Review: Deathspank: The Baconing
Deathspank: The Baconing isn’t your average PSN Title. Its graphics far exceeded my expectations, and some of the features are far from the standard on titles like this. The game is first and foremost a hack and slash, but the most interesting aspect of the game is the over-the-top humor. With that said, my experience with the game had mixed results. Even though it certainly offered me good entertainment, a game breaking glitch (that happened on the 4th “chapter”) prevented me from finishing it, so I took it to heart and gathered enough information to finish writing this.
The story revolves around the appearance of AntiSpank, the total opposite of our hero, created by the inadequate use of the Thongs of Virtue. The clumsy, and questionably heroic, Deathspank has to destroy all the five thongs in order to face this evil foe and save the world from destruction (again). You start out at your own castle at the city of Spanktopia and are instantly launched into battle against your old time enemies: the orcs.
Combat is something you’ll have to get used to as it does seem to be very difficult at first. However, as you get the hang of it, everything will make more sense and you’ll stop dying as often. Just be sure to remember that using your shield is almost as important as using your weapons, considering that blocking is a big part of the game (and the feature I most enjoyed about combat).
By the look of it, you’d think the game isn’t really hard, but even at easier difficulties, it’ll prove to be a big challenge if you don’t use all the resources available, of which there are many. At the start of the game, you’ll have eight slots available (by using the D-Pad and the face buttons), and you can equip whatever items you feel like on whichever slot you want, so it’s really adaptable to your play style. At your disposal, you have a variety of potions, grenades, and other powerful items which you should take advantage of, because they’re all abundant and effective (just make sure you’ll destroy all barrels).
Your arsenal is very vast and you’ll get to acquire a LOT of melee weapons, your trusty ranged weapon (with a slightly smaller variety) ,and a more powerful attack (based on the type weapon you’re using) that you can use every time your Justice Gauge is fully charged. Fully exploring the maps will reward you with about two weapons and a special set of armor for every level (the final level cap is set at 20, as has been the case with the other two Deathspank games) and many other treasures that will bring joy into your every day life. Be sure to keep your gear on par with your level, or else you risk having the enemies play a little round of “kick around the ‘hero’ just because” for a while.
For each Thong you’re tasked with destroying, you’ll travel to a different part of the world. Each one will have a small variety of environments, all of which are presented as two dimensional entities, but all looking really good and you’ll notice that even on close ups, there’s no pixelation at all. The game is very colorful and the style is certainly interesting; there IS a little recycling of several enemies and textures here and there, but in the end, it’s all kept very interesting.
The sound effects aren’t impressive, but they do their required work. The soundtrack is irrelevant and overly repetitive, which, for me, wasn’t a big deal, but some might see it as problem (though hopefully not as a deal breaker). Where the game really shines is when the protagonist speaks. One great thing about the game is that every line of dialogue is voiced over, and while Deathspank is especially great, most NPCs aren’t as good, and sometimes their voices don’t really match their look.
You can easily see that comedy was a top priority when the game was made, and nearly everything in the game is made with that in mind. This might sound boring, but it really isn’t… and it certainly was one of the features I most appreciated. It felt natural and didn’t get old at all. You’ll see a bit of everything here, from the most idiotic jokes to a lot of clever references and a bit of racial humor as well.
Playing the whole game from start to finish will take you about 10 hours (based on what I could play), and there are few side quests to take care of here and there, which certainly makes this a nice length for a PSN title. Most quests are varied and interesting, and some puzzles will surely make your brain work. In case you don’t feel like it and want to make ends meet ASAP, you can use fortune cookies that help out by giving you hints on the current objectives set forth by your quests. The story is enough to keep you interested, but certainly meeting new characters is the thing that will keep you going, as their stories are usually absurd and are sure to make you constantly laugh.
Menus are pretty straight forward and do their work well, but I feel like they should be a little more developed given the amount of time you’ll be spending going trough your constantly updated inventory. I realize there is a co-op feature in this game (apparently local only) but I couldn’t figure it out (nor would I be able to try it). For those who feel a bit competitive, the game offers online leader boards which track the number of enemies you’ve killed, stunned, and some other things. I don’t think there are many people playing it right now, since it wasn’t particularly difficult to climb up the ladder (though I didn’t get to the top).
The game is certainly not bad, but it disappointed me on some features since leveling does little to customize your character, and sometimes it feels the game scales faster than it should making it feel a little unbalanced in some points. For example, in a minute, enemies will go from level 10 to 12 (and it makes a big difference) and if you’re not careful, that could be very dangerous, which more casual players could find this a little annoying as grinding for experience isn’t fun. Late in the game you’ll feel the opposite as you’ll become waaaaaaaay too powerful with all the money you’ll have to stock up on various buffs and items.
Obviously the biggest problem I had with it was a game breaking glitch that prevented me from carrying on with the main quest. At a certain part later in the game you’ll have to find some golf clubs and one of them does not want to be picked up. Basically, I can’t go forward. I looked around the forums and found little information about the game, nobody seems to have experienced this particular problem, but I’ve read about at least two other glitches that were just as frustrating, so I don’t think this is very alarming, but it certainly impaired my experience.
If you’re looking for an interesting and very funny game, you shouldn’t look further. Deathspank: The Baconing is an extraordinary PSN title and one of the best downloadable titles I’ve played. It certainly feels like the game could offer a lot more for all the obvious work put into it, but maybe that’s just me because of my unfortunate experience. The greatest merit of the game is being a downloadable title with retail aspirations. While those may not be as good as they could, they’ve certainly made the game what it is: one of the most humorous and well made games available on the PSN.
[review pros=”Over-the-top humor
Lots of different weapons and armors
Good looking environments
Interesting combat mechanics
Fully voiced protagonist with many things to say” cons=”Game breaking glitch
Too much inventory management
Sound effects can feel repetitive” score=80]
Keep an eye out for a giveaway! We’ll be starting that tomorrow (09/09)!
Published by HotHeadGames
Developed by HotHeadGames
Cost â€“ $14.99
Available on PSN
Want to get this game? Then you can:
– A copy of the game was supplied by the publisher for this review.
– This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Deathspank: The Baconing provided by HotHead Games.