Monday, 5 September 2011

The Cynical Hunter reviews The Baconing.... yeah its odd to say the least.

The Baconing is the 3rd game in the Deathspank series by Hothead games, the game is a point and click hack'n'slash RPG in the vein of Diablo or Torchlight but without the fluidity of both, when attacking you can use either sword and shields or various ranged weapons depending on your own personal play style, the combat is chaotic but not in a particularly enjoyable way, ranged weapons are clearly overpowered compared to the melee counterparts and none of your attacks have any particular impact on the enemies your trying to club to death, fights often become confusing affairs with you desperately trying to whittle your opponents health down in lack lustre skirmishes while also trying to keep your health up due to your enemies being able to hurt you even when blocking. As i’ve said combat is a mess but can be slightly enjoyable when using one of Deathspanks many justice moves, these moves allow you to pull of some enjoyably over the top moves on your unsuspecting foes such as summoning drills to ascend from the earth or have a bomber fly over head and bomb your enemies to smithereens, these moves are only allowed when your justice metre is full but this metre is a strange thing, in some large fights it hardly ever fills itself but in the act of smash a chicken it fills its self very quickly.
Deathspank is only a RPG in only the lightest possible way, there is plenty of loot to find and equip but it’s very easy to see which armour is better due to it being the newest, the only stat on armour is health so its incredibly easy to tell one item being better than the other, you gain armour sets very easily as they drop from both common foes and chests alike. The weapons in Deathspank are similar in the way they are organised: for instance one weapon will do 400 physical damage while another will do 150 physical damage but will do 250 elemental damage as well so you have to choose what to pick and that’s all the choice you really have in this game. In terms of dialogue this is where the games sense of humour makes its self clear, Deathspank is a strange fellow, easily manipulated and arrogant he helps corrupt mayors get elected, befouls princess’s gardens and has clear father issues in the form of a gun nut hunter, in conversations any NPC Deathspank has a range of options but all of them lead to the same outcome so you will mostly likely choose the silliest as it just seems the right thing to do, some of the things Deathspank says on his own are really hilarious my favourite being a CSI Miami reference that forces you to stop playing and think about what just happened, i even stopped the game without saving, loaded it up again just for that one sound bite and once I find it on YouTube I will be in nirvana.
The style of the game is pretty unique in its presentation. The world is sort of round so when you walk up the screen the world tilts with you so you’re always finding new places over the horizon, that said exploration isn’t a major factor of the game and your only in a location for as long as quests need you to be. The art style is interesting to behold as it’s very colourful and odd, buildings appear to be 2 dimensional but all the people are 3D, this combined with the way the world moves makes it feel as though Deathspank is walking through a large film set.
Before I make my finally judgement I would like to make it clear I have no experience with the Deathspank world until this game and so probable don’t appreciate this game as part of a series, that said I feel a game should stand on its own as a good game before it is counted as a good game in part of a series.
Deathspank is a game of two halves in my mind; one half is passable with its combat and RPG elements that feel too bare bones to be truly engaging, on the other side there is a great art style with a great sense of humour and wonderful fully voiced acted characters that make the game fun and enjoyable. For fans of the series it’s a must buy and its more than likely you already have, if your new to the series for the price of £10 or so pounds on steam you could do worse than pick it up, that said i would still recommend a game such as Bastion for the same price.