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Ones We Missed: Deadpool

Ones We Missed: Deadpool

ESRB: Mature - M
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: 3rd Person: Action, Fighting

The point about a funny man is that he should have something to riff on in-universe. Deadpool is normally a very funny man. He's everything Marvel is well known for (in a bad way), and loves it, and the fact that he's funny has single handedly saved Marvel from a lot more complaints than it would normally get. Thing is, this game is either a true Deadpool style fake-out (for which you will hate High Moon forever), or it's a moderately bland Devil May Cry style action game with *some* funny bits (for which you will *dislike* High Moon for a long while.) It's a tough choice.


So, as you can see, it doesn't look bad, precisely. It just doesn't exactly look good, either. When even the glitziest bits of the news building you're in (for no good reason) look muddy, you get this strange look to the game that makes it feel... sort of uncanny valley, really. The models, though I can't quite define it, look a bit dated, and the environments so far have been brown, blue-white, dark-greyish, brown, grey, and dark grey with brown. Not a great start.


The VA isn't awful, per se... Nolan North does a good job of playing the crazy man, Cable sounds as super serious and military as he looks, Wolverine is... well, Wolverine, and Mr. Sinister sounds like a god-damn ham. But again, something seems off about the VA. Maybe it's the delivery girl, whose voice doesn't have quite the same amount of terror it should when Deadpool answers the door with guns out. Maybe it's how dull many of the NPCs and bosses sound (I honestly didn't notice what they said beyond a few cries of “Oh shit!”, the mooks were that dull.) I can't pin it down, but I do know that the soundtrack is generic as hell, with only a few exceptions (the break from the sewer level when the budget runs out and it goes Zelda style, specifically)


So, so far, we've got a game that seems... as lame as it sounds... “Off”. I should be enjoying the meaty thwack of sword in flesh, Deadpool's quips, the dings as my combo meter rises to ridiculous heights because I haven't bothered to upgrade damage. But the combat is pretty clunky, and even being able to use all three types of weapon (traps/explosives, guns, and melee) in a single combo, building up different kinds of special moves as I go, doesn't scratch my itch. I do know what's wrong with the story though: High Moon understand Deadpool +too+ well. Plot? He gives not a single crap about plot, he wants to kill stuff, do random things, and grope boobs and moobs alike. So there isn't one, not really. And so, the only motivation for playing the game is to watch Deadpool do crazy shit. Unfortunately, while that successfully pads out game time, it's... it's a massive troll.

Let me explain that last one a bit... The two most fun things I've done so far in the game? I've made Deadpool weep with despair as Cable mumbles plot at us (I can almost hear it, but not enough to understand... which was the point), until I accidentally hit the “Shoot myself in the head” button. And I've bitchslapped Wolverine with Deadpool, for a stupid number of reasons, including the fact that High Moon perfectly understood I'd want to see this happen. Unfortunately, they didn't include the obvious punchline: Wolverine wakes up, slices the hell out of Deadpool, and the X-Men leave in disgust, leaving Deadpool once again free to ignore the plot and kill goons.

Thing is, even if that had happened, there would still be little or no plot, and thus no real motivation. Yes, yes, Deadpool doesn't have a motivation for a good 78% of what he does (except to satirise awful Marvel tropes), but we, the player, sort of need it. Because, funny as he is when he has someone to riff off, for most of the game, he doesn't have anyone except mooks, and the lack of plot removes our only +real+ reason for slogging through the combat... which, on PC, would surely be at least passable if you have an Xbox controller. Unfortunately, for reasons of authenticity, and lack of aforementioned controller, I played with (mostly) default controls. They suck.

For example, I'm chaining together sweet combos with Q, E, and Z (that, at least, is moderately easy, despite Z (the gun key) being in an awkward position. But then a big guy pops up, and suddenly I'm forced to dodge, too. Dodging either requires spacebar (sort of do-able, but doesn't always work), or... B. Look at your keyboards for a second. Remember you've got one hand on the mouse, for gunplay and mouselook. Similarly, if I want to change my weapons, it's N (melee), M (guns) or J (grenades). All not exactly in the greatest of positions. And it's not like there's many better keybindings that allow you to do everything you want to quickly. So the controls need some gamepad love (or a gaming mouse.)

In the end, I don't really think this is worth the money Activision and High Moon are asking, and that's sad. Deadpool deserved more than this, you deserved more than this, and, as is, you're getting something that you're going to play when you're in the doldrums. The worst part is, I can't tell if this is a really expensive troll, written by people who love Marvel's very own fourth-wall ignoring troll, or just a slightly bland game that happens to have Marvel's favourite troll in it. Either way, it's a disappointment.


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