Stylish dungeon crawler held back by the genre it satirises...
Deathspank has been developed by Ron Gilbert, who developed The Secret of Monkey Island. Available for download via PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Arcade, you play a hack and slasher called DeathSpank
One thing we need to say about DeathSpank is that, like World of Warcraft, there’s a lot of repetition. You hit something. You hit another thing. And another. And a fourth. A 64th, a 128th, a 512th. You have four weapons and a thousand million enemies, and you grind your way through them like some kind of cartoon extremist in the days before bombs. Why? For the quest. It's like doing it for the craic, but with more delivery, grinding and repetition.
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DeathSpank looks great and is often funny - it could be funnier if the voices weren't so ripely laboured. For a game featuring hammers that literally batter the crap out of demons, axes with logs stuck to them and cannons that fire chickens, the combat is surprisingly drab. It's possible to string combos together for powerful moves, use ranged or melee attacks and customise your equipment to within a millimetre of its life.
We ran around and hit things, frantically filling the Justice meter to unleash an overpowered attack and earn a sliver of breathing space. When you're not fighting, you're hitting barrels, unlocking chests and fetching/killing things for the loveable spanners in over-familiar areas such as swamps, graveyards and... oh god, just fill it in yourself. To be fair, DeathSpank is satirising RPGs, but playing them in an ironic way feels much the same as doing it seriously.
Originally published on CVG: Deathspank review
DeathSpank can be oddly complex - the item and equipment screens are daunting if you're not familiar with regular RPGs - and while the simple stuff's over-explained, other aspects go uncommented on. Which is what we're going to do with the restrictive co-op, because it's hopeless.
This odd collision of good and bad is DeathSpank. But the art and music is gorgeous, so you don't mind as much. So, worth playing if you like whimsical art and music, and combat that goes on and on and on...
DeathSpank is out now for £10 on PS3 or 1200 Xbox Live Arcade points