Advantages Great gameplay, some humourous moments.
Disadvantages Most jokes fall flat. A little shallow.
|Value for Money|
|Difficulty & Complexity|
Certain weapon combinations can give you special abilities, although I personally never bothered and got through the game just fine. A more adventurous player will most likely enjoy discovering these conjunctions and from listening to other friends who have played it, they provide a huge damage boost if you can pull them off.Another way to get some bonus output is to vary your attacks! With each variation you add to your combo, if you reach a large enough combo you pull off a special attack which pushes back your enemy and stuns it, giving you time to get in a free blow!
Items are also an important part of DeathSpank. From fries to fried chicken, you’ll end up picking enough food to make an American proud! Different food gives you different benefits and functions much like food in World of Warcraft, in that food isn’t an instant heal, you have to remain eating and out of combat to restore your health gradually. You’ll also find potions that increase your strength, armour, speed and many more concoctions which provide a temporary buff that eventually wears of in a stated time frame. Once again, I rarely actually used potions (apart from healing potions) – they seemed a little useless to me, but again, some people will probably have great fun with them – so go wild!The main focus of the gameplay is questing, and trust me when I say, there are a plethora of quests. I’d say there are at least 300 optional quests for you to complete, each offering experience and items on completion. All of the NPC’s are voice acted and although some of the voices are a little grating and almost obviously the same voice actor (I think that’s the joke) they all provide a little humour to the game.
Many of the quests are a mixture of “Go and fetch this item for me!” and “Hey, why don’t you kill this monster?” and it unfortunately becomes a little tiresome even after the first 10 or so quests. I actually found myself actively avoiding quests by the middle of the game unless the reward was some cool items or it gave the impression that it wouldn’t be so run-of-the-mill.One quest, which stuck in my mind, is a quest given to you by a tree. This tree asks you to fetch items for it, over and over. Whether it’s the game’s way of telling you it’s self-aware or not, I’m not completely sure, but a game shouldn’t go out of its way to annoy the player. This blasted tree doesn’t ask for 5 items, no, it asks for about 10 items, all of which can be found about 50 yards away. I don’t know, it all just seems a little pointless and an example of the game putting it love with its own humour before player enjoyment. The overall humour is a little lacking in general, although some of the item descriptions are truly hilarious and a delight to read.
As you gain experience, be it from quests or killing enemies, you level up and are able to choose a ‘hero-card’. Hero-cards grant you a bonus to a particular action or stat. For example, you may get a card which increases your melee power, or one that increases your movement speed. You’ll end up picking them all up eventually, so your choices are quite irrelevant aside from making early levelling a little easier.Levelling also helps you equip armour which requires a certain level to use. On the subject of armour, there’s loads of it to pick up, so much in fact that the game implements a ‘Choose the best armour’ option which as the name suggests, picks the best armour you’ve acquired and automatically equips it on DeathSpank, a very nice feature that should ALWAYS be left on!
While your inventory is limited, you don’t need to run to the shops to sell your items to free-up space; instead you’re given a very special item called ‘The Grinder’. This item allows you to drag other items onto it and convert them into cash, a great idea!The enemies you fight vary considerably, from unicorns to huge giant molten elemental beasts! They all have their own specific levels, and abilities. Not only do you have your bog-standard monsters, but there are also boss-fights! For the most part, the bosses are just normal enemies with more health, requiring little additional effort or tactics. However, there are certain bosses (which I won’t go into) that require some added tactics which test your skills and may cause you to die, quite a bit.
When you do die, you lose 10% of your cash and teleport to the nearest outhouse. Yes you heard me correctly. The checkpoints are actually outhouses (there’s even an achievement for dying…), nothing like some toilet humour, huh? Said outhouses are spaced out fairly and you’ll never end up being sent too far back from your dying position. If you decide to return to where you died, you can pick up the money you lost, so it’s not a huge concern.And that’s really all there is to DeathSpank!
Voice acting as mentioned earlier is alright, mainly done by the same voice actor and it certainly shows, but for a downloadable game this long, with this many quests and NPC’s, it’s a great achievement for it all to be voice acted, so I have huge respect for the DeathSpank team.There is music and it serves its purpose but isn’t very catchy nor is it memorable. If I recall correctly I found the music to be a little repetitive when I stated hearing the same song over and over again.
Although the world isn’t too large, the developers have done a great job in changing up the environments you’ll find yourself exploring. You’ll go through fire caverns, haunted forests and glorious castles, all of which look gorgeous and well detailed.
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