Deadpool is one of the funniest games you'll play all year. It's also one of the most repetitive...
Deadpool is a Deadpool game made by Deadpool fans for Deadpool fans. If anything in that previous sentence leaves you cold, move on, there's nothing for you to see here. If, on the other hand, you find yourself intrigued ('what is this “Deadpool” of which the writer speaks?') or excited ('A Deadpool game? YES!!!'), then read on.
Deadpool, for the uninitiated, is a sword-and-gun-wielding super-powered mercenary whose mouth runs at about a mile a minute. Initially created to be an antagonist for the New Mutants (and later the X-Force and X-Men), Deadpool's popularity among readers necessitated his recasting as a hero, albeit one with sociopathic tendencies.
Unlike most of the po-faced characters he's surrounded by, Deadpool knows he's a comic book protagonist and so doesn't really assign much importance to his day-to-day activities, which include contract killing and slaughtering enemies wholesale.
He's essentially a cross between Patrick Bateman and Barney Stinson: Deadpool is both lethal and psychotic, but his headspace is similar to that of a rather horny adolescent with ADD. His internal monologue is split into three distinct personalities who both argue with and compliment each other. Oh, and Deadpool is also known for breaking the fourth wall and chatting to readers on occasion.
Similarly, for the purposes of High Moon's adventure starring Deadpool, the Merc With The Mouth is very well aware he's the star of a video game. Indeed, the developers get a lot of mileage out of Deadpool constantly ribbing both themselves and the player.
If the latter finds themselves dying a fair bit, Deadpool will make some crack about how the game would be easier if the player didn't suck so much. When Deadpool encounters a rather bog-standard piece of level design, he'll smart off about how lazy the developers are.
While all this sounds rather entertaining – and it is – it's not exactly a loophole the developers can escape through. The fact is that while High Moon have absolutely nailed their game's protagonist the rest of their game is relatively uninspiring.
At its core, Deadpool is a hack 'n slash with some gunplay thrown in – much along the same lines as DmC: Devil May Cry, although in terms of gameplay depth and mechanics, Ninja Theory's game has this one for breakfast.
Players wield dual samurai swords (and later Sai Knives and hammers) for Deadpool's main attack, and they tote pistols, shotguns, machine guns and pulse rifles, which feel surprisingly underpowered. Deadpool's teleporting power replaces block or dodge, but apart from a couple of platforming sections, this ability is relegated to being strictly a combat mechanic.
It also doesn't help that a lot of the battles in Deadpool take place in rather bland environments filled with indentikit enemies. There's an RPG element to the proceedings that revolves around collecting tokens and stringing together combos.
Players can use their earnings to beef up weapon damage, increase health and the like, but it's hardly innovative or engrossing. Truth be told, for long stretches Deadpool feels like an interactive comedy show that requires viewers to button-bash a control pad in order to get to the next series of gags.
High Moon toss in the odd curveball in an attempt at keeping things fresh – at one point the game becomes a top-down, Zelda-esque adventure and at another it turns into an old-school Mario-esque platformer.
Perhaps the highlight of the game is a turret-gun section involving the boot of a broken Sentinel robot. Or a mini-game in which Deadpool gets to slap an unconscious Wolverine in the face for as long as the player desires.
But these moments are simply bite-sized croutons in rather weak soup. Deadpool is hilarious, grotesque and gleefully debauched company and High Moon deserve applause for their near-the-knuckle portrayal of him – as does Nolan North, who provides his voice and sounds like he's having the time of his life.
But perhaps the most damning aspect of Deadpool as a package is that the gaming aspects of it aren't anywhere near as attractive or interesting – or even as well realised - as the character at the centre of it.
Deadpool release date: Out now
Deadpool price: £31.90