DeathSpank

Playing to the very best of humanity's Hunter Gatherer instincts, DeathSpank is an RPG that sees players take part in all the traditional collection tasks, while allowing gamers to gradually build their character, improving combat statistics, armour, weapons and potions. It's as traditional as any RPG in mission style and objectives, but everything about the game is first put through some sort of crazy machine, coated in bonkers, rattled around with random for a few hours, then left to simmer in silliness until ready to play. Bizarre, this game certainly is, but it's a refreshing, entertaining formula that makes this Playstation Store title a most interesting RPG indeed.

Deathspank

The main criticism levelled at the game is the repetitive nature of the tasks, since mostly they're just a case of bashing some enemies and collecting an item, but they're quite imaginative collections. For example, in one mission, you're tasked with collecting unicorn poop, but learn that unicorns only poop once or twice in their long lifetimes. Now, earlier in the game, you could use a comically-named Poop Hammer, but that trick only works on demons. Instead, you're encouraged to use a special relish which you place on unicorn turnips in their feeding ground. It's then a case of sitting back, waiting for the relish to be eaten, then collecting the rapid poop product that follows. Simple combat and collection? Yes, but it's all handled very imaginatively.

The motivation for the various quests is a mysterious artifact called The Artifact, and as DeathSpank heads off in search of this particular treasure, he's led into the path of the evil Lord Prong. From there, the game sets things up nicely for rescuing orphans, collecting bits of wildlife, taking on ghosts, and even helping the last-generation hero to complete his final quests. None of the missions are particularly hard, though that depends on the difficulty setting you choose and, as is always the case with RPGs, your rate of progression. Venturing too far ahead before levelling up your character is likely to end in doom, the minor penalty for which is being returned to one of the map's many outhouses (simply collecting your dropped coins means you've essentially lost nothing). However, taking the time to improve your character will allow you to take on the game's harder enemies, including armies of orques, enraged unicorns, sabretooth donkeys and even a dragon.

Deathspank

DeathSpank tackles the world with no fear, conversing with people in a way that seems filled only with the truth, and no intentional insult, leading to comic salutations such as "Greetings Wretched Man" and "Greeting again Greedy Orphan". Conversations with other characters in the game often lead to bizarre quests, but can be quite entertaining themselves, often involving incredibly random topics, without resorting to too much toilet humour. Accents are varied too, with Scottish, Irish, English and American accents all making an appearence. Since the game is only a store title, not a full release, fully-fleshed-out characters aren't perhaps the expected norm, and they do generally just stand around in the same locations, but they're entertaining conversation and various nearby props (cherry trees, taco stands, log cabins and loads more) create a very complete world of wacky people. The game puts together a simple set of rules, and then sticks with them, leading to simple but consistent crazy entertainment.

Deathspank

It doesn't hurt that the world is also quite beautiful. As DeathSpank walks around the map (with all exterior locations reachable without loading times), the environment changes for each area, with the starting location featuring grassy hills, lush trees and a beautiful blue lake, but exploration quickly leads to fire caverns, waste dumps, eyeball forests, swamps (filled with swamp donkeys of course), orque camps (with plenty of orques) and even an enchanted forest. Though not quite as striking as the map locations, the characters are also quite varied, with a highly caricatured style, none more so than DeathSpank's exaggerated features, making him look (and sound!) a lot like Ratchet and Clank "star" Qwark. A fully armed, running DeathSpank is an amusing sight in itself, defying the laws of physics, but bringing justice to enemies of the land.

If you're not after something quite so random, or really, really worry about repetitive tasks, DeathSpank might not be the ideal game, but as store titles go, it's of excellent quality, and there's certainly nothing like it. The game will keep RPG and adventure fans happy for at least ten hours, and cooperative gameplay support (for up to two players locally) is a massive boost to the game's credentials. For less than a tenner though, DeathSpank is easily worth the money, and worth a look. Just get your crazy ready.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Electronic Arts

Developer:

Hothead Games

Players:

1-2

Online:

None

Release:

2010-07-13

Trophies:

12

Review summary

Gameplay:

Entertaining missions, if slightly repetitive

Graphics:

A beautiful, colourful world to explore

Sound:

Comic voice acting and enjoyable music

Lastability:

Lots of missions, co-op play but no replay incentive

8.8

Supernova

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User comments

MeteorStorm

11:02:07, Aug 22 2010

Gotta love weapons like "The Epic Shoulders of Awesomeness" and "The Helmet of Terrible Intent

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The Joker

Ding d-ding, dong! Joker here! Here's what's new in the asylum... Some idiot is running around the asylum, dressed like a bat...! I know! Crazy! He should be considered costumed and dangerous.