I’ve seen plenty of bonkers games. I’ve also seen plenty of metagames. None of them compare to the level of madness and self-acknowledgment as Deadpool (2013). With Deadpool 2 coming to theaters in the next few days, I decided to travel back to a time before there were any (real) Deadpool movies (2009 never happened), and play a game that was made for, and by, Deadpool. (Which is easy to find right now used at Gamestop!)
As contradictory as this sentence will sound, I was simultaneously not surprised and surprised by this game. I got exactly what I expected I would get out of a Deadpool game, but every step of the way the game threw a curveball (more like throwing a boulder at a tee ball game, and the pitcher was a unicorn). This game is what you get when you have the writer of the Deadpool comic (Daniel Way in 2008) write the video game, you get hilarious writing that actually captures the voice of Deadpool.
As a non-Deadpool-comic reader, I was introduced to who Deadpool is, what drives him, his sense of humor, the fact that he has multiple voices in his head, and I still really enjoyed the game. My favorite games (and movies) are the ones that I can’t predict the next thing to happen; I love being able to say: “I didn’t see that coming!” If you know Deadpool at all, then you guess why I liked this game. Every new section was a new surprise. For example, while on Genosha, Cable shows up to explain Deadpool’s role in the upcoming fight. What does Deadpool do while Cable is talking? He does everything possible to avoid hearing all the crucial plot points that would give the player any idea what they would be doing (all the way to the point of shooting himself in the head).
But, this is precisely why the game is so fun. The game doesn’t hinge on some heavy plot about the end of the world, you, as the player, and Deadpool are fighting all these people and trying to stop the big bad because it’s fun for him. Deadpool has no interest in the overarching ramifications of stopping the bad guy; he just wants revenge for the contract that the bad guy took from him. The plot is secondary to killing your way to the end. For the comic fan and the non-comic fan, this game will be fun regardless of what you know.
What helps facilitate the fun atmosphere of this game is how easy it is to learn how the game works, and be good at it (if you’ve played games in the last decade). The game has a simple fighting style that is reminiscent of Batman: Arkham Asylum with the addition of guns: you have a jump, a heavy and standard attack, and a counter. You also have the ability to teleport. While teleportation on top of all these other abilities makes for an entertaining hack and slash/third-person shooter, if you get good enough with it, the game gets relatively repetitive.
Maybe I should have stepped up the difficulty later on in the game, but at a certain point, the enemies all seem the same. There are some you have to counter to hit, some that buff others which make them harder to take down, and there are stronger special enemies that are harder to take down, but all in all as you get stronger and have everything you wanted of the upgrades, everything is easy to take down. Part of that problem comes from the ability to teleport because, like Deadpool says, it makes it too easy. There were plenty of times while playing the game that I was able to just teleport behind a big enemy, hit them until they turn around, and just teleport back and repeat.
Outside of that, the only other problem I had with the game was that it was too short. That probably comes from the fact the game is very linear, but I felt like there was more exciting gameplay that could have been added. Deadpool makes so many homages to other games, like Zelda, Mario, Castlevania, and Sonic (I died more times on the sonic-like slide through the sewer than the rest of the game), in its own Deadpool way, that I think more things like this could have been added in to break up the endless hallways of bad guys.
Here’s the thing about this game, none of the things that bothered me about it really took away from my overall enjoyment. When I decided to play Deadpool, I figured I knew what I was getting into; I was both wrong and right. This game is exactly what you want in a Deadpool game, a fan of his or not, and so much more.