It’s been some time since we’ve last seen DeathSpank, and his thongs, but Hothead Games are almost ready to gift us with another wacky adventure with the vanquisher of evil. The latest instalment simply named, The Baconing, still includes our favourite hero but its developers are trying to step away from just focusing on him and involve the entire world and the other characters you will meet on your journey. Is this a good thing for our hero to the downtrodden?
The great thing about The Baconing is if you’ve never played a DeathSpank game in the past you can jump right in to it without feeling lost in the story or battle system because the beginning of the game brings you up to speed on everything you need to know as well as familurising yourself with the battle system. Whilst being quite extensive, it is easy to pick up. Starting with the story, it’s been a little while since DeathSpank has recovered all the Thongs of Virtue and he’s now the saviour of the world, and to be honest a little bored of the day to day life with no evil to vanquish. Being so bored, one day he decides to wear all the thongs and see what comes of it, but little did he know, if one is to wear all the thongs it creates a super evil version of the wearer who will attempt to destroy the world. Bad news for everyone who is happily living their day to day lives, but great news for DeathSpank, who is no longer bored and has a purpose again. Now, if you’re one of the ones who hasn’t played a DeathSpank game before you may be thinking this story sounds a little too strange, but trust me, it’s this funkiness that really makes the game what it is, and if you like a good laugh this will have you laughing out loud all day long.
With DeathSpank ready to go and save the world once again you are given control of the hero and can test out all of his old abilities, plus some new ones he’s picked up on his travels. Hothead Games really listened to their fans about what they wanted to see in the next game, heck, they even allowed the community to name the game, so DeathSpank now has some extra skills that fans had wanted to see in the original games. DeathSpank still has his usual hack and slash attacks (by spamming any of the attack buttons) but he’s also learnt to control his powers and defend rather well. When an enemy is about to attack you, you can simply press the block button to counter any physical attack back at your attacker and if a group of enemies are right next to you, it will push them away and give you a moment to breath. Also, if you are using a crossbow or gun you can now charge your attacks, although you are not allowed to move while you are doing this. The next upgrade is the Justice attacks, which are special abilities you can use after charging your Justice bar. These now come in a large variety and look very impressive. One that was shown off on the day was a dragon attack that when used called down the beast to breath fire over DeathSpank’s enemies.
Not only has the battle system seen a makeover but the environments have been improved to allow DeathSpank to use them to his advantage. DeathSpank can now use parts of the scenery to take cover from enemies, to plan your attack, throw grenades or even sneak past groups of enemies, if you’re good enough. Also, there are several different types of exploding barrels found throughout the world, explosive, poison, ice and magic, which all cause different types of damage and status effects to the unlucky orcs and other beasts you’ll be fighting. The entire world also has more variety in terms of different areas to explore. Unlike the previous games where the whole world was based on a specific time, such as fantasy based in the first game, The Baconing’s world has many different areas that are based off things you’ll recognise in our world. My favourite had to be The Nuclear Family Theme Park in the Forest of Tomorrow, which was based on a Disney theme park, only the lovable Mickey Mouse looks as if he has been dipped in some radioactive waste but lived to tell the tale. There are also areas modelled after Las Vegas and some retro gaming devices – but you’ll have to play the game to see what those are all about.
So, apart from what’s already been said you can expect this latest outing of DeathSpank’s to take around eight to ten hours to complete and will take place over a world that is similar in size to the first game. There are four different difficulties with insane being the toughest and worthy of a shiny achievement and will contain four major boss battles. Quests have been fine-tuned so you shouldn’t find yourself looking under every rock to solve a problem if, like me, you don’t like using the in-game hint system. Oh, and did I not mention the new multiplayer sidekick? Well he’s called Bob from Marketing and is a shark in a business suit that shoots lasers from his eyes. If that’s now enough to make you buy this one I don’t know what is.
The Baconing is due out at the end of August on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.