DeathSpank is back. Again. For a second time. And in the all new title The Baconing. Quirky humor, action-RPG gameplay, and a distinctive art style help to make this downloadable series one worth playing. Here’s what I thought of the game’s first few hours.
So who is DeathSpank, you’re asking? Well, you pathetic human, DeathSpank is only the greatest super this side of all heroes (or so he thinks). He routinely quests for items of epic epicness, such as the Thong of Virtue which gamers could adventure for in the previous title in the series. DeathSpank also runs into a bevy of orphans during his quests, all of whom he despises with a certain passion (poor little guys). Anyhoozle, in The Baconing, DeathSpank is fresh off the case of claiming each Thong of Virtue when a new evil rises from the darkness. As one of the townspeople put it, since DeathSpank wore all five of the Thongs of Virtue at once, he created a dark version of himself from all the awesome power that was released. Known as the AntiSpank, this new evil is ravaging the land and it is up to the one and only DeathSpank to save the day!
There are some great things going on in the DeathSpank series of games, and that is why I’ve enjoyed them all so much this past year. First things first is the action. Yeah, it’s mindless hack-and-slash (Think Diablo II), but it’s fun and rewarding. DeathSpank can equip up to 4 weapons at once, and unleashing their ridiculous powers on powerful foes is cool. The game rewards you with extra damage if you mix up attacks, so attacking with one weapon then another in succession is the way you should really play. Following foot in the Diablo II vein again is the loot system. Enemies and barrels frequently drop loot such as money, grenades, potions, better weapons, and snazzier armor. You’ll be constantly getting new shit and upgrading DeathSpank. DeathSpank himself will actually display all these weapons and armor you have equipped, so he will constantly be changing his look. It’s all pretty easy to pull off, but it’s a strong enough driving force to keep you playing (though it’s nothing revolutionary).
Tongue-in-cheek humor is laid on thick in The Baconing, which fans of the series will definitely be used too. DeathSpank is an arrogant airhead, oftentimes not seeing the direness of certain situations or taking things too seriously. You’ll run into a fair share of orphans throughout the game, which really makes me wonder where all the parents are… There’s other RPG cliches as well, including invading alien races, robotic orcs known as cyborques, and quest lines that have you destroying the five Thongs of Virtue in the great fires (akin to Frodo and Sam destroying the One Ring in Lord of the Rings). Being a big player of any and all RPGs, I found these humorous situations to be an awesome poke at RPGs and their oft-crazy plots. The story itself isn’t super serious, but the laid back approach makes things feel less tense while not sacrificing player engagement in the storyline.
While I like The Baconing right off the bat more than Thongs of Virtue, the game doesn’t come without it’s faults. Mainly there’s nothing new here. For a third game in the series, I would have liked to see some additions to the gameplay formula. Possible online multiplayer? Maybe something like mounts or things to ride (which could come later in the game, I haven’t gotten through it all yet). Perhaps a totally different approach to the game would work well too: Turn-based RPG? Strategy RPG? Sheer adventure game and no RPG? I don’t know, they’re just ideas I’m throwing out there. Bottom line, though, is that The Baconing and really the entire DeathSpank trilogy is a fantastic game to download and enjoy. As an RPG lover, I can’t recommend the game more, and as someone who enjoys a lighter side to gaming, I say you could do a lot worse than DeathSpank and The Baconing.