The Baconing is the third in the DeathSpank Series but this time is published and developed by Hothead Games whereas the previous two were published by EA.The Baconing begins at some point after Thongs of Virtue with an opening cutscene narrated by DeathSpank but it lacks the narration that the previous games had and it feels a little hollow by comparison. DeathSpank has foolishly worn all of the Thongs of Virtue at the same time and as such has created a being of pure evil named the Anti-Spank.
You begin the game in a destroyed Spanktopia which has just been besieged by the Anti-Spank and hordes of Cyborques. It all begins with blowing up a wall to your throne room upon which you take the time to introduce each and every enemy you come across to your variety of weapons. You will work your way through a variety of areas all with different themes with a post-apocalyptic wasteland being the first major area before trailing into the others.
The gameplay is mostly the same as before; you hit things with your weapons racking up combos for increased damage while occasionally shielding yourself. This time round the game puts more of an emphasis on performing the shield bash; which not only knocks enemies away and stuns them but now if timed well will reflect any projectile attack back at its firer/caster for massive damage. This does make the shield bash much more common for use during a fight as it’s basically as important as using the new and improved ranged attacks. Ranged attacks can now be charged which once the tell-tale glow shows you can unleash a more powerful ranged attack which has added properties. Some will fire multiple shots like a machine gun, others will fire a fan of arrows and much later on projectiles will explode.
Levelling up presents you with some newly designed stat cards which will have two abilities gained every 2nd level you pick that card. So now the previously reserved until last cards like movement speed also give a buff to the time it takes to consume food. Some of the bonus’ seem too be a little too little like the consume speed but others have welcome additions such as health will also increase damage resistance. Co-op characters also get some love on the levelling cards as they will do more damage and also give a health increase.
Some new weapons of justice have appeared which when used when the justice meter is filled will unleash a powerful attack. These include an airstrike, a drill which unleashes an area of drills rising from the ground beneath whatever you have targeted and a lightning gun which replaces the wands from the previous games. There is also a new co-op character Bob from Marketing to play around with, who is a man in a suit with a shark head that works in marketing. He can also shoot laser beams from his eyes and eat corpses to regain health.
The environments are still a treat to look at with the different themes giving DeathSpank some interesting places to visit. Characters are generally big nosed and short like the previous ones but the quest givers are more developed as you meet some rather odd characters especially later in the game. As with the previous games sitting too far back everything turns blurry as a myriad of colours and enemies mass together and clutter the screen. Obviously this only ever becomes a problem if you sit further than about a metre and a half away and is absolutely not an issue and normal PC gamers will ever have to worry about but it is a concern for console gamers.
The soundtrack and voice acting in DeathSpank games is consistently excellent and though some voices are a little annoying this time round there are less annoyances than with previous titles. The music is also just as good as the others and it includes a rework of the original theme as well.
As with the previous DeathSpank games; the writing is its strongest point as it unravels humours jokes and witty dialogue throughout the adventure. Though it is just as funny as its predecessors there seems to be a little bit of a lack in dialogue to find and work your way through as many conversations lead to the same outcome and don’t have as many options as you’d expect. Unfortunately with DeathSpank being the only narrator it lacks the same power in the cutscenes that Sandy’s voice used to provide.
Presentation and Audio
Two of the DeathSpank games three best qualities, the presentation is always a strong point as it takes both concepts and pre-established elements from the series and thrusts it into new takes. The scenery is beautiful and characters all have a certain visual charm. Voices in DeathSpank always range in quality but this one tends towards the higher end of the scale but as always Michael Dobson steals the show as DeathSpank.
Gameplay is much the same but brings in a few changes for the better. Ranged weapons are much more useful, if not a little too useful. Fighting is a little more tactical when it comes to facing ranged combatants and introduces some new weapons of justice. Unfortunately the final boss is considerably lacklustre compared to some of the fights experienced across the three DeathSpank games.
The games aren’t considerably long to start with but although this game lasts about as long as the previous games but felt like it was much shorter mainly because of the way everything progresses so rapidly.
The game improves in some areas but on the whole feels like there’s less content to work your way through. Whether that’s because of the linear paths with less deviation on them or the way everything seems to progress so quickly it just feels more empty than the previous games. That’s not to say that the game is worse it is still a DeathSpank game and sits between the previous games in terms of how enjoyable it is and any fan will pick this up in a heartbeat for the same reasons they picked up the previous two. Hopefully the game will improve with the DLC which seems to be promised.
For me this did feel a little empty in comparison to the previous games, I almost always had the full set of the newest armour before I even put on the last pair. Characters in the game seemed like they had a lot less to say overall but I did find that was said in the game to be genuinely funnier at times. There were more times that I laughed at jokes and dialogue in the one than the previous two though I still think the game is probably the least funny of the three (though that could just be nostalgia talking). Though I personally prefer the first game both the Baconing and Thongs of Virtue are better and this is very much a sequel that’s worth playing now it’s time to wait for DLC.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.