In my original review of the first Deathspank title, I felt the game was fun, if it a bit easy and that the jokes wore thin before the game was actually done. Now the sequel is out and I hesitated to purchase it because I didn’t really think anything was left that could be done with the one-joke game. Was I wrong, or is this worth another fifteen bucks of your hard earned money?
1. I’m not really a fan of the fact that Thongs of Virtue has come out only two months after the first game. Especially since the development team has said this was done at the same time as the original game. Why didn’t they put the two together and sell them as one game? Two simple reasons. The first is this gets more money out of you and the second is that if you played them both back to back, you’d see how the quickly the game would go from funny to tiresome.
2. I really don’t like that you start back over at level one in Thongs of Virtue. Again, if this was developed concurrently, why not just have the game keep your old levels or let you import your save data from the original. This just reeks of lazy and/or sloppy to me.
3. I’m still rather happy with the quality of the voice acting in this game, just as I was with the original. The voice acting really brings a lot of life to the game and enhances the humour, especially in areas where it would fall flat without inflections and tones of voice.
4. There are two different endings to the game, which is another big plus. The original games ending annoyed the hell out of me in the same way the original Soul Reaver‘s did, so this kind of makes up for it.
5. I don’t like that you had to buy Thongs of Virtue within the first week of the game being available in order to get access to extra content and another co-op character. At the same time it is nice to see the equivalent of preorder bonuses come to downloadable games. I don’t know why this rubs me the wrong way but Atlus giving away a free copy of Yggdra Nation with the purchase of Knights in the Nightmare doesn’t. Perhaps because one is just extra levels and the other is a full stand alone title.
6. Thongs of Virtue looks like, sound like and plays exactly like the original Deathspank which is both a good and a bad thing. The good is that if you loved the original (or even merely liked it as I did), you’re getting more of the same, which is a comedic and shallow Diablo clone. The bad is that you can really feel that this should have been packaged as a single title instead of spread out to make money off consumers.
7. I’m not a fan of the inclusion of modern weapons like guns when the first game was a fantasy title. The switchover is a bit nonsensical and jarring, but what the hell, this is a comedy so I’ll let it slide. Still, even surreal existentialism or the Three Stooges had a bit of continuity and logic to their proceedings.
8. Ugh. I have to admit the same horrible bug in the first game is back and it’s just as annoying as before. Enemies only have a certain amount of space they can run around in or chase you through. If you go past this invisible line, the enemy will retreat AND get all its health back. This is a horrible design flaw, especially since it doesn’t happen to you.
9. With all the emphasis on distance weapons in this sequel, it would have been great if you could run, aim and shoot all at once. Strafing is your friend. Instead if you try and retreat and shoot at the same time, you end up shooting towards the bottom of your screen instead of at your opponent. Meanwhile the computer controlled characters do not suffer from this problem. Another design flaw in what is otherwise a fun but repetitive hack and slash title.
10. So is it worth your fifteen bucks? Well, it’s more of the same. If you really loved the first one, you’ll probably enjoy this one too. It’s not as funny and it’s just more of the same, so a lot of the charm IS lost in the sequel, but it’s nice to have an decent budget action RPG to play through if you don’t have the time to slog through a full 40 hour title. I say play the demo and if you like what you see, download the thing. At the end of the day I didn’t really need a mostly carbon copy of the original and would rather play Cladun: This is an RPG! as I found it to be funnier, deeper and better in all respects save graphics and voice acting (Since there isn’t any). It’s also only five bucks more and a full length game to boot.