A note from prawn1: Gamers are a wonderful bunch aren’t they? The other day I posted on a local PS3 forum that my puppies had nommed on my controller and showed everyone the gruesome images. A Durban gamer under the nick of Cloud_Ratha offered to post some replacement parts to me. I was touched by the fact that a person who I had never met before would do this for me, and to so say thanks, I shared Hothead Games’ latest action-RPG title with him. And as a token of his appreciation for the token of my appreciation he sent us a fantastic review of DeathSpank, which we have just published for your reading pleasure.
Join Cloud_Ratha as he explores the tale of the purple thong after the jump.
Our story starts off as any other story would, at the beginning.
DeathSpank is this world’s would-be hero, eager to dish out enemies a plate full of justice in nothing but a purple thong. Equipped with an array of weapons (each one more ridiculous than the next), DeathSpank is on a journey to find the incredibly mysterious artifact which has untold power and no known purpose. The world has a cartoon cell shaded style with 2D objects but with “real” 3D characters. This makes the game visually very appealing and it’s pulled off very nicely.
10 minutes into the game you should have noticed a few key elements that are similar to some other great games. To simplify things if Diablo and Monkey Island had a baby DeathSpank would be the glorious infant child. To put it mildly Ron Gilbert, the brilliant mind behind the Monkey Island franchise, conjured this gem in such a fashion that not only is it hilarious, but most importantly it’s really fun! Michael Dobson, the voice of DeathSpank, nailed the role to a T (that’s T for Thong). He was apparently the first and last audition for the role and was soon rewriting the scripts, to make it fit even better with the feel of the game.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the crack of justice. DeathSpank is a typical hack ‘n slash RPG, but it’s not without merit in this regard. With 8 custom-mappable item slots utilising the d-pad as well as the face buttons. Any slot can be used for any item. So it’s possible to have 8 weapons on hand ready to increase your multiplier to help you unleash justice. But that said, it’s not completely wise to run in to a swarm of Bearlopes (Bear/Antelope hybrid creature) flailing your weapons all over the place. You have to strategise a little. Once your justice meter is filled it lets you pull off a special move specific to that weapon (if it has one). There are also plenty of potions for different needs, such as boosters for speed, armour, crit, stealth, health, and more. These can be very useful when trying to power level against stronger enemies. Power Orbs also play a nifty hand in the game as they deliver an AoE in which they boost your stats. Also bear in mind that some weapons cause you to stand still for a second when attacking, while others let you run around while swinging your sword as you hum the Chariots of Fire theme tune. So now I’m running into a battle with a speed boost, unleashing justice with an 8-12 second stun, cycling through my log sword/scimitar/crossbow building up the multiplier. Then I throw down an orb of invulnerability and finish everything off with a special spinning attack of justice. I don’t know about you, but that is pretty darn sweet.
You’ll be happy to know that DeathSpank is also a Local only Co-Op adventure. One which I spent very little time with (I explain later). Basically the 2nd Player can opt in or out at any point of the game, to play as Sparkles the Wizard. Sparkles is different to DeathSpank in the sense that he cannot interact with NPC in the game, nor can he pick up any loot. Sparkles and DeathSpank share the same health bar, but that’s OK because Sparkles is mainly a support character. He has a fixed array of attacks as well as the ability to heal which is great. Sparkles cannot be modified in any way in terms of armour and weaponry, but that’s just fine, I loved my wide-eyed pink merlin masher.
DeathSpank makes use of an underground sewerage system, accessed by outhouses, to traverse the lands. As to how he accomplishes this, not even he is willing to explain. Outhouses are littered across the map which makes quests go a lot faster. The level up system is quite flexible as with each level you get the option to upgrade a specific passive ability, such as doing 10% more melee damage. This is in addition to the regular increase of stats you will receive.
DeathSpank is one of those games that when you start it, it’s impossible to let go. The only time I put it down was due to my stomach demanding nourishment and I realized supper was running a bit late that night. Before I demanded my daily meal by jumping into the corridor screaming “JUSTICE MUST BE SERVED” I noticed that it had just turned 4am and my girlfriend had abandoned me for a fluffy teddy . It was then that I realized Sparkles was no longer in game (suppose he wasn’t there for hours).
There are only a few grinds about this game. The monotonous sidequests can get a tad boring – go find A, retrieve B, deliver to C. It’s something that many RPG’s suffer from but thankfully the witty and humourous dialogue makes up for it somewhat. The Inventory system is a bit flawed in the sense that the only way to see the stats of weapons/armour is to highlight them. So it’s a pain to change, but bearable. Thankfully you can auto-equip your best armour. It seems like the general consensus of communities is that there should have been some online play, and possibly the opportunity to complete quests in your own version of DeathSpank with others. But personally I think the game is perfect as it is. Also the fact that the game ended was a big disappointment for me.
So all-in-all this game is a perfect addition to anyone’s console. It will consume around 10-15 hours of your time. The 1001mb download and the price tag of R125/1200 MS Points make this game simply unavoidable. Now go get your “Demon Poop Hammer” and literally go knock the shit out this!