yell “SPOON!” at any given second.

As for extras, there aren’t much. The game will take a few hours to get through, provided you can put up with the monotonous gameplay. There is some co-op available, with you and a friend sharing a life bar as you take on enemies, but it can be mildly frustrating. What’s more, you can’t play others online through Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. What a bummer.

The Baconing is proof positive that if you push a franchise too soon and too fast, signs of wear begin to set in. There are still moments of fun scattered in the game, but they’re hidden beneath slightly worn out gameplay and limited options. Maybe Hothead ought to take some time off and wait a couple of years for the next DeathSpank game to make the rounds. Otherwise, he and his Thongs of Virtue will wear out their welcome.

[Reviewed on PlayStation 3]

Above Average

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