The announcement of the Deadpool video game wasn?t exactly the most orthodox in the world. But then again, Deadpool isn?t exactly the most orthodox of comic book superheroes. An unhinged Canadian mercenary that hallucinates, hears voices in his head and has no real morality to speak of, Deadpool is the most maverick of Marvel?s X-Men.
He?s also arguably the most popular, thanks to his crazy sense of humour and preference to liquor, guns and women over a righteous sense of justice. As a result, making a game based on such a character can be a daunting task. High Moon Studios, the developer behind the rather enjoyable Transformers
titles, have stepped up and done an admirable job so far.
Rather than restrict Wade Wilson?s three-way alter-ego, High Moon seems to have really embraced the madness that comes from his politically incorrect quirks. You can sort of tell that the studio appreciated the ability to let its hair down with wacky stage premises, bizarre set-pieces and dialogue that respects the character.
Just one look at Deadpool?s crappy, eclectic apartment will give new players an introductory glimpse into the scatterbrained mind of the hero. This is where the game begins, as a matter of fact - with Deadpool scratching his balls with a pistol in his living room setting the scene.
The premise? High Moon Studios is persuaded by Deadpool to make a game based on him, and have tasked the mercenary with writing a script so that they can get to work. It?s very fourth-wall breaking, just like the comic books. From the word go, Deadpool is having a constant dialogue between two other voices in his head - one that takes a more pessimistic view on life and another that is even crazier than Deadpool?s outside voice.
You?re allowed to play around with the junk in the anti-hero?s apartment for as long as you like (including playing air guitar, surfing the internet and admiring the gun cabinet) before you take off and begin dreaming up ideas for this video game script. This, in turn, brings up the first level - starting off in a sewer before climbing a conglomerate tower to take out a rotund kingpin bent on killing you.
Gameplay itself is, when you break it down, standard action-platformer fare. But that?s not to say it isn?t fun. In fact, it?s incredibly so - largely thanks to some interesting twists on the traditional dodge move, decent combo system and the fast-paced action. You never feel absolutely overwhelmed when taking on a room full of guys (you are a superhero after all), but it can still be a positive challenge nonetheless.
The first half of the level introduces you to melee attacks - the bread and butter of Deadpool?s combat capabilities. The X and Y buttons equate to your light and heavy moves, and with the B button you can make Deadpool dodge via brief teleportation. This becomes very handy later on in the stage, when hand-to-hand foes are mixed with enemies holding machine guns. It also makes you feel pretty cool as you disappear in front of bullets and swoop around office block floors at will.
But Deadpool can access a large variety of guns as well, tagging long-range bad guys - or, as the game suggests, just killing enemies with heavy armour on as a lazy alternative to using melee combo attacks. Left Trigger aims, while the Right Trigger shoots - although you?ll likely spend most of your time shooting from the hip as it can get a little bit too chaotic trying to aim down at targets whilst in the middle of a fast-paced scrum.
It?s an action-platformer that feels fun and interesting to play, and it?s largely down to incredibly funny and engaging both Deadpool and his world (or the world inside his head) really are. While there?s nothing much to write home about in terms of play mechanics - there?s the usual collectables, platforming segments and upgrade skill trees to consider - the presentation prevents it from feeling anything close to average.
It?s got a lot of personality, indeed, and if consistent throughout the whole game we could see the Deadpool
game become very popular for all the right reasons. June can?t come soon enough.