Review by RTS_Player

"Hilarious Parody of Hack and Slash RPGs"

Meet DeathSpank. Hero to the Downtrodden. Vanquisher of Evil. Dispenser of Justice! You will play (and laugh) through the game as this self-righteous hero, bringing justice to the land and searching for "The Artifact". The hilarious story and dialogue, superb voice acting, as well as the well done visuals, make this game well worth the $15 cost, and more than make up for, and will even make you forget about, the simple (though solid) gameplay and unspectacular sound effects, music, and co-op.

Story 10/10

As you can imagine, any game called "Deathspank" has a good, quirky sense of humor. For example, at one point you meet a felt salesman named Freen. Upon ending every conversation you have with him, he will say, "Don't forget to tell your friends you got felt by Freen". That is probably one of the less funny lines in the game!

The story revolves around Deathspank, who was told at an early age to retrieve "The Artifact" (which neither Deathspank nor the player knows what it actually does). The game begins with Deathspank fighting his way up to the house of the Demon Witch Heybenstance, who he convinces to help him get the artifact. After gathering ingredients for a potion that will help him retrieve the artifact for the Demon Witch, and fighting his way through a fiery cave, Deathspank gets the artifact. Unfortunately, a band of Orques (yes, that is how they spell it) steals The Artifact from Deathspank for the evil Lord Von Prong. For the rest of the game, Deathspank has two main quests: retrieve the artifact (and defeat Lord Von Prong in the process) and retrieve eight lost orphans for the Mayor of the town of Pluckmuckel (so that he can get his approval ratings high enough to win reelection).

The story gets a ten not for its intricacies, but for its sense of humor. Every conversation you have with an NPC will make you laugh out loud, and many of the characters have humorous quirks. The story is simply fun and will keep you playing just hear the next humorous line.

Gameplay 7/10

The gameplay is solid, but simple and unspectacular. Essentially, this game is a hack and slash RPG. You will use both ranged and melee weapons to take down numerous foes. Unfortunately, the game is largely button-mashing, and you will rarely use ranged weapons because they lack the power of melee weapons. Deathspank himself has no magical abilities, and though you do obtain items that behave like offensive spells by doing ranged elemental damage, they consume one charge per use, and you don't really need them to beat the game (I never really used them during my play-through). Aside from that, you have food to heal yourself, potions, and quest specific items at your disposal.

You can customize your weapons and armor (although near the end you'll have the opportunity to purchase armor pieces that are literally the best in the game, making all others obsolete) throughout the game. The weapons often have amusing descriptions, or amusing in and of themselves. For example, you may obtain a "Broadest Sword". However, they all function the same in battle (except when your "Justice Meter" is full (which you do by fighting enemies) you can use a special ability that some weapons have), making any changes in weapons almost always stat related.

The level of character customization is also very limited. Every time you level up, all your stats will receive a boost, and you can select one of three cards that upgrade Deathspank in some way. Each time you level up, you will choose between three (there are six in total in two groups, which alternate every time you level up. Each card has three levels of improvement). These are not very complicated upgrades, ranging from "you do X% more damage" to "you block X% longer". When you reach level 20, the highest level you can reach, you will have all but two of them, thus making your character nearly identical to somebody else's by the final boss.

However, despite these flaws, the gameplay is solid with no major flaws, and the game itself runs smoothly all the way through.

Music and Sound Effects 6/10

The music is unremarkable, but still good enough that you won't want to mute the television. Ditto for the sound effects.

Voice Acting 10/10

The voice acting is perfect for a funny game such as Deathspank. There are no awkward moments, and the acting is done so well that it makes the dialogue even funnier. You will want to hear, not just read, the dialogue.

Graphics 9/10

For a $15 game, the graphics are gorgeous. The mix of 3d character models and 2d buildings and backgrounds (all in a cartoony style) blend together very well. The game is colorful and polished. There didn't seem to be any graphical glitches of even the most minor sort.

Multiplayer 5/10

The multiplayer is really nothing special. A second player can join and leave the game at anytime, but they cannot import their own character, or level up and equip their character as they play. Instead of being a Deathspank clone, they play as Sparkles the Wizard, a character who has no dialogue or importance in the story. Deathspank and Sparkles share the same HP bar and stats. Sparkles can cast one of four spells to aid Deathspank in his quests. He can cast a weak healing spell, shoot little balls of energy at foes, blow fire, and teleport to Deathspank's location. That's it. He can't even interact with the environment, instigate dialogues, or pickup items (though he can pickup money).

While any co-op is better than none, so much more could have been done with this mode that wasn't.

Deathspank is a creative hack and slash RPG with a hilarious story and amusing characters. The voice acting is near-perfect, and the graphics are pretty in a cartoony way. Deathspank is not without its problems, though. The co-op mode is very basic and disappointing (though certainly better than no co-op), the sound effects and music are good but unremarkable, and the gameplay is simple with little character customization. However, the story will have you laughing the whole way, and thus makes one forget about the flaws.

Pros
+ Hilarious story and amusing characters
+ Pretty graphics
+ Great voice acting

Cons
- Simplistic gameplay
- Disappointing co-op
- Little character customization

All in all, this game is well worth your $15 simply for all the laughs the story provides. DeathSpank is well worth the price.

Verdict: Buy It


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/05/11

Game Release: DeathSpank (US, 07/14/10)


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