Review: Deadpool / Developer: High Moon Studios / Publisher: Activision / Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360 / Release Date: Out Now
The Merc with the mouth gets his own videogame! Assassin turned genetically modified madman Wade Wilson has finally convinced the powers that be to grant him a game of his very own. All it took was a little bomb and a lot of swearing. Lewd, crude and amusingly violent, it's fair to say that Deadpool hasn't been toned down at all for his videogame debut.
For better and worse, Deadpool does a great job of capturing the comics' source material. Whether it's chiding the player for not being very good, calling the developers at High Moon to complain about elements of the gameplay he doesn't like, or making constant references to silly videogame conventions, Deadpool never shuts his face. Readers who find the character annoying would be advised to either give the game a miss or play with the volume turned (way) down. It's fair to say that any urge to turn Deadpool grim and gritty has been well and truly resisted. Deadpool swears, farts and chomps his way through the game, only ever pausing to reload or chop off a head or fifty (and even then, not always).
Like the excellent Punisher video game of 2005 (this writer’s favourite comic book game of all time, Batman be damned) Deadpool has no qualms about its adults-only rating, with its script and gameplay being some of the most hilariously bawdy we've ever seen in a game. Those familiar with Marvel studios from their recent cinematic output alone will be shocked and outraged by Deadpool. Fans, meanwhile, will be applauding the company for giving them what they want. We would have preferred a sequel to The Punisher, but this is close enough. The story has mad mercenary Deadpool plotting the course of his game and assassinating a rich businessman before going toe-to-toe with mean mutant Mister Sinister. With cameos from Wolverine, Cable and a select few other X-Men, there's enough nods and winks to the shared Marvel Universe that it should please more casual followers of the character too. No Frank Castle though, alas.
Where Deadpool falters, however, is in its actual gameplay. It aims for the same vibe as Lollipop Chainsaw, Shadows of the Damned, Splatterhouse and The Punisher (I'm going to keep bringing that up until I get a sequel) but just isn't polished enough to pull it off (cue Deadpool giggling at the use of the phrase “pull it off”). The environments are uninspired – there's a sewer level, without irony – the enemies that aren't bosses boring and unexciting. The gameplay recalls Batman's moves in Arkham Asylum, but that's not good enough either. It's never dull – not with Deadpool around – but it should, and could have been a lot better.
That the game succeeds is thanks almost entirely to the strength of the writing, wit and its main character. Deadpool is a lot of fun. For all its flaws, fans of the character should love it. He's got himself a videogame, so now all Wade has to do is convince the head honchos at Marvel to get him his own film too. And no Ryan Reynolds, please.