Juvenile quips, over-the-top gore, fourth wall breaking referential humour, and excursions into insanity all paint the picture of the perfect Deadpool game, and in some ways this is it. You'll laugh wholeheartedly at the jokes and ridiculous scenes, but despite the excellent realisation of the character, the highly repetitive and overall subpar gameplay makes High Moon Studios' latest release hard to recommend to everyone.
As already alluded, Deadpool is famous for his raging insanity and silly sense of humour, and the developer has nailed that aspect. The narrative finds the character helping to create a video game based upon himself, with villain Mister Sinister and a D-list cast of Marvel foes getting in the way. As you play, the titular hero will alter the action as you experience it, tweaking the script, compromising the budget, and even changing the genre on the fly. It's a clever setup that makes a wonderful first impression.
Starting out in the antihero's run-down apartment, you'll unlock a Trophy for simply standing up from the sofa, which the star immediately points fun at, triggering another digital trinket. Exploring the apartment and interacting with things such as beer, the television, and phone, all help to inform the uninitiated about the character – and manufacture an opportunity for some genuinely comical jokes. At one point, the mercenary – voiced by Nolan North – calls the real Nolan North to talk about video game casting. Incredibly, the title maintains this tone throughout the adventure, with the character even communicating with you directly as you level up.
The action even changes its gameplay style in places, adopting a Legend of Zelda-esque perspective as a result of limited fictional finances. Side-scrolling stages and more peculiar asides are thrown in from time-to-time, adding to the game-making framing device. You'll also witness an almost constant inner-monologue between Deadpool and his three distinct personalities, adding more laughs to the mix. It's strange, genuinely funny, and will keep you playing throughout the weaker parts of the adventure.
And that's the real disappointment: the moment-to-moment action just doesn't live up to the superfluous gimmicks. You'll frequently find yourself stringing together combos with your dual swords – and later hammers – and guns, but it's all very lacklustre. This is a far car from the superb Batman: Arkham City, as you're forced to button mash light and heavy attacks, while countering, dodging, and using an array of firearms and grenades to eradicate waves of cloned soldiers. Each enemy has way too much health, making every encounter a boring affair. The game is tedious no matter who you're up against, and wears out its welcome reasonably rapidly.
The issues are accentuated by the dull environments, which are dressed in muddy textures. The character model for Deadpool certainly looks impressive, but it's a very poor game visually in almost all other areas. Fortunately, the voice cast is fantastic, with Nolan North putting in a particularly terrific turn as the eponymous hero. This, along with the aforementioned humour, at least makes the game difficult to write off – despite its disappointing combat.
Fans of the character Deadpool are certain to find a lot to like here. Sadly, the repetitive combat casts a shadow over the game's humorous treats, which are the real highlight of the package. There's a definite joy to be found in this adaptation – just be prepared to cut through many of layers of mediocrity in order to find it.