DeathSpank Review

DeathSpank (Available on PlayStation Network, and Xbox Live Arcade)
ESRB Rating: T
Players: 1-2
Genre: Action
Publisher: EA
Developer: Hothead Games
Release Date: July 14th, 2010

Parent Talk: DeathSpank is better enjoyed by adults, but anyone can play it. There’s no foul language, and nothing sexually offensive…for most people. There’s nothing that should prevent enjoying the game to its fullest.  Jarrod probably wants me to tell you that it supports 1080p and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, but really, what doesn’t these days?

I’ve played arcade games since the Xbox 360 was released five years ago, from the classics (Geometry Wars, Assault Heroes, Shadow Complex) to the recently released LimboDeathSpank is the best of them all.  Heck, it’s one of my favourite 360 titles period. A quick peek at what the general media says about DeathSpank would help you realize that this isn’t an ordinary arcade game.

The Great:

Picking DeathSpank’s greatest aspect proves next to impossible. I’ve sided ultimately with the humor.  Every line of dialogue is capable of making you laugh.  It’s all brilliantly voiced by professional actors to make the experience that much more enjoyable. I could spend hours quoting the game’s many clever lines. Just watch the trailer at DeathSpank.com and listen for yourself.

The Good:

+ At $15, DeathSpank is a steal. Most $60 retail titles are shorter than DeathSpank, which clocks in at between 12 to 15 hours. A enormous world filled with tons of different beasts, characters, caves and quests for you to kill, interact with and partake in. Wouldn’t you say that’s worth a measly 15 bucks?

+ Speaking to a normal NPC has never been this exciting. This is about the humor.  There’s more to it than that though, as for some reason, I felt obligated to meet the dudes’ needs.  There’s no difference with the main quests and side ones. You want to do them all.

+ The game looks amazing! The screens don’t do DeathSpank justice. The variety is sick, and this is a digital download. You explore demon-ridden caves, forests with unicorns that poop rainbows, a haunted forest with an underwater village, and tons more.  The characters and enemies are built with 3D polygons, while the scenery is 2D.  There’s also a cel-shaded technology that I can’t possibly explain.  Just know it looks great, especially in the later stages of the game where you fight ten foot donkey-sabertooths. They don’t play nice.

+ Uncomplicated depth.  DeathSpank isn’t a pushover with the massive roster of equipment and items, but it’s not too punishing either.  You can play like a champ, trying all sorts of combos, or let the game distribute gear based on its AI as you gently work through the quest.  Players can quickly jump in, because you’re progressively taught how to play.  It’s the perfect mix.  Customization is there, but those that just want to enjoy DeathSpank’s story can do just that.

+ The combat is a blast.  Simple, yet effective. This is in essence a button-mashing action-RPG, but it’s never boring.  A co-op mode is included too.

The Bad:

– There isn’t much to complain about. The missions can be repetitive with the many fetch quests, but it never bothered me. I usually hate collect-o-fests, but here, any excuse to talk to a character or slay a dragon was fine by me. The co-op needs work however. It feels like a last-minute shoehorn.  DeathSpank is certainly designed for c-op, but it’s not supported online.  Right now, it’s an option to have a wizard tag along with four attacks. He can’t be toyed with, but shares your health bar.

The Lowdown:

DeathSpank is an absolute must-have. Try it, and I’m sure you’d love it as I have.  I’m hopeful to hear news of a sequel or downloadable content soon. I could see this turning into a successful new series.

8 thoughts on “DeathSpank Review”

  1. Any game that has saber-tooth donkeys is a must try inmy book too. Ièll download it.

  2. I’m thinking of downloading it myself. I’m just trying to finish up Modern WarFare 2 on Veteran before I play anything else. Can you believe I’m one of the only people on the planet not to have already played this game? I can fully understand why people praise it so much. I’ve had many “OMG WTF” moments from the single player campaign. Playing on Veteran only enhances those feelings ;)

    1. Blah…I really didn’t like the single player campaign to be honest. Too haphazard. Online is where the game’s at. Black Ops, on the other hand, is looking to deliver a better single player.

      So stop playing this piece of crap and get to Peace Walker! Going to post up some impressions soon. All I can say is the PSP is the wrong platform for this gem. In terms of gameplay and structure, this is the best one in the series I’ve ever played. Not as cinematic as MGS4 mind you, but there’s tons to do.

      As for Deathspank, played some local co-op at my friend’s house the other day. Looks like a simple overhead loot game, but like you said Steven the humor makes up for everything. The guy who voices the hero is so damn hilarious!

  3. I really enjoyed the locals of some of those missions guys. The Washington level was amazing. I don’t have the time to invest into online play with a game like this. I still have to blast through Splinter Cell and Mass Effect 2. Now Steven just mentioned a new arcade release for this week that I’m going to check out to ensure our Summer of Xbox coverage continues. Obviously the game was just released so I have to move my butt in order to get the review out before next week’s offering. Gah, too much to play!

  4. @Ahmed

    I agree with you about the Modern Warfare 2 single player campaign.

    I also agree with you for Peace Walker being the best of the series. But I think it’s great for the PSP. I mean, those Extra Ops and the things you can do to upgrade your Mother Base, they really fit well with the idea that you can do this on the go with a few minutes to spare.

    As for Deathspank (wich the comments should be about) I bought it but didn’t try it yet. After reading this review I now know there’s co-op and I’ll probably end up playing it that way!

  5. The co-op mode isn’t anything to get excited about Pat. It’s cool to play with someone who likes Deathspank but finds it boring to watch somebody play it. But it’s not a full co-op experience like it could be.

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