Everyone loves a hero, even the bumbling morons who just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Those are the true heroes. Well, meet DeathSpank. He’s one of those self-proclaimed heroes who accidentally does something heroic. DeathSpank is a hack and slash RPG where you take on the role of DeathSpank, a not so bright champion of the free world who is in search of something known only as “the artifact.” all because some red-haired woman told him so.
The gameplay is that of an action-based dungeon crawler much like Torchlight or an action Diablo. There is a ton of loot to be found and new and improved weapons and armor to equip. DeathSpank can keep four different weapons equipped at a time. You can use each weapon according to what key/button you have it equipped for. Mixing up attacks with different weapons makes your Justice meter fill up. Justice is a special move that damages most enemies around you to give you some breathing room. You can also pick up health restoration items. There are foods that you can eat over time that will fill up your heath, as well as health potions that will heal you instantly.
As you level up, you choose between different cards to obtain that will grant you certain upgrades, such as, faster speed, more damage to melee and ranged attacks, and boosts to defense.
Later on in the game, you’ll also gain abilities to combine attacks for devastating damage. So let’s say you have a cleaver you mix that with a fire based weapon and hit both attack buttons at the same time, you’ll do a special attack. There are a large amount of combo attacks you can learn that will really help you out during your play through.
The game boils down to quests. Quests for you, quest for other people, and quests for a certain area, most of which are all fetch quests. When I say most, I mean all of them. You are either tasked with getting a certain amount of items for a person, or killing a number of enemies in an area. That’s what the entire game is. It can get monotonous very quickly. The problem is there is really no variety to the quests. It’s just the same task only with a different monster or different item.
The biggest gripe I have with the game is how slow DeathSpank actually moves. It’s almost a slow crawl. You can, of course, upgrade your speed, but even then, you’ll still feel like your going as slow as you can. They try to remedy this with outhouse warp points scattered throughout the map. You’ll be using these a good amount due to you having to backtrack to turn in quests.
The art style is something very unique. It’s a very cartoony look with almost cel-shaded graphics. The really cool thing is the way it looks. Everything is in the form of a cardboard cut out. At least, that’s what it looks like. When you move around, each area seems to be part of the surface of a giant ball that you are slowly circling around. One of the most impressive parts of the game is that will all these areas and enemies; you won’t run into a single load screen.
The presentation is actually well done. Every piece of dialog is voice acted and well done. Hothead tries to do a good job with the story and trying to keep the humor constant. There are a few parts that will actually make you laugh, but for the most part you will get the feeling that they’re trying just a little too hard to be funny. Still, the story, while a little stupid, keeps the player entertained.
The game offers a co-op mode locally with another player. You play as a mage with a few simple attacks. Both you and DeathSpank share the same health bar. It’s somewhat limited, but it is there for the co-op players.
The PC version does offer controller play, which is always nice for a console gamer such as me. It even maps all the buttons for the 360 controller right away with no need of mapping them yourself.
I think DeathSpank as a whole is still a rather enjoyable game. The combat works and works very well. The constant acquiring of new weapons and loot really keep the gamer playing. The only problem is the fact that all the quests boil down to gathering a bunch of items or killing a certain number of enemies. I think if you took your time with the game and try not to rush through it, you won’t get as burned out on the quests. Plus, with a play time of just under 8 hours, you’ll definitely get your $15 worth out of it.
Review copy provided by publisher.