High Moon Studios' Deadpool is the kind of game that simultaneously generates excitement and worry. On one hand, Deadpool is a fan-favorite in the Marvel canon, his meta, self-aware humor and ultra-violence seeming like it would make a perfect fit for gaming. On top of that, developer High Moon Studios have proven their chops for developing licensed properties with Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. On the other hand, since its announcement last summer, there's been surprisingly little coverage of Deadpool, and its upcoming release so short after Fall of Cybertron's release is also a cause for trepidation. So please forgive me for approaching Deadpool with a healthy amount of skepticism.
Thankfully, I can say that Deadpool is not only a faithful adaptation of the comic, but an incredible amount of fun.
The floor demo starts with Deadpool lounging in his apartment, waiting on a phone call from High Moon Studios (the meta stuff starts right off the bat) to accept his video game idea proposal. High Moon rings and rejects him, but change their minds after some “explosive” persuasion from Deadpool, after which he starts the “game”.
After the intro cutscene, we’re dumped into the first level: a sewer. “Ah, a sewer level,” Deadpool notes to himself. Deadpool takes note as various HUD elements like health bars and currency amount pop up on the screen, and takes offense to the tutorial messages for telling him what to do.
It’s worth noting that the game is really, really funny. I laughed out loud multiple times while I played the demo. It’s apparent that the people behind the game hold love and affinity for the character, so I’m not worried about the authenticity of this adaptation in the slightest. Nolan North’s performance as Deadpool (reprising his role from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions) is top-notch, capturing the insanity and schizophrenic nature of the character. Deadpool’s trademark back-and-forth banter between his inner-monologues carries over from the comics, and you can tell that North is having a blast playing around with all the voices.
Combat is fluid and responsive. Deadpool uses his signature twin katanas for dispatching enemies, with your standard mix of light and heavy attacks. What really sets apart the combat, however, is Deadpool’s teleport move. Functionally, it works the same way as dodging in games like God of War or Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, but rather than dodge around your enemies, Deadpool’s teleport allows you to dodge through your enemies, giving a huge range of motion rarely seen in this genre.
Deadpool’s arsenal also includes his twin handguns, which can be brought up at anytime with the press of the left-trigger button. I mainly used it mow down enemies from afar before they closed in, but it remains to be seen if they’ll play a greater role later in the game.
High Moon Studios proved with Transformers that they can make great licensed games that capture what the property is all about. Deadpool is no different. Deadpool’s relatively short time between announcement and release (coming June 25 for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC) initially concerned me, but after playing the demo, I could not be more ecstatic.