Posted 2 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
One of the coolest aspects to most action-RPGs is indulging greed. When playing, there is always the desire for more cash and better weapons. It might come from simply searching for that larger, more awesome weapon or from killing enough enemies that the cash they give can buy the most desirable gear. Having already seen success on consoles, HotHead Games’ DeathSpank finally makes his way onto your PC and it’s still just as enjoyable.
In DeathSpank’s world, he begins as the people’s champion - a confident hero who garners respect. However, when tasked to find an elusive item simply called The Artifact, he is ambushed, and his reputation is called into question. Now he must not only recover The Artifact but rebuild his reputation by solving everyone’s problems.
DeathSpank plays out like most action-RPGs. There will be a vast array of weapons to use in the disposal of a plethora of different foes. Each button on the controller can be mapped to for a different weapon, and the mix of available offensive gear is great. To play more of a ranged fighter, be sure to equip slots with the various projectile weapons. For those who enjoy being a tank on the battlefield, the strongest weapons will help dispose of all incoming foes without need for agility or distance.
While the weaponry in DeathSpank’s arsenal is incredible, due to the nature of the game, the combat itself can get a bit repetitive. The entire world is streamed, and there are only a few points in the game where travelling further is impossible, either because of locked gates or the levels of the enemies. Because of the open nature of the game, "accidentally" walking into an area with giant mobs can cause your character to be man-handled in a single hit. Because of that, there is more of an inclination to re-visit familiar areas time and time again to level up before venturing forward.
On top the necessity to level-grind, defeating the majority of foes requires very little strategy at all. More often than not, attacks can be initiated with a ranged weapon and will do enough damage that by the time the enemy gets within melee range, a single swipe of a sword or one more arrow will take them out. While it doesn’t work in all situations, it is effective enough that it will become a common strategic method.
Another issue in the game’s combat stems the need for health regeneration. DeathSpank can only carry a maximum of five of any one potion, and death is quick and eminent when they run out. The only possible alternative to a potion’s life-giving effects is eating. The variety and selection of food throughout the world is great, but while in combat, DeathSpank is required to do nothing but eat in order to stay alive. Because of that, potionless situations will often result in running around and avoid being hit in order to finish eating. If you get hit or try to attack, this interrupts the meal, thus wasting any potential HP you would have regained.
Even with the combat and control issues, the missions, both main and side-quests, offer a lot of variety and enjoyment. There will be all sorts of things to do - from escorting and collecting to killing foes and destroying objects. Thankfully, there are so many missions available that it is easy to lose track of the time.
The key difference between the PC edition and the consoles is whether or not you decide to play the game with your mouse and keyboard over any regular USB controller. The WASD and mouse set-up is like you’d expect with any PC game, you’ll control DeathSpank with the keyboard and your attacks are done by clicking the mouse buttons. The only change when using the mouse over a gamepad is that the mouse can only have two weapons keyed to it. To change the other two weapons, you’ll have to hit the Tab button. This isn’t too bad, but when the Justice meter fills up faster by using different weapons, you may find the combination of trying to move quickly, hitting Tab and attacking to be a bit hard at first. Once you get the hang of it though, it feels exactly as you’d expect.
Surprisingly, I found that DeathSpank PC also brings the co-op component over from its console brother. It is still restricted to local only, but if you have someone close by and a controller you can spare, they can take control of your magician friend (Sparkles) and assist you along the way.
DeathSpank has a very interesting brand of humour. Furthermore, the voice-acting from all characters, both major and minor, is extremely top notch with fantastic delivery in every situation. There is a lot of written dialogue, allowing for the ability to get lost in conversations hoping to hear more between DeathSpank and the others.
As stated earlier, this world is completely seamless, with no loading outside of the periods after dying or when using an outhouse to teleport to different parts of the map (yes, I said an outhouse). The lack of loading is well done thanks in part of the fantastic locales of the world. Your character can go from walking in a nice and lush green forest area, only to stumble into a haunted region that is dark and gloomy. The use of color in every section is incredible, as every location has plenty of foliage and other objects in the environment to help create distinct atmosphere. On top of the lush environments, the enemies are always a nicely varied, good mix of foes both big and small to encounter. The standouts definitely have to be the various boss characters; each one is done really well and look intimidating as they are faced more than once.
I was already a huge fan of the DeathSpank when it launched last summer but was a little lukewarm over the quick release of the follow-up, Thongs of Virtue. Again, my love for the first game still exists with the PC version, although I do wish HotHead did a bundle and released both at a discount. While that isn’t the case, I still can’t fault this version and strongly recommend it to any PC owner looking for a fun hack-and-slash adventure.
+ Great dialog
+ Excellent weapons
+ Huge world with lots to discover
+ Tons of side-quests
- The method of regaining health isn’t the best
- Those unfamiliar with keyboard and mouse controls may want to use a controller instead
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Release Date : 2010/10/26
System : PC
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : HotHead Games
Category : Action-RPG
ESRB : T
7.0 / 10
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8.7 / 10