Staffed by some of the most talented developers in the videogame industry, Hothead Games has developed hilarious games such as Precipice of Darkness and the DeathSpank series. The last in the trilogy, will The Baconing make you laugh your ass off, or does the game simply feel like a bad spanking?
The story picks up right where Thongs of Virtue left off, so anyone who wants to avoid spoilers should skip this paragraph. Thongs of Virtue ended with Deathspank acquiring the five extra thongs of power from Lord Von Prong, the evil Santa Claus, the evil nun, and the others. Since the owners of the thongs represented the biggest threat to the kingdom, Deathspank has nothing to do now that he has defeated them. Because of this, Deathspank gets bored and decides to put on all the thongs at once. Personally, I would think the thongs would ride up, but Deathspank seems manly enough to handle it. Somehow, putting on all the thongs has created an evil version of Deathspank, called the anti-spank. Not only is the anti-spank a powerful super villain, but he has spawned in an army of mechanical monsters. To vanquish the anti spank and set the world right again, Deathspank must throw the thongs into the bacon fires to set everything right again. Yes, the game continues the Lord of the Rings allusion. Along the way, you will meet characters from old games, and new characters such as a 50’s style family of geniuses. The story is good enough to hold the player’s interest, but the real draw is the humor.
The writing is hilarious as always, with plenty of poop jokes, jokes about orphans being loveless, and so on. Sean Howard has managed to keep the jokes fresh and new, even though they still poke fun at the same absurd subject matter. The jokes also contain jabs at pop culture, such as Disneyland, The Lord of the Rings, and Las Vegas. In particular, there is Mutoe, who is a Mickey Mouse style character who has been genetically “created” from bits of meat and urges Deathspank to kill him. It doesn’t sound that funny by explaining it here, but trust me, Mutoe’s cries to end his suffering are hilarious. In short, if you enjoyed the humor of the first two games, then The Baconing will have you in stitches. If not, then the game will be very hard to get through.
Combat is exactly the same as the last two games. You have all the face buttons and the d-pad to assign weapons, potions, and items. You also have a Justice meter that will let you unleash special attacks when it is full; however, only certain weapons have special attacks and this is noted in the inventory screens. Using different weapons to build up a combo will help you fill up the Justice meter faster. Like in the previous titles, you can block for a few seconds, and if you block right as an enemy attacks, you will instantly fill up your justice meter. The Baconing adds a new mechanic where projectiles will be launched back if you block right as they hit. Players will need to utilize the block if they want to make it through the game. Just wildly swinging your weapons around will get you killed very quickly, or the very least, deplete all your health potions.
There have been some obvious tweaks to the gameplay. In the previous titles, there was a staggering amount of side quests, a player could spend hours running back and forth across the map completing dozens of side quests. In The Baconing, the side quests are under a lot more control, with a single quest being enough to give you a good boost to your level. This makes the quests feel more important and not like throwaway missions. The difficulty of the enemies also ramps up pretty quickly, so the player is encouraged to complete the side quests.
All other aspects of the game remain unchanged from Thongs of Virtue: menus are arranged in the same way, Deathspank can still use fortune cookies to get hints, the inventory screen is exactly the same, and even a few of the images for trophies are the same. Unfortunately, two player co-op is still restricted to local play.
The Baconing manages to stay as funny and engaging throughout the entire game. Essentially, it is the same game as the previous two, so if you had enough of the gameplay of the first two games, then The Baconing will feel like more level grinding. Anyone who decides to play through the game for the story will find that the quest system has been improved and there is significantly less backtracking. After putting in over 50 hours across all three games in the DeathSpank series, the games can feel a little like World of Warcraft with all the level grinding and loot gathering, but the story and humor of Hothead games is worth having to kill all those stoopid chickens.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ Good Difficulty Curve
+ Improved Quests