DeathSpank Review

Review Score

DeathSpank

PSU Review Score
8.0
Avg. user review score:
6.8

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Summary

Funny and downright mental, DeathSpank is a refreshing RPG that never fails to entertain

We like

  • The beautiful game world and characters
  • The lowbrow humor
  • The wacky quest log

We dislike

  • Easy to beat enemies. The hack 'n slash gameplay is a little too simple
  • The fact there is a lot of useless loot

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

In this notoriously slow period in the video games calendar we’ve turned to the PlayStation Network this week in our quest for gaming kicks, and boy are we glad we did.

From Monkey Island designer Ron Gilbert, DeathSpank arrives on PSN on a wave of positive previews, and despite costing just $14.99 (£9.99/€12.99) has many of the qualities that you’d attribute to a full-priced retail game. It’s safe to say you won’t find anything like DeathSpank elsewhere on PSN, and though its gameplay and humor are likely to be an acquired taste, it’s one of those games that you can’t help but like.

DeathSpank, contrary to the evil sounding title suggests, is a quirky, geeky and sometimes cutesy, fantasy, action role-playing game that never takes itself too seriously. If you’re at all familiar with Gilbert’s work then you’ll have probably guessed already that DeathsSpank is full of childish humour, bad puns and one-liners that litter every NPC meeting in this crazy, colourful world. DeathSpank is more Beavis And ButtHead than The Simpsons, but humor is a huge part of its appeal.

The storyline is the game’s weakest point - DeathSpank'sarch-enemy, Lord Von Prong, wants to steal DeathSpank's purple thong - yet its script is one of the strongest, with reams of branching dialogue and choices to make that affect the outcome of situations, open up new objectives and build the relationship between you and game by simply making you chuckle. As a result, it’s very easy to get drawn into its world of likeable characters.

The influence of Monkey Island on DeathSpank, with regard to its sense of humour, surreal quests and part of its visual style, is predictable, but the development team also admits to gaining some of its direction from Blizzard’s much-cherished action role-playing game, Diablo. Like Diablo, Deathspank is also a class-based fantasy, full of hack ‘n slash monster slaying, boss battling, looting and customisation. And both these styles, though not offering anything new to the genre in terms of structure, offer a very nice blend of gameplay and humor that, well…just works.

Playing as DeathSpank, who goes by other proud names such as the “Vanquisher of Evil” and “Hero to the Downtrodden,” the defining mission is to search across fantasylands for a magical artefact, called “The Artefact.” Along the way you'll save orphans, pick up loot from fallen enemies and evolve your character via new weapons and skills, such as speed and ranged attacks, while boosting up your armour and attacks and learning spells- typically everything you’d expect to feature in any competent RPG.

The hack ‘n slash side of DeathSpank is extremely accessible thanks to the modifiable control scheme, but lacks the depth of other established RPGs. You can equip four weapons at a time, each with different powers and stats and switch between them effortlessly. You can also use your d-pad to map potions and magical items that you can unleash on enemies and you can build up justice metre through killing and racking together combos, enabling you to unleash more powerful attacks with certain weapons.

The combat mechanic may be simple but it works very well and fighting is very fluid and enjoyable as a result. DeathSpank is no Diablo, but its fast-paced combat and range of crazy powers and weapons and variety of wacky enemy types keeps it entertaining. In between bouts of knocking Demons out with the The hack ‘n slash side of DeathSpank is accessible thanks to the modifiable control scheme, but lacks the depth of other established RPGs. You can equip four weapons at a time, each with different powers and stats and switch between them effortlessly. You can use your d-pad to map potions and magical items that you can unleash on enemies and you can build up justice metre enabling you to unleash more powerful attacks with certain weapons.

The combat mechanic may be simple but it works very well and fighting is very fluid and enjoyable as a result. DeathSpank is no Diablo, but its fast-paced combat and range of crazy powers and weapons and variety of wacky enemy types keeps it entertaining.

In between bouts of dragon slaying and seeing off the likes of vicious unicorns, you’ll also be questing, carrying ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again.
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  • Related game: DeathSpank

    Release date (US):
    July 13th, 2010
    Developer:
    Hothead Games
    Genre:
    Role Playing Game - N/A
    Rank:
    0 of 2,589 Games
    Up 0 places (in last 7 days)

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