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Monday, July 26, 2010

Darkmatters Review: DeathSpank

DeathSpank PS3 (download from PSN)

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Developer: Hothead Games

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

For uncounted years gamers have waited for the one known as ‘the wanderer’ - the Dispenser of Justice, the Vanquisher of Evil, and all round Hero to the Downtrodden.

Now he has arrived and his name is, erm, ‘DeathSpank’!?

DeathSpank is an action adventure game like no other, for a start you can grab it for under a tenner and download it in about 10 mins. Once installed on your hard drive DeathSpank has the power to take over your life and suck you in to a quest for a powerful artifact called... ‘The Artifact’. This item was forged by unknown hands for unknown purposes at some unknown time in the past, but be that as it may, The Artifact is now potentially within DeathSpank’s reach, but just what is The Artifact? And who is that shady tyrant who also seeks it?

So far, so generic for a role playing game plot but DeathSpank is blessed with killer sharp writing from the mind of Ron ‘Monkey Island’ Gilbert coupled with a madcap script that kicks all kind of butt.
Basically DeathSpank is a brutal blast of hack-n-slash fun from start to finish. Cute, crisp cartoon graphics depict the bloodshed that Itchy and Scratchy would be proud of. Multiple weapons (each mapped to one of the controller’s buttons) that range from swords, axes, bats, crossbows and giant punching gloves – most of which come with their own flavour filled twists e.g. spinning swords that can take on multiple enemies, hammers that can stun foes etc…

The game is designed with pick up and play in mind, you can co-op with a friend which is very satisfying – and lends a nice element of strategy and tactics. The combat is brilliant – just as good as the recent Demon’s Souls which itself raised the bar, except DeathSpank does it without the hair-tearingly imposing difficulty level.

"I am DeathSpank... wearer of the purple thong of justice!"

Everything about DeathSpank is well crafted. Levelling up sees you pick a ‘skill card’ from a deck that offers increased speed, higher damage – melee or ranged, better cash hauls from fallen foes… The choice is yours and it feels great. The gameplay just keeps on giving, be it getting ‘felt’ by a merchant or shooting hundreds of chickens (to eat their drumsticks as a health perk and get the ‘Slayer of Chickens’ Trophy). If you’ve ever enjoyed adventuring on any level. you’ll laugh, you’ll whoop and you’ll realise that DeathSpank was a great investment.

DeathSpank is a super addictive game that stand tall in the shadow of the masterful Diablo – hacking evil in all sorts of shapes and sizes to death, levelling up and looting treasure hasn’t been this much fun for a long time! Highly recommended!!

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 satisfying PS3 spanks out of 10)

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