DeathSpank: A Review

I’ve completed all of the quests as DeathSpank, hero to the downtrodden, and after an epic battle with Lord Von Prong that turned out not so epic, I’m here with one last date with Destiny… to provide a review of the game.

When we took my XBox 360s in for repairs earlier this month we visited a friend and he introduced us to a unique new video game that promised bacon in the introduction cutscene and delivered a great way to pass time while we waited.

During that first play time, I was playing the PlayStation Network downloadable version of the game. I played through the majority of DeathSpank’s quest to obtain The Artifact and made it to Level 6 in experience within the two hours or so that I explored DeathSpank’s ever-rotating world.

My wife joined in as Sparkles the Wizard in co-op play for a little while and while she seemed to enjoy it, Sparkles has a very small supporting/healing role in the game. This detracts from the two player experience, which the developers will hopefully remedy when they introduce a third player character in the first sequel.

After we got home and I discovered that DeathSpank was also available for XBox Live Arcade, it became a *must download* title. I quickly played through the quest for The Artifact, explored the town of Pluckmuckel and spent a couple of weeks playing an hour or two here or there trying to locate the eight missing orphans and trying to convince them to become a part of my constantly growing inventory screen.

DeathSpank combines the dialogue based adeveturing of games like Maniac Mansion and Secret of Monkey Island with the quick hack and slash dungeon crawling gameplay of Diablo and Torchlight and blends the two genres together extremely well. There were times when mindless violence was all I wanted to inflict and others, particularly a quest where you have to rescue a spoiled orphan from her Nanny Demon, where the dialogue and item finding took me on a rewarding comedic journey.

This was a game where the side quests were as much fun as the main game. At 10-12 hours of game play, there is no need or compulsion to rush through to finish.

I completed every quest, collected all of the weapon, armor, potion and spell upgrade and ended up with all 12 Achievements in the game. By the time I got to Lord Von Prong’s castle and collected my last two orphans, the game had already solidified the recently announced sequel “DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue” as a *must acquire on release day* game.

That’s a good thing, because the one disappointing thing I can comment on in the game is the ending. Collecting the last two orphans in front of Von Prong’s castle feels tacked on. Acquiring the Prongenator 3000 sword parts is a fun diversion, but the final boss battle is short and a bit too easy.

The end game sequence, which I’m assuming will lead directly into the sequel, doesn’t really fit the humor or style of the rest of the game at all. I understand that the second game is a more “real world” affair versus the straight fantasy of the first title, but it really felt out of place.

When I got to the final part, where the narrator grows tired in bold white text on an otherwise black screen, I was greeted with a file corruption error. For some reason, my copy of DeathSpank did not include the credits sequence.

So I pulled up YouTube and the credits felt just as tacked on as the end game sequence.

Outside of a disappointing ending, DeathSpank was a great game and I highly recommend it as a great $15 downloadable title on either PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 or on XBox Live Arcade for the XBox 360.

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