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Reviews

Deadpool: Interactive

Pick your own score for the Merc with the mouth

Some love him, some hate him, and plenty more still have absolutely no idea who he is. Opinions on Deadpool are as altogether conflicted as the voices in his head, so his first starring role in a game calls for a review that's as individual as he is. Gird your loins; we're going in for an interactive review.

Deadpool is .

Here's the thing about Deadpool: the very things his fans love him for are the exact reasons that others will hate him. He's crude, obnoxious, and sleazy, and he's a complete nuisance to other more mentally-balanced Marvel heroes. His insanity, deep love of violence, tendency to hallucinate and to break the fourth wall don't always make for the most compelling comic books, but they do sound like perfect fodder for a light-hearted video game.

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Be wary though, DP fans - you won't find anything new or revelatory about the character here. The script is entirely in keeping with its writer Daniel Way's treatment of the merc with a mouth during his recent run in the comics - which divided many of Deadpool's most hardcore followers. There's a point early on in the game where the anti-hero, contemplating his scarred face in a bathroom mirror, declares aloud that he hopes this won't be a game "about the tragedy behind the comedy." Not a chance; Way isn't interested in Wade Wilson's story. He ignores more dramatic aspects of the character, instead aiming for pure lightweight entertainment in the form of straight-up silly slapstick comedy, tame-ish toilet humour, buckets of gore and fast flurries of zingy one-liners. If you're a bigger fan of Joe Kelly, Gail Simone or Fabian Nicieza's takes on the character, you may be a little disappointed by the story on offer here. This is Deadpool at his most idiotic and outrageous, which isn't necessarily a bad thing - many fans preferred Way's approach in the comics, and many will warm to it here, too.

I like my combat .

Despite Deadpool's signature flash and flourish, combat is disappointingly vanilla throughout. Wade can equip dual katanas, sais and sledgehammers as his main method of assault, switch between pistols, shotguns and rifles for long-range attacks, and throw grenades, flashbangs, mines and even beartraps into the mix. His teleportation device, a staple feature from the comics, is used contextually during combat to evade enemy attacks, and is upgraded later in the game to enable access to harder to reach areas. By dodging incoming attacks and building up your own kill count, you'll be able to rack up longer combos which will award you with Deadpool Points. These can also be collected in the form of rather archaic tokens scattered around in-game locations, and are exchanged for weapon and gadget upgrades - increasing the damage, capacity, or effects of equipped items.

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Though it feels uninspired, overly familiar, and doesn't provide much challenge on normal difficulty, the combat actually works just fine - so it's a shame that the game's awful camera fights so hard against it. Your view of proceedings will spin and jerk erratically whilst Deadpool fights in enclosed spaces, and as enemies close in, it'll often zoom and hover right over his head, making it next to impossible to see incoming attacks. Then again, you may be happy to overlook this in favour of a game that revels in letting you butcher Gambit clones over and over again.

If a game , I can forgive it for a few other flaws.

There are original ideas in Deadpool, and plenty of touches that encapsulate exactly what fans were hoping for when they were told the merc was to have his own game. It's just a shame that genuinely clever concepts are few and far between, and most of the good jokes are murdered through repetition. Rather than simply employing it as a narrative device, High Moon makes Deadpool's fourth-wall breaking the main focus of the game, hinging so much of the game's humour around it that the jokes begin to wear thin fast.

Sure, it's a novelty to hear a character commenting on his game whilst peeking through to our side of the curtain, but novelty value isn't nearly enough to sustain an entire game, even one with a short seven to eight hour campaign. There are only a few standout sections where the game's self-awareness is used to great effect. A neat little instance has Deadpool's duelling inner voices create platforms with their thought bubbles, for example, and 'ongoing budget constraints' (caused by Deadpool incessantly demanding bigger and better explosions) means that the game can, at any moment, shift from a hack and slash to a top-down retro-style dungeon crawler to a gallery style shooter. In another scene, Deadpool wanders away from the TV screen entirely, before popping his head back in and demanding "you coming or what?" - leaving you to trail along after him with the camera. Sadly, the goodwill engendered through these highlights isn't nearly enough to keep you on-side when you're stuck fighting through wave after wave of identikit enemies in the same arena for what feels like far too long.

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One of of Deadpool's other great pitfalls is High Moon's failure to acknowledge that self-awareness of shortcomings doesn't negate their status as, well, shortcomings. Even if you do an on-rails section or a gun turret section 'mockingly' or 'ironically', you're still perpetuating tiresome game clichés, and knowing developers know that they are tired doesn't make these sequences any more fun to slog through. Hearing Deadpool telling the studio to stop using the same environment assets or the same enemies might raise a sardonic smile, but it also just makes you more acutely aware of the constant repetition.

Fart and boob jokes are .

I won't judge you for sniggering at the sight of a superhero squeezing out a stink-nugget, but be aware that this game doesn't get any more sophisticated than that - and nor does it aim to. If nothing else, Deadpool just wants to make you laugh, and jokes come so thick and fast throughout that it will definitely raise a giggle out of you before the credits roll. Voice actor Nolan North clearly enjoyed himself in the recording booth, and his boisterous delivery (in particular, the tangible glee every time he gets to say "poo") helps sustain the script even when the jokes fall flat.

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If toilet humour and innuendo are what you look for with this character, and that's all you expect, there are plenty of funny, throwaway moments to carry you through, despite the otherwise lacklustre combat and minimal replayability.

I am , last time I checked.

I can feel more cynical readers already rolling their eyes as I type, but bear with me on this one. There may be some people who take issue with the depiction of female characters in Deadpool, but on the whole Wade Wilson's constant flirtation and fixation with the ladies comes across as more ridiculous than genuinely offensive, as all characters - both male and female - are seen through Deadpool's unique filter.

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A bigger problem with the game is that though it constantly refers to you as 'the player,' you're left with absolutely no doubt in your mind that High Moon assumes that that player is male. Whilst this is undoubtedly the game's target demographic - and that's fine - I do wonder whether it absolutely has to allude to this on quite so many occasions, to the detriment of anyone else who might be playing. Was there really no way at all to have Deadpool make jokes at the player's expense without assuming their gender or orientation? If you're female, you may put down the controller and come away from Deadpool with the distinct impression that the game just wasn't meant for you. I wouldn't ask to be expressly included, High Moon - I'm just asking not to be explicitly excluded.

Ultimately, in being unashamed, obnoxious, immature and insane, Deadpool is Deadpool alright - for better and for worse. So how did you score?

If you enjoyed that, check out our interactive reviews for Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, Crysis 3, and Remember Me.

The verdict

Hardcore Deadpool fans will find plenty to enjoy, but it's hard to recommend to anyone else.

  • Laugh out loud moments
  • Deadpool is a likeable loon
  • Slap Wolverine to your heart's content
  • Lots of minigames throughout
  • Terrible camera controls
  • Very little reason to replay
  • Combat gets tired and repetitive
  • Forgettable boss battles
6
Format
Xbox 360
Developer
High Moon Studios
Publisher
Activision
Genre
Action

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