It’s been some time since we last saw DeathSpank on one of his crazy adventures full of thongs and swords but after well-deserved holiday since saving the world, he’s back again in The Baconing. Strangely, this time around DeathSpank has been taken out of the game’s title but considering it includes one the greatest foods ever, this can be excused.
So, DeathSpank has saved the world for a second time and is enjoying the rewards that come with it while sitting on his throne in Spanktopia. Although this is great news for the citizens of the world, DeathSpank is suffering from boredom so decides to put on all the thongs he has collected to try and entertain himself. Without knowing it, DeathSpank has now spawned an AntiSpank that threatens to destroy the world with the help of the Orcs, so he must go a quest to burn all the thongs in the bacon fires and defeat his evil doppelganger – just a typical day for the hero of the downtrodden then!
The real shame about The Baconing is the main changes that have been made to the game have all been combat based. To try and make the combat a bit more involved a few new abilities were added to the game such as a shield bash that would push all the enemies around you away for a second or two, the ability to deflect arrows or magic with a precise hit of the block button and charging a ranged skill now means DeathSpank is forced to stand still. The only real useful one out of these is the shield bash that does buy you some time when you are surrounded by enemies, which can happen a lot, but the deflection is a bit redundant as attacking with your swords, maces and spears is quicker and regular ranged attacks still hurt enough to allow you to kill on the move. One can appreciate the changes that were made to The Baconing’s combat but they don’t really change much and if anything cause more deaths as you try and practice the art of deflection.
Stepping away from the combat and the brilliance that is the humour is all still there and funnier than ever. On your travels you will come across countless faces you have seen before and many fresh ones that create an interesting world and a lot of laughs. The world can feel rather linear at times but in a game such as this that’s no bad thing. When you receive a quest to go kill a cow or create a clone for some hillbilly farmer, the last thing you want to do is wonder where in the world you are meant to go. That’s why having most of the quest objectives close to the quest giver means you won’t spend half an hour wandering around aimlessly and can get on with the story. Aside from the main narrative there are a few activities you can do on the side, such as an arena where you have twenty rounds of killing increasingly tougher monsters and get rewarded with a couple of rare items but they aren’t necessary and can be skipped.
The artwork is almost identical to the previous two games, just with some graphical improvements here and there. The world has been populated by a large number of new enemies which have been beautifully crafted, full of detail and each have a unique way of trying to kill you. The voice acting is superb and at times will have you in stitches. In fact, The Baconing’s shortcomings in the combat system can be overlooked as the humour and voice acting more than make up for it. There is also the chance to play the game in local co-op, just like the previous games, except this time your partner is Bob from Marketing, a hammerhead shark sporting a business suit. Speaking of suits, there is a large collection of different armour sets in The Baconing such as a Robocop outfit and the funk Tron gear but as you upgrade there is no way to keep a hold of them as your inventory is very limited – sad times.
For fans of the DeathSpank games, The Baconing will be 1200 Microsoft points well spent and continues on exactly where the second game left off but this doesn’t mean new players will have to play the previous games to understand what’s going on. If you like your bacon and thongs sprinkled with some fantastic humour, then look no further than The Baconing!