DeathSpank

Orques, Orphans and Objectives - DeathSpank's got it all.

Get in the bag, future criminal.
Author: Guy Kelly
Published: July 30, 2010
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Earlier in the year I lamented that there was not enough humour in games. It seemed that spectacle had replaced wit and comedy was no longer cool.

Fortunately, things seem set to change: games like Monkey Island and Sam and Max are filling the PSN and helping make the world a better place. The horrible memory of Matt Hazard dragging his greasy hands over my face is gradually starting to fade and I’ve promised myself to never be fooled by the likes of him again.

As a result of my earth-shatteringly bad experience with Blood Bath and Beyond (here) I was all geared up to hate DeathSpank with a fiery passion. The trailers hinted towards that strange blend of humour that manages to try too hard but simultaneously aims too low, whilst the gameplay looked in danger of falling into the awful trap of spoofing terrible games by playing like a terrible game.

Within five minutes of booting up the game all of my fears had vanished: DeathSpank is very, very funny.

Imagine The Tick given a helmet and sent out to batter increasingly ridiculous enemies and you’re most of the way to having an understanding of what DeathSpank is about. It’s a loot-based, directly-controlled Diablo-‘em-up starring a character whose incredible heroism is only dwarfed by his breathtaking stupidity.

The best thing is it’s really good fun.

Starting the game with a boot on a stick and a sword on a log (or, as the game asks, is it a log on a sword?) you’re turned out on a series of increasingly peculiar quests and side-quests to clobber your way through waves of imaginative enemies, all the while gathering the sort of overtly hokey weaponry that would make poor old Garry Gygax spin in his +15 Grave of Burial.

At its heart, the game is your standard fetch-questing horde-slaughtering fare, with tasks generally being of the ‘Kill X to get Y’ variety. Thankfully, the game manages to not fall into the trap mentioned above of having horrible gameplay in an ‘ironic’ way. The enemies are so imaginative and the loot so free-flowing that, for example, killing seven Giant Turtles in order to harvest their gonads doesn’t feel like a chore.

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