Deadpool (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gareth F 22.04.2016

Review for Deadpool on PlayStation 4

The Marvel Universe has long provided the videogame industry with a wealth of ready-made worlds, heavily steeped in lore and inhabited by a diverse selection of heroes and villains. In this instance, High Moon Studios has punched out a violent, comedic romp based on anti-hero Wade Wilson, the merc with the mouth, also known as the wise-cracking, ever so slightly psychotic, Deadpool. The game itself has a chequered history, given that it originally emerged on the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC way back in June 2013 but, due to licensing issues, was very suddenly removed from all points of sale a mere six months later, turning any physical copies of the game left out in the wild into minor collectors’ items. Flash forward to the present, and the release of a big budget Hollywood blockbuster Deadpool served to remind Activision it was sat on a dormant license and game whose time had finally arrived, which swiftly prompted ported versions for both the PS4 and Xbox One. Is it a re-issue worth checking or just a cheap cash grab?

Comic book enthusiasts always relish the opportunity to play the ‘fanboy’ card whenever the treatment of a much-loved hero (or villain) displeases them and it would be hard to find a more vocal crowd willing to vent its collective spleen over the tiniest little mismatched detail. It’s probably a good job, then, that High Moon Studios roped in Daniel Way, one of the original writers of the Deadpool comic, to pen the story, which, besides hopefully silencing some of the more pedantic fans out there, also serves to add an official stamp of approval to the proceedings. With that said, there’s no deep or meaningful story here, just a tenuous strand to enable a fairly linear path through a variety of locales while pummelling, slicing, and blasting a seemingly unending stream of bad guys. Way's contribution was more likely responsible for the snappy putdowns and ensuring the main character's schizophrenic internal dialogue was handled in a timely manner consistent with the comic books.

Those familiar with Deadpool’s shtick will no doubt be aware of his habit of breaking the fourth wall by addressing, and occasionally berating, his handler’s lack of skill in controlling his on-screen actions. It's a technique that filters down to the narrative and is regularly employed for comedic effect via a meta-story that occasionally emerges during the course of the campaign. It turns out that Deadpool always wanted to star in his own videogame and, being ever resourceful, figured the best way of going about it would be to blackmail the CEO of High Moon, who eventually concedes and ends up sending him a script for the game. So meta. There are even a few instances where the graphics will suddenly turn 8-bit, courtesy of a particularly hefty chunk of the budget being blown on a large explosion, with normal service only being resumed after a phone call to High Moon.

Screenshot for Deadpool on PlayStation 4

Mr. Sinister, a long-time enemy of the Uncanny X-Men, plays the token bad guy and appears alongside numerous other members of Professor X's mutant troupe, including Wolverine, Rogue, Psylocke, Domino, and Cable. Deadpool is primarily a beat 'em-up, yet it does attempt to inject a little variety into proceedings by including basic platforming and stealth elements. While it doesn't do anything revolutionary in any of these areas, there are occasional flashes of genius, such as the section that takes place in the out of control foot of a destroyed Sentinel that had been modified by Cable to act as a flying vehicle. The close-quarters combat is relatively simplistic and limited to two buttons that should, in theory, allow for rudimentary combos to be strung together, although in practice it’s just a good old fashioned button mashing.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course. Continued brawling slowly fills up a ‘Momentum’ meter, which, when fully charged, can be deployed to unleash one of a number of power moves that deplete a hefty chunk of health off the unfortunate recipient, while adding some much needed flair to the anti-hero’s move-set. Having a teleport button that can be used a few times before requiring a cool down can be essential for a tactical retreat but, if timed correctly when prompted, also has the added functionality of chaining together lengthy combos between different adversaries. While it lacks the fluidity of Arkham Knight, it still does exactly what it sets out to do. At times the proceedings are let down slightly by the camera angle, which for the most part is manually controlled by the right stick, but does occasionally lose track of the action when both thumbs are required for combat mashing.

Screenshot for Deadpool on PlayStation 4

Given Deadpool’s prediliction for extreme violence, it’s easy to forget that he’s also partial to shooting at people out of range of his fists when the occasion calls for it. Locking on to targets is fairly straightforward and comes in handy for ranged battles against enemies either airborne or best kept at a distance, yet it only takes getting jostled by another enemy while aiming to lose the lock.

There are also a selection of melee weapons and firearms that can be purchased and upgraded with the in-game currency (DP points) that are accumulated by either finding little stashes hidden about the world or picking them up from dispensed henchmen. Unsurprisingly, upgrading the weaponry increases the damage done, as well as adding new combos to the list, but DP points are also good for levelling up Deadpool’s attributes, enhancing his performance and abilities as progress is made. Besides his lightning fast quips and extensive range of putdowns, the main character's strength lies in his accelerated healing properties, although it's not without its limits, as absorbing too much damage results in failure. Hey, he's not immortal… That would make it too easy.

Screenshot for Deadpool on PlayStation 4

While there have been a number of last generation titles that have been lavishly upgraded visually and given the remaster treatment they deserved, these are sadly outnumbered by the quick, dirty ports, clearly thrown together on the cheap for a swift profit. Deadpool is not a particularly bad game by any stretch, but it definitely falls into the latter category. It’s fair to say that there was little-to-no-demand for this port at all and that, without a movie release to piggyback off of, it probably would have been left dead and buried.

There is actually a very strange issue at the heart of the PS4 version, as well, that causes a stutter every eight seconds while playing, which, unsurprisingly, impacts greatly on the performance and enjoyment factor. Thankfully, there is a fix as a quick Internet search reveals a solution that involves completely taking the console offline, suggesting that this might actually be a straight, unmodified port of the PC version that is attempting (and failing) to contact an online verification server every eight seconds. The fact that this issue wasn’t fixed in the testing stage is likely indicative of the amount of time spent in polishing it up for a re-release.

Screenshot for Deadpool on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Deadpool is an odd proposition. As an updated port of a last generation title it fails to take any advantage of the available increase in horsepower so, by default, fails to elevate itself above any of the other low budget re-issues currently cluttering up the marketplace. As a brawler it doesn’t compare favourably to the likes of Bayonetta or Devil May Cry, purely down to its inferior fight mechanics and lack of depth. As a cheap cash-in job to coincide with the release of a Hollywood blockbuster movie of the same name, it succeeds greatly, as it’s cheap … a cash-in … and it coincides with the release of a Hollywood blockbuster movie of the same name. As a game? Well, it’s actually pretty good fun and tosses a few interesting ideas into the mix to ensure player engagement remains constant throughout the campaign. That said, though, it still doesn’t feel like an essential purchase, so while those that specifically seek out a copy will likely enjoy what it has to offer, there’s little incentive to return for those that have already played it on one of the previous generation consoles.

Developer

High Moon Studios

Publisher

Activision

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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