In no other game will you find such a variety of utter nonsense as that in DeathSpank. One moment you are provoking unicorns to poop as you’re attacked by evil gingerbread men, and the next second you could be getting “felt by Freen.” The minds behind DeathSpank have brought more than a bountiful supply of humor through outstanding writing. It is a classic hack-’n’-slash adventure that mishmashes the action with a role-playing game twist.
DeathSpank is on a quest to retrieve an artifact cleverly named “The Artifact,” which is an item of unimaginable power. Throughout the game you will receive side quests from various inhabitants of the world. Each one of the quest givers has a unique and colorful personality that can only be matched by DeathSpank’s quick wit and humor. With more than a hundred overall quests, there is no shortage of finding something to do.
The dialogue between the characters is amazingly well-written — so well in fact that you might be scratching your head thinking where does someone come up with this? For example, once you meet Freen, you will find out he sells various types of felt. Eventually, you will need to find him again to buy a certain piece. It is during this conversation he proceeds to tell you to not forget to tell all your friends that you got “felt by Freen.”
Dialogue is by far not the only part of the game that contains such absolute hilarity. While keeping the comical tone throughout, DeathSpank has made it his life’s mission to deliver justice and aid the downtrodden. Along with searching for The Artifact, you will face a variety of enemies. There are enemies that range from the simply dubbed stoopid chickens to a giant Diclops. Yes, a Cyclops with two eyes. As if it could get any weirder, the antagonist Lord Von Prong is out to end DeathSpank and retrieve the purple thong our hero currently wears.
DeathSpank has enough armor, weapons and goods to satisfy even the most hardened of treasure hunters. Weapons and armor further strengthen the over-the-top humor found in the game. The fire axe can be upgraded to fire axe 2: fire harder, and let’s not forget the amazing cleaver of cleaving. There is even a chicken cannon that fires chickens that will help you attack your enemies and a demon poop hammer that helps you beat the crap out of the demons, literally. Probably the best attribute the developers gave DeathSpank was the ability to wield any one of four weapons at any given time. This gives you the chance to try a massive amount of combinations. Overall, the weapons and armor keep you addicted to the simple-to-pick-up gameplay. The leveling system gives way to trading cards you collect to make you faster, stronger, etc.
If you are a fan of co-op, a friend can join you on your quest in the form of a wizard named Sprinkles. Sprinkles and DeathSpank share a health bar, and Sprinkles is able to heal DeathSpank when injured. Sprinkles is more of a complement to our hero than a fully customizable character, but with his cloning suicide bomber, you won’t have much time to think about it. You can only connect locally, but I think that is so you can share the hi-jinx with someone alongside you. The second player can jump in and out at anytime, which makes playing co-op a breeze.
It has been a very long time since I have played a game that has made me laugh out loud to the point I was quoting the game for weeks. I find myself quoting lines from the game to this day. One of my favorites is when DeathSpank is talking to Eubrich and Eubrich says to him that he knows 13 different kinds of ninjitsu. DeathSpank replies, “What kind of world do we live in where ninjitsu can’t solve our problems?” There are instant classics scattered all through the game that just can’t be missed. It’s apparent the writing is what really makes this game, and I can’t say it enough. I think it’s a rare occasion to find a game, especially on Xbox Live Arcade, in which this can be said. All that being stated, what is superb writing without equally talented voice acting? DeathSpank alone is one of a kind, but the entire cast of characters along with the writing really brings the world to life.
Here’s the deal, if you buy one Xbox Live Arcade game this year, make sure you don’t miss DeathSpank. For $15, you will get about 15 hours of pure entertainment. If you break that down, that’s $1 an hour to amuse yourself. How can you go wrong? Even if you are not a fan of the hack-’n’-slash/RPG games, you really can’t miss out. This game delivers on so many different levels and really ups the mark for future Xbox Live Arcade releases. I feel strongly that you will not be disappointed.