by Kiran Sury
reviewed on PS3
Blame it on the Genre (cntd)
Weapons are sometimes imbued with one of four attributes: nature, undeath, fire or ice, and they are supposed to be more effective on certain enemies, but I found that fire pretty much dominated anything after ice slowed it down. Still, The Baconing adds some strategy to the mix. Every so often enemy groups will contain a medic that you must take down first, terrain is quite lumpy to provide cover and timing your shield use perfectly can reflect projectiles for great effect. And let’s not forget the Weapons of Justice.
Deathspank’s Justice meter builds up as he fights, and when full, can be unleashed through specially marked weapons. This activates a special attack, such as a barrage of drills rising from the ground of a dragon carpet-bombing run. These attacks do a lot of damage and are a lot of fun and help spice up what would otherwise devolve into boredom.
Unfortunately, the biggest problem with Deathspank’s combat is its unbalanced nature. I started the game on normal difficulty, but was quickly forced to switch to easy after dying repeatedly just outside of the first area. I’ve been playing games for a while; I don’t consider myself to be a weaksauce Wii bowling champion. But the archer units in The Baconing simply DESTROY you. You can block and reflect, sure, but it’s nigh impossible to get the timing down when you are getting shot at from three different locations and have to contend with melee enemies as well. The game makes a smart move in not heavily penalizing you for dying. You just lose some money and start back at the nearest outhouse, with any enemies you killed remaining dead.
Playing co-op eased the difficulty quite a bit, while also making the game twice as fun, so I highly recommend it. A friend can drop in and out at any time, and the extra characters all have unique attacks that are sometimes cooler than anything Deathspank can do. It’s true that once I got better at blocking and using items I was able to switch back to normal, but some sections of the game seem poorly designed. Boss battles often devolved into whacking the enemy a few times and then running around the screen, waiting for the timer to run out so I could eat another food item. Note to Hothead for Deathspank 4: stick with the healing potions only.
LOL, just not OL
The Baconing, while not utterly hilarious, is definitely a humorous game. I didn’t exactly laugh out loud, but I caught myself chuckling at some of the dialogue choices and scenarios. There are specifically funny moments, like when the MutoMouse begs for death or Deathspank makes his bones as a ‘made’ leprechaun, but the humor is mostly found permeating throughout the game. The writing is funny, weapons have funny names and descriptions and the quests are ridiculous. I’ve never had to harvest tobacco so I could kill a bunch of robot prostitutes in order to ensure a husband arrived home for dinner on time before. It’s the little details, like the way Deathspank adjusts his crotch every time he leaves an outhouse teleporting station that maintain a funny vibe throughout.
The humor is helped by the high quality audio and visuals. The Baconing seems like it has high production values, with fully voice-acted audio and crisp, colorful cartoony graphics. Like the humor, it’s the little details, like footprints that stay there when you return to a location, that sell the experience.
Not for Vegans
Like all games, The Baconing was made for a certain crowd. If you have never really had a thing for games like Gauntlet, then this certainly won’t change your mind. If you enjoyed the previous Deathspank titles, then this is certainly a worthy addition. The Baconing doesn’t revolutionize the genre, nor is it amongst the best games available on the PSN. It is, however, a competent, enjoyable game, and worthy of a second look by anyone with even a passing interest.
Humor and high production values ensure fans of the series will have a good time. Excellent coop should bring newcomers into the fold.
Difficulty is uneven, boss battles uninspired, doesn’t come with free bacon.