DeathSpank is a wholly enjoyable action-RPG experience
- Delightful sense of humour, charming visual style, fun and fast-paced combat
- Repetitive fetch and kill quests, few issues with combat
Sometimes it feels like the current generation of games has been oversaturated with titles that take themselves too seriously. That's why a quality title like DeathSpank is such a valuable commodity: Not only is it in on the joke, but it's willing to take the punchline-accompanying prat-fall and mandatory pie to the face.
Born of a short series of Flash animations on GrumpyGamer.com, famed SCUMM adventure game designer Ron Gilbert's personal website, archetypal brawns-over-brains hero DeathSpank has never been in the business of taking himself very seriously. Cocky, dense, and strong-headed to a fault, the purple-thonged dispenser of justice would just as soon unintentionally doom the world as he would redeem it, and honestly, that's what makes him such a likable hero.
Following the unceremonious liberation of a mysterious and magical artifact - aptly named "The Artifact" -- DeathSpank plays right in to the hands of the megalomaniacal, wig-headed Lord Von Prong. Ambushed and stripped of his worth-defining armaments, our hero embarks on a world-spanning, orphan-laden journey rife with Diablo-esque hack-n-slashery and the occasional spattering of Monkey Island-ish point-n-clickery.
DeathSpank makes no effort to hide from its inspirations. Chock full of tongue-in-cheek references, jabs, and jests -- more than a few of them obviously and lovingly aimed at Blizzard's iconic dungeon crawler and, in turn, best-selling MMO -- DeathSpank's Greem-slaying, Orque-stomping core quest serves as a thoughtful send-up of a well-traversed genre of fantasy titles. Rife with riffs of various tried-and-true RPG tropes, DeathSpank's colorful cast of NPCs play host to an expansive array of comical quests, and while there's a nice variety to the increasingly oddball missions the hero is tasked with, there's unfortunately no shortage of monotonous fetch-quests.
DeathSpank does attempt to break up said monotony with a handful of inventory-based puzzles that, in classic Monkey Island fashion, range from obvious to utterly nonsensical, but it can't fully compensate for the game's tendency towards "deliver item A to location B" missions. The game does earn its "Monkey Island meets Diablo" mantle, however, with an assortment of expertly scripted and wonderfully witty dialogue trees crafted in the vein of the point-n-click classic, each fully and delightfully voice-acted to full chuckle-inducing effect.
Able to equip four weapons and four items (or eight weapons and no items, for you one-man-armies-in-waiting) to the face buttons and D-pad, DeathSpank's fast-paced combat is a user-friendly experience that lends itself well to the game's streaming cylindrical world and vast array of inventive enemies. Loot-hogs take note: DeathSpank boasts an impressive amount of on-model weapon, armour, and accessory combinations, and with the help of an (optional) preferential auto-equip and easy-to-read "best" function, sorting through the game's inventory screen is both a streamlined and surprisingly deep experience.
Battles do hit a few hitches, however, as, despite DeathSpank's level, it's generally far too easy for enemies to swarm and overpower the titular hero. DeathSpank's five-potion-per-slot carrying limit is also a bit of a burden, as, even though the hero can haul around an endless amount of health-replenishing grub, the healing effect of food is far from instant, turning many of the game's more difficult battles into a game of "slash, block, run, munch, repeat."
It's also worth noting the game's drop-in/drop-out co-op feature, which, while not incredibly deep or game-changing, does make for some enjoyable couch-based local multiplayer sessions. Sharing a life-bar with DeathSpank, doofy wizard Sparkles won't steal the screen from the titular lead, but the option to team up and complete the game with a friend is a fun and worthwhile distraction.
Even with its occasional missteps, DeathSpank is a wholly enjoyable action-RPG experience that packs a charming, and surprisingly lengthy adventure. While there are still threads of its abandoned episodic nature in the woodworks, they'll (hopefully) only serve as an excuse for Gilbert and/or Hothead to someday re-visit the outrageous armour-clad avenger. DeathSpank is simply too fun a character not to.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Acer attempts to woo Australian gamers with reveal of its new Predator range
- Nintendo Switch software update: What does 4.0.0 feature and how to install it?
- Robot House announce vacuum-bot adventure game ahead of PAX Australia
- Wargaming launches ANZ servers for World of Tanks
- VR fairytale game Luna due for Oct 17 release
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
- Apple TV 4K review
- Legion Y520 Gaming Laptop review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCJunior to Mid Level - Java/ J2EE Developer (Brisbane)Other
- CCRecords AnalystNSW
- CCManager-Process Tranformation (Black Belt)NSW
- CCBusiness Analysts - agileACT
- FTSolution Manager - SAPOther
- FTJunior Python Developer - TradingOther
- FTBusiness Project Manager - Retail Store ChainOther
- FTIT Support & System AdministratorNSW
- FTService Desk CoordinatorOther
- FTChange Manager, Business RelocationsOther
- CCPortfolio Manager - GovernanceVIC
- FTJava Software Engineers wanted (Melbourne CBD location)VIC
- FTSenior Business Analyst - Banking and FinanceOther
- TPTechnical Project CoordinatorVIC
- TPSystems EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Change ManagerOther
- CC.Net DeveloperNSW
- CCDigital Reporting AnalystNSW
- FTCustomer & Sales Support Associate - TelecommunicationsOther
- CCWorkforce Capacity Analyst - Contract with Large Telco in Pennant HillsNSW
- FTAutomation TesterQLD
- TPDigital StategistACT
- FTSenior Project Controls Officer / CoordinatorOther
- FTApplication Support Team Lead l Experience with health applicationsNSW
- PTDirector Programme Management OfficeSA