Deathspank TOV: Naughty Fun for Adult RPG-ers
By pprincess

Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue

by pprincess

Introduction: I'm a big fan of Cartoon Violence/Humor games, and this RPG fit the bill for me. Deathspank ToV by Hothead is a sequel to the original Deathspank game, and both games are available for PC, Mac, Xbox and PS 3. The game is an RPG spoof, rated Teen for Comic Violence, Crude Humor, Blood, mild language and mild sexual themes. Deathspank is actually an action-adventure RPG taking place in a fantasy world. The look of the game is a combination 2-D animated cartoon, but it's free-roam, about 270 degree camera perspective. I played the PS 3 download version.

Story and Characters: Deathspank is a comic super hero who personally administers Justice wherever needed, helping just about anyone "downtrodden." The game world is immersed in a war against Orques (ogre-type critters), but hard to say at times whether the Orques are more dangerous than a chicken or a skeleton or any other critter in the game. Deathspank is on a mission to retrieve Thongs of Virtue, which are pieces of underwear that convey power and virtues such as Compassion, Generosity and Cuisine. Thongs have created problems in the world such as "wedging," and the tendency to corrupt virtue in the wearer. Along with helping the war effort against the Orques, Deathspank is on a search for all the remaining thongs in the world aside from the one he wears, which he acquired in the first game. He takes orders from a mysterious character named Sandy. There is no in-game team, he plays alone.

Gameplay: primarily melee and ranged damage with weapons such as swords, axes, jackhammers, spades, bazookas, melee magic rods, guns, as well as various elemental grenades, orbs and elemental weapons. There are 41 inventory slots. You can hotkey up to 4 weapons on the X, O, Square and Triangle buttons. Combinations of weapons powered by runestones produce Deathspank's Overdrive, called "Justice." The Overdrive is triggered by filling the meter via hitting, and you must have a dual wield, usually an elemental weapon equipped with another melee weapon. The D-pad has 4 slots for Items which are needed for healing and various buffs. The game contains puzzles in places.

Leveling up gives you a choice of Hero Cards, which are various bonuses that increase throughout the game, such as 15% extra money dropped, %15 bonus melee damage, 10% ranged damage, wearing armor 2 levels higher etc.

Items and weapons and armor can be bought in town shops. There is no selling of items, you have a meat grinder in your inventory and grind up anything you don't want which converts into cash. Enemies mainly drop money, quest items, healing foods and weapons or armor, not enemy drops as such. So you don't have to deal with pages and pages of enemy drops.

Money: ridiculously easy to acquire, and part of the RPG spoof. The game is littered with smash-able barrels that respawn constantly, yielding crazy amounts of cash and healing items, all of which increase as your level goes up. You can get rich just smashing barrels as you run along, so no money grind on this game. There is little need to spend money in shops if you don't want to, because you can get healing food items from the barrels; likewise, weapons and armor drop from enemies and are found in treasure chests. The only items that are hard to acquire except by purchase are healing potions, these must be continually repurchased, rarely can they be found in the barrels or chests. Various foods produce a Regen effect, these are silly junk foods: tacos, ice cream bars, nachos, corn dogs, root beer floats, pizza, etc.

Save points are outhouses, and these become teleporting as the game goes on, making easy return trips to shops, towns, and all other game areas.

RPG Spoof: the real fun of this game lies in the references to other games and silly dialogue choices, which also often contain references to other RPGs. The game opens with a rip on FFVII's clothes/disguise scene. Voice acting is excellent for the most part and you can talk to practically everybody. Dialogue choices rarely carry a consequence so you can choose your response. An example:

NPC: We must get past the soldiers guarding the fence! What shall we do?

Deathspank: (choices)
We must have a tea party
Gratuitous violence is the key.
Extreme violence is the key.
Silicone is the key.


Banker: Help! The bank has been robbed by banditos! This is a crisis!
Deathspank: Is this a "too big to fail" crisis, or a "savings and loan" type crisis?


Deathspank: Hello again, damsel in distress. I can see you need help again.
Damsel: Oh Deathspank, you can read me like a book!
Deathspank: I usually wait for the movie.
Damsel: The Blue Banditos stole my Feminine Products and I must have them back!
Deathspank: I'm on it!...wait...what?? Feminine Products?
Deathspank: Fine...but don't let any other super heroes know about this.

I love the humor in this game, and it's non-stop chuckle stuff. No conversational opportunity is lost for a joke moment. Voice acting is excellent for the most part, and you'll hear a variety of dialects: American southern, western, and East Coast wasp; English-UK dialects, and Irish to name a few.

Game areas: range from dark forests, farming fields, catacombs, jungles, oceans (you get to have a sailing ship), caves, mountain passes, deserts, churches, Spanish villages, outlaw posts, towns, destroyed towns, battlefields, the variety is amazing. The world is completely free-roam.

Side quests: these are constant in the game and it gets difficult at times to distinguish a side quest from the main quest because you are gathering quest items that may actually be needed in some way for the main quest. NPC's often give multiple quests: you finish one and get two or three more from the same NPC. But luckily most are items that you get from fighting in areas you must go through anyway, and nothing is difficult to get. You have a quest journal that lists everything, and you can get "hints" by spending fortune cookies you acquire from smashing barrels. So if you want to find your way around without using a guide, the hints should suffice.

