When your name is DeathSpank, your work is never done. That’s why it’s no surprise the
annoying loveable protagonist is back at work on Xbox Live Arcade and the PS3 Network, this time collecting six magical and evil thongs.
Ron Gilbert dubbed the original DeathSpank as a mixture of “Tales of Monkey Island” and “Diablo.” The resemblance to ToMI’s writing style is apparent: the jokes are piled on hard and fast, layer after layer, so even when they fall flat (often) there’s always another one only a click away. Sounds like Monkey Island.
Part of the reason the jokes fall flat is that though the dialogue is usually funny, or at least humorous, the game’s emphasis is on the characters’ flamboyant accents and tones. Which means that nearly every line is spoken slow and with way too much emphasis. On top of all that, you have to read Death Spank’s dialogue only to have to listen to him say it right after. Experiencing every punch line twice ruins almost any joke.
And then there’s that pesky Diablo comparison. It’s kind of legitimate... both games have loot, micro-quests, and more hack and slash than if M. Night joined Guns N’ Roses (Get it…? Hack and Slash?). But mostly, they’re completely different games, and comparing the two doesn’t give DeathSpank’s addicting armor-cum-costume changes and impressive 2.5 dimension graphics enough credit. After an impressive debut and a quick second release, DeathSpank can now stand on its own without riding unwarranted coattails.
Those that liked the first will almost certainly like the second, but if you never got your spank on the first time around, you can skip the debut. But be warned, the game doesn’t waste time acquainting you with characters or game mechanics. Luckily, when you get stuck, there are a plethora of fortune cookies to pick up in the game – each can be used to supply a hint if you get stuck.
For the perfectionists out there, there are tons of missions to accomplish and most gamers will never have to touch a fortune cookie. Unfortunately, mission structure is quite repetitive: Go here, kill this, collect this, return, rinse, repeat. Even boss battles are surprisingly dull, not to mention difficult. Early on DeathSpank makes fun of you for dying, suggesting maybe you should turn down the difficulty, but that he won’t respect you much. Luckily, if you get really stuck a friend can press start and get to slashing up baddies alongside DeathSpank. There’s enough here for the game to be worth the low admission price, and what it lacks in ingenuity, it makes up for in personality.
Oct 8, 2010