You are Deathspank. Dispenser of Justice. Vanquisher of Evil. Hero to the Downtrodden. Need I say anymore? You start Deathspank in search of an ancient artifact, known as… wait for it… THE ARTIFACT!!!! With it, you will be all bad ass and stuff… This is your quest!
Hothead Games has taken the time to create an amazing title; which, with the follow-up release of Deathspank Thongs of Virtue (available on Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network), has now become an amazing franchise.
The gameplay is ripped right out of the Blizzard playbook and mimics the Diablo series. Expect to do a lot of clicking! The game features truly unique weapons and armor upgrades. The weapons all feel terrific to wield and add special fun to this title. As far as skill-ups, the game eschews the use of skill trees in favor of a card-based system. Each other level, you are faced with the choice of replacing one of your skill upgrades with another, therefore altering the abilities of your character. Leveling is a steady-paced affair, and never felt like the grind lasted too long until the next level. The enemies you will face in Deathspank are all tried and true staples of the fantasy genre, and Deathspank never lacks for innovative ways to dispatch them.
This game truly excels in two different places. First, the graphics… Oh my goodness. This game is a visual treat. With so many development studios focusing on hyper-realistic visuals, always trying to cross the uncanny valley, it is refreshing to see a studio take a chance on something completely different. And different is exactly what Deathspank is. Hothead focused on an ultra-cartoonish, pop-up book style for this title. There are very few games that pull this style off without building a kids only title. I can assure you, the graphic style lends itself perfectly to Deathspank.
The other area where this game outdoes itself is in the writing. There have been many games throughout the course of time that tried their darnedest to be funny. Yet, in the trying, they seem to fall flat. The writing team at Hothead have crafted something truly hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. I eagerly awaited running into each new quest-giver to hear what they had to say. This is rare in a game, and makes for a very entertaining experience.
The only place where this game suffers is simply the platform it was reviewed on. While the game plays pretty well, it is easy to see that it was ported from its console brethren. Since the game plays like a stripped down Diablo, it is pretty user-friendly. However, there were times where I did wish I could control it with a gamepad. That being said, you won’t need to go out and purchase a gamepad for your PC in order to enjoy this title. You would, however, enjoy it that much more if you did have one.
Ultimately, I very much enjoyed my time with Deathspank. If you missed it when it was featured on the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3, then you owe it to yourself to pick up this wonderful action-RPG. The game is super-funny and packs its own brand of punch in an amazingly attractive package.