Enemies: the variety is a strong point in the game. You are constantly meeting new enemy types throughout the game. Along with the orques, you will see chickens, robots, jungle critters, odd bears with antlers, aliens, spiders, dinosaurs, little critters that are land mines, leprechauns, monks, nuns, bandits, pips which are actually giants, undead skeletons, ghosts, ghouls and commanders, rabbits, on and on. You won't get tired of the enemies because you are fighting different ones in every area. Few rehashed enemy models. In fact I can't think of any other game I've played with this much variety in enemies. Some will require special weapons or armor to deal with. Occasionally you will run into larger enemies several levels above you that will kill you in one hit, or that you can't damage until you level up more and get new equipment.

Trophies: most of these are for beating a boss, or for silly things like viewing costumes on a bordello lady. There is one for learning Japanese by acquiring a library book. Two are missable so worth consulting a FAQ if you want everything. The game has two endings, but you can just watch the credits and reload and do the other ending without having to repeat the game. One of the trophies in the game is for a DLC post-game dungeon that you have to buy, which is too bad. The trophy should not be in the game, but only unlocked if you have the DLC. Thus, you can't get 100% unless you buy the DLC. Originally the first copies of the game were packaged with this dungeon so that's why the trophy is there, but since then PSN and I suppose Xbox Live have resulted in a game area lopped off to create paid DLC.

Online multiplayer
: there is a multiplayer feature to the game which I have not tried, but essentially you invite a friend to play as a sidekick character. Individual leaderboards are based on numbers of kills.

Post Game: there is an extra DLC dungeon type area which you can do after beating the game, costs $2.99. Has a couple of bosses. You can finish the game at level 13, but ideally should be at least level 15 to do the post-game dungeon, and that will be hard. A friend can also join you in the post game dungeon. There is another downloadable character as well for 99 cents.

Replays: there are possibilities to make the game more challenging, such as doing low level runs, or streaker type runs with no armor. I didn't use even half the Items available in the game. A lower level game would mean taking advantage of strategies like Armor Potions to help survive, Speed Potions etc, or using Items/Orbs and ranged weapons instead of melee. Stealth potions would allow a player to control the leveling because you can stealth through areas without fighting anything if you wish. You can also skip a large portion of sidequests on subsequent runs and just focus on the ones that advance the plot. A fun idea for a run would be as a monk, once you acquire the monk robes for part of the plot, wear them for the rest of the even get the tonsure to wear!

-Humor. It's darn funny.
-Easy gameplay, mash the button for whatever weapon you want
-Free roam, lots of areas in the game
-Overdrive Justice does ridiculous damage.
-Easy money and items, killing everything as you go rather than grinding
-Few cutscenes, you are playing rather than watching.
-Lots of teleporting outhouses so you can go around the map quickly, a big help with all the sidequests.
-Unbelievable variety of weapons and items. Ray guns, pirate cutlasses, undead swords, chain saws, jackhammers, bazookas, all sorts of regular guns, spinning tomahawks, hammers, melee rods, shovels that have AoE stun, elemental weapons and damaging orbs and items, lots of ways to dish out justice. Seems like every level-up introduces new weapon types.
-No real consequence to dying, you drop cash on the ground when you die and respawn at the last activated outhouse. You can just run back to where you were, pick up your cash and the enemies you killed are still down, you retain items you acquired before you died.
-Soundtrack: Tex/Mex and cowboy western-sounding electric guitar tracks don't get annoying.

-Sidequests hard to distinguish from main quest so you have to do everything, especially on your first run.
-No elemental magic/mage as such, you deal elemental magic on weapons and with items like undead grenades, orbs or ice/fire bazookas.
-5 potion limit in your pack. More would be nice, but I guess it adds to the strategy.
-Food healing items gradually regain health and you can carry a lot of them, but you cannot get hit nor deal damage while eating. Often results in kiting enemies because you're out of potions and are trying to heal via food.
-Can't skip conversations once started.
-Auto-save feature. Each time you pass an outhouse it is activated as re-spawn/save point. The auto-save also triggers when you look at your inventory. You can't make manual saves. Most of the time this can be an advantage, such as when you beat a huge enemy and then do something stupid like hit a box of TNT. You re-spawn and can run back to where you were and everything you just did is left as it was when you died. But if you just passed an outhouse and want to reload an area, it will only load where you left off, so sometimes you cannot reset a puzzle, it will just start up where you left it. Honestly this isn't as huge a disadvantage as it seems, it was nice most of the time not to die and have to go back and redo large sections.
-Can't get 100% trophies without buying a DLC post game area.

Overall: 9/10 This is a long game. Lots of fun, laughs, easy and satisfying enemy smashing. One point off for me because the game is not terribly challenging. There is some strategy at times, but nothing deep. the game is a nice break from heavy RPGs, something fun and light to keep you entertained that you can pick up anytime and play. A gem for what you get: dozens of hours for the money and a steal at under $8. I believe that RPG veterans will enjoy this because of the references, and even though it's rated Teen, adults are more likely to understand and chuckle at the humor.

$7.99 download on US Playstation Network

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