It’s very rare that only after a couple of months a sequel is released regardless of how good or addictive the game was. Deathspank is one of these rare games and for those who loved the original game will be in for a treat. Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue’s story continues on from its predecessor where *spoiler* you defeat who you think is your arch enemy, but it turns out there’s more enemies than first thought. Don’t worry though, if you haven’t played the first Deathspank game, you’ll be treated with plenty of tutorials as and when required.
So that’s how the journey begins. You play as Deathspank, a hero who just loves helping people even if it means doing some meaningless tasks over and over again. In typical RPG fashion you’ll find yourself thrown into a world where completing quests are the dish of the day. That means plenty of A to B trips, dropping of packages and collecting items for our allies. It’s not all bad though as on your way there’s plenty of button bashing combat, loot collecting to buy things and more importantly comedy lines that seriously make you laugh out loud. I’ve yet to decide whether it’s because of its childish nature or comic genius, but I’ll let you decide that for yourself.
Played out in a seamless world, your mission as Deathspank is to help every soul in every part of the village. You’ll be travelling through World War II settings helping different army’s, destroying watch towers and defeating enemy foes. The game’s surroundings change a lot throughout your adventure; from the World War II area you’ll also move into scenarios where robots are the flavour of the day. With new surroundings brings a host of new weapons too. Deathspank works on a four button combat system where each button (Y, X, B, A) controls a different function that is player assignable. You can use these slots for anything found in the game, ranging from machine guns and pistols to Nachos and health potions, it’s really cool. You don’t have to worry about the limited number of slots as you can store plenty of weapons in the start menu, giving plenty of scope to chop and change as and when required.
Like many RPGs out there stats play a vital part of the game. This can be from wearing different armour to unlocking different power cards which can change different aspects of your game i.e. +5 to your walking pace or +5 to your health. However unlike other RPG games, I personally didn’t think the stats affected too much on the game play. I either seemed to die a lot at a certain area or pass through easily no matter what armour I had decided to sport. In fact some parts I died so much it actually had the cheek to ask me whether or not I wanted to drop the difficulty of the game. I did of course accept the offer.
I personally got frustrated at some of the quests in the game as I just didn’t know what to do. The tips section wasn’t helping and I ended up walking around like a tourist lost in London. That’s all part and parcel with any RPG game though so it was and is to be expected. The feeling of relief after finally completing the said frustrating quest is however priceless.
What isn’t priceless is the poor co-op situation which looks to have carried over its problems from the previous title. There is now a new character which could possibly be the most obscure yet hilarious video game character around. I’m talking about Steve!, a guy who was raised by ninjas and rides around on a miniature unicorn shouting steeeeeeeve! when holding the left bumper. Bizarre yet hilarious. The problems are still apparent though as there’s still only a single health bar between players and player two can’t use any loot that has been collected. It’s also disappointing that this co-op mode is offline only.
When a sequel releases it’s almost always expected that the visuals and audio will improve. But sometimes the “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” rule applies and Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue falls directly into that category. Graphically the game is identical to that of the first game. The mixture of 2D fixtures with 3D mapping looks really good and doesn’t really require any change. In fact so much of the game is the same as the first game it really just feels like it should have been included in the first game rather than a brand new download for 1200MS Points. The audio is exactly the same too. But why change it when it just works? Character voices are excellent and although Deathspanks voice can get a little monotonous, what he actually says is still funny.
In summary, Deathspank 2 is more like Deathspank 1.2. Not because it lacks quality but more because it’s basically the same game just a slightly different story. The quests and generally the overall feel of the gives the impression you’re still playing Deathspank 1. Fans of the original will be right at home and any RPG fans that haven’t played the first fear not as Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue could be the perfect fit for you.