If you're familiar with the Marvel Comics character of Deadpool then you know to expect the unexpected. Sure, this "Merc with a mouth" has the same healing factor as Wolverine and can't be killed, but we know him mainly for his unique personality and ability to interact with his audience (break the fourth wall). Besides his many comic book appearances, we've seen Deadpool in both versions of Marvel vs Capcom 3. With the recent release of Deadpool that is developed by High Moon Studios and published by Activision this is our first time seeing him in a game of his own. This time there are no fighting game health bars and hyper combo gauges to hit his opponent with, but oh... he has moved far beyond that with this release.
Deadpool wants to get his own game so he receives word from the developers at High Moon that they have a limited budget to work with in the development of his own game. That is literally the plot of the game. A setup like this could easily fall flat on its face with the absence of a strong lead character to make it fun, but thankfully, High Moon Studios nails the overall look and feel of Deadpool. Nolan North serves as the voice actor for Deadpool and does a fantastic job. Deadpool has a whole slew of jokes and overall random humor that makes the game highly entertaining. There is one part where Deadpool walks away from the camera and then tells the player to hurry the hell up and follow him - you must take control of the camera and follow him around the corner. It's the little touches of random humor such as this that make the game feel special from a character perspective. There are very few parts of the game without some form of hilarious randomness in it.
Along with entertaining the audience with his charm, Deadpool runs into a few Marvel villains and heroes along the way. Cable, Rogue, Wolverine and Psylocke meet up with Deadpool throughout the game's progression and Deadpool must fight a few villains from the Marvel universe as well. Since there are two voices that often talk to Deadpool inside of his head, the game has three narrators in one.
The gameplay of Deadpool is a mixture of hack and slash and shooting. Deadpool starts with dual swords and gets the chance to use dual sais and hammers as they game progresses. Dual swords are the middle grade weapons, sais are used for quick hits and easy combos and the hammers are good for extreme damage and breaking through guarding opponents - every melee weapon has its own use. All weapons are bought from the inventory menu and players must gain kills to unlock more weapons and upgrades. Weapons and upgrades are purchased with DP points that are gained from defeating enemies with combos and collecting DP experience coins from the environment.
The overall combat is similar to the Batman Arkham games. You can attack enemies with a light and strong attack then counter their moves with a counter button as an on-screen icon appears when they are about to attack. Sound familiar? Deadpool mixes up the brawling with guns and his ability to teleport, however. Deadpool has a choice of four guns that can be bought and upgraded just like his weapons. Pistols, shotguns, machine guns and a pulse rifle - every gun is dual wielded just like his melee weapons. Many of the gun weapons are mainly helpful for long-range weapon fights or sniping enemies from a distance, except for the shotgun, which must be shot at close range for efficient usage, yadda-yadda - you know that already. Deadpool's teleport can be used to perform a quick teleport away from enemies during battles. Deadpool has no rolls, so the teleport serves as his form of dodging. Teleport usage is limited by a recharge rate, but it can be upgraded to extend its usage.
Along with the combat, each level has its share of platforming and there are also a few mini games that Deadpool will stumble across or literally "create" at a certain point. Mini games come in the form of shooter, side-scroller, and even an overhead portion that mimics Zelda, just to name a few. The mini games are often just as random as Deadpool's attitude - they offer a fun distraction from the usual gameplay. Some of the mini games are way too short to offer variety for too long, but the good part is that none of them are annoying or overstay their welcome. If you've played a Spiderman game before, Deadpool looks similar to one of those titles at first glance. The game is much more about combat than the usual Marvel Comics game, however. Deadpool has no hidden collectibles to find, so random exploring holds little meaning except for searching for DP point coins.
The combat in the game is slightly above average, but it's not fluid. The overall feel of the combat is sluggish and clunky, and the camera can move away from the action during the middle of a fight at times. Shooting can be troublesome with or without lock-on aiming. The lock-on targeting wouldn't always target the enemy that I actually wanted to aim at and sometimes it wouldn't even lock-on to anything at all. Opponents with guns can get highly annoying in later stages where the game pits Deadpool against aggressive melee enemies and enemies that stay in the background and spam Deadpool with bullets. I found myself leaving fights just to get rid of an annoying shooter or I would have to run off to find some sort of narrow area in order to fight melee enemies safely at times during the last few stages. The game will often throw a whole mound of enemies your way in later levels to where teleporting is very much needed to avoid damage. Thankfully, Deadpool doesn't have to worry much about his health as it gets low since his healing factor kicks in within several seconds of standing without taking damage - this is VERY much needed for later fights.
Even with the lack of polish, the melee combat can be fun because of the variety of moves and combos available to Deadpool, although the clunky overall look and feel weighs it down. Deadpool combat is bloody and violent at all times. You'll often chop off limbs or completely splat your foe into the concrete. Deadpool can also stealth kill at times by sneaking up behind an enemy. Deadpool has a few stealth kill animations per weapon - some are full of humor, some are completely brutal and some are a mixture of both. This man is an artist!
Deadpool is around 7-8 hours in length. I take my time through games, so that might be shorter for some players. The campaign has three difficulties total. Overall the game is easy, but there is one heck of a difficulty curve near the end of the game that caused me to see the continue screen often - it wasn't so hard once I got the hang of it, but it sure was a slap in the face at first. The game has a challenge mode with eight stages full of waves of enemies to fight. Each challenge level has three modes of difficulty that are shown by the medals that are chosen before starting a stage. The challenge mode is quite similar to the combat challenge maps in the Batman Arkham games - finish off all the enemies within a certain amount of time and try to get the highest chain combo for the most points. DP points can be gained in the challenge map and transferred over to the main game in order to help level up Deadpool's weapons and abilities. Sadly, the game suffers from a lack of replay outside of completing challenges and completing the campaign for the trophies/achievements.
If you're a fan of Deadpool, you have got to play this game through at least once for the experience. It's a highly entertaining game on the first time through, driven mainly by the main character's personality. The character of Deadpool could literally work off just about any plot and still remain entertaining based on the way he is represented here. The overall combat in the game gets better as you unlock extra moves, but it still feels as if it could have better overall. The game is most likely a rental for most gamers, but some players might even consider it a buy depending on how much of a fan of the character they are.
+ Excellent portrayal of the character of Deadpool
+ Hilarious and random jokes throughout the campaign
+ Combat has much variety
- Overall combat lacks polish (gun and melee)
- Lack of replay value for the campaign
Final Rating: 75%. Deadpool proves that even the most random comic book character can have a highly entertaining video game when he is portrayed well. By the way, did you know cows are clowns without the "l" and the "n"?