In case you weren’t aware, The Baconing is a new XBLA game in the Deathspank series. I’m still trying to figure out what it means for the series that they dropped Deathspank from the name. He’s still the main character. At any rate, if you’ve played either of the first two Deathspank games you will find much that is familiar. If you are new to the Deathspank series, this is a standalone adventure that you can enjoy for its own merits.
The Baconing plays exactly like it’s predecessors; you equip up to four weapons and each of the face buttons controls one of the weapons. You hack and slash your way through multiple enemies picking up all sorts of loot along the way. New weapons, healing items and even armor pieces are your reward. It’s a familiar formula but one that Hothead Games do well.
The story picks up with our hero, Deathspank, sitting bored in his tower atop the futuristic city of Spanktopia that he presumably built after saving the world, again. Boredom gets the best of him as he puts on all five Thongs