|System: PS3, PC, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Hothead Games|
|Pub: Electronic Arts|
|Release: August 30, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Themes, Tobacco Reference|
Frankly, the biggest problem with this game is that the combat isn't very fun. Ranged weapons are useless (even though you can now charge them all for bigger blasts). Your powerful Justice special attack is your primary means of death-dealing, and every other attack just has you running around blindly and hoping you won't die. Combat is the majority of the game, and as a result there are numerous areas that either frustrate you or bore you so much you just want to put the game down. You can bring a buddy along for the ride, but it doesn't really help. In the end, it just means two people get frustrated instead of one.
Then there are the inventory and leveling systems, which haven't been changed at all from the previous DeathSpank games. Once again, leveling up just gets you a level card, and while you can choose from multiple cards each level, you'll see and unlock them all eventually anyway. The inventory is still just a massive grid of spaces that you'll have to shuffle around items in. You can sort your items, but that doesn't really help anything. You can assign a weapon to each of the four face buttons on your controller, an item to each direction on the d-pad, and a piece of equipment to each of DeathSpank's body parts. However, there is an "equip strongest armor" function, and weapon choice rarely comes down to anything else other than "equip the strongest four things you have."
Now, that's not to say the game is all bad. It looks absolutely amazing. DeathSpank will visit areas such as an idyllic town, a world straight out of The Godfather, mad science laboratories, forests of the dead, and more. The hand-drawn pop-up book style environments continue to be a visual treat; that much hasn't changed.
In addition, the voice acting is just as good as it ever was, and DeathSpank and his cohorts have impeccable comedic timing. The music is pretty generic for a fantasy action RPG, but it has an almost cartoonish twist to it. Overall, the sound quality hasn't dropped at all.
I'm not usually angry at a developer for giving us more of the same, but The Baconing somehow manages to be less of the same. It's a DeathSpank that just isn't as enjoyable as the previous DeathSpank titles. It's tedious, unfair, and just not very much fun for any reason other than its humor. Perhaps DeathSpank has worn out its welcome. I mean, there are only so many poop jokes you can hear before they stop being funny. Still, as a personal fan of DeathSpank and DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue, I was disappointed in The Baconing. Sure, it's only $15, but I expected a bit more for my money.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
CCC Contributing Writer