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Deadpool game preview: breaking the fourth wall

by Andrew Yoon, shacknews.com, May 8, 2013 9:00AM PDT

Last year's Transformers game continued High Moon Studios' legacy of great licensed games. They may not pick up Game of the Year awards, but they're certainly well-liked by fans. Deadpool seems destined to continue that winning streak with a competent brawler designed as a love letter for fans.

In the meta-story of Deadpool: The Game, developer HMS is coerced into developing a game centered around our titular hero after he mails a bomb to their office. No fourth wall will be safe, as the game's narrative centers around Deadpool's attempt to not only make his game real, but as sexy as possible.

Deadpool entertains simply by being zany, over-the-top fun. He'll pick up a model of a bookcase and blame a "junior artist" for its quality; he'll note that "you're going the right way" because of the new barrage of enemies that spawned; and he'll (seemingly) randomly blow up a bouncy castle through a button mashing QTE sequence.

Perhaps there's no better actor suited to talk about the tropes of action video games than Nolan North--voice of Nathan Drake, Desmond Miles, the Prince of Persia, etc. As Deadpool and both his in-head voices, there is absolutely no shortage of quips from North. With his non-stop rambling, Deadpool will fill your Nolan North quota for years to come.

If playing as Deadpool wasn't fan service enough, the game also throws in plenty of other X-Men for the masked superhero to encounter. The one level I played featured Cable, and HMS promises plenty more. (And don't expect Deadpool to play nice with these heroes--it is his game after all. He drones out Cable's speech as if he were a parent in the Charlie Brown universe.)

There's no doubt that Deadpool is all about presentation. That's not to say that the gameplay is bad--but it's certainly not the selling point. Wielding guns and swords much like his MvC3 counterpart, Dante, you'd expect the combat to be akin to Devil May Cry. However, there's a key difference between the way these two games play: when you use a gun in Deadpool, it switches to a traditional over-the-shoulder third-person view. It's a bit jarring, and doesn't feel as fluid or as immediately accessible as the combat in DmC.

The combat isn't entirely mindless, and like so many other games of this genre, there are tons of upgrades you can purchase with XP. For example, you can buy the bear trap gadget, which lets you snare any enemy walking into it and pummel it. It's especially effective on mini-boss types. There's also added depth with a rudimentary parry system.

Deadpool has everything a third-person combat game needs, although it pales in comparison to the genre's greats. Combat lacks the viscera of God of War, the depth of DmC, or the challenge of a Ninja Gaiden. But, that's not really what Deadpool is about. At the end of the level I played, I finally discovered what the purpose of that blow-up castle was: it was to create a safe landing for one of the big bads we kicked out of a skyscraper. The satisfying circular nature of that chapter proved that Deadpool's greatest strength is its charm--and fans will likely eat it up.

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