Look, Deadpool is funny. He’s …well, he’s funny. That’s why he works in a movie or comic where he is just tasked with being funny and not much else. When you start throwing in other responsibilities for him to keep above a certain quality bar, things can get a little dicey (see what I did there?).
To the video game version of Wade Wilson I point as exhibit A. High Moon Studios went full-out on making this the fourth-wall breaking sausage fest to make Germany take notice and Hugh Hefner blush from beyond the grave. From the word go, comedy is front and center as you rove DP’s apartment and interact with the saddest form of bachelorhood. The conceit, traditional to Deadpool in all forms, is that he’s talking to the studio creating his game, which weaves in and out of the planned narrative as you go. Different perspectives, art styles, characters, and more strike at your funny bone from various angles, really making it feel like making you laugh was the ultimate goal with lots and lots of positive results.
Annndddd this roller coaster now runs over the cliff when we get to the gameplay. At any difficulty, getting through any firefight is an absolute nightmare of inconsistent hitboxes, two-shot kills, multis glitching and spawning issues, and checkpoints that will leave you fuming. Hand-to-sword combat is the highlight of the combat and works well enough with a simple dodge and timing being the friendliest of friends for players. The systems are very simple and easy to exploit if you just keep changing between light and heavy attacks, but it’s fine. It could be worse.
Presenting worse: Deadpool in a firefight is like shooting a wooden arrow at Doctor Strange. Even early on, you miss having sticky cover, you miss your headshots registering consistently, you lament how quickly your health will evaporate any time you get brave; it’s a complete mess. Each and every gunfight turns into you frantically shooting at your vulnerable angels and taking quick shots at your protected ones, praying that no one spawns behind you. Heavy enemies and boss characters will knock you completely out if you let them get close because of huge swings or ranged attacks. There are some thankful counters there with bear traps and landmines but anything consistently long distance is a bloom of curdled goat cheese.
Deadpool himself can be upgraded with DP points that include extra weapons, damage, and self-love with clear favorites that should absorb your points quickly set into a cheery pause menu. The other weapon sets are useful in their own ways but the firearms almost exclusively offer close range positives since aiming beyond 10 feet feels like Civil War era odds of success. The game never asks you to switch handheld slicey pokers though, and since it’s clearly been balanced around the standard katanas, I was content to stick with those from mission one.
The cream of this crap soup comes in the form of glitches and the terribly shaky camera. Controlling your field of view always feels too sensitive on the right stick because the close geometry of the levels swings the camera away from whatever your butt’s bumped up against. Glitches are sickeningly placed, ending your ass just near the next checkpoint marker in a multitude of ways. I had to redo a stealth section over a dozen times in part because one baddie would sometimes have eyes in the back of his head while other glitches would have Deadpool fly into a rage in a no rage zone. My coup de grâce was not the end credits, mind you; I got stuck in a room where more enemies wouldn’t spawn and restarting gave no solace. Game over *slide whistle sound*.
I can smile my way through a crapload in life, but playing my way up an icy slope to get to a single chuckle is something my cheerful ass can do without. If there was ever a game to look up the funny bits on Youtube as opposed to playing through the blender of technical and gameplay issues, this foray into Deadpool’s world is it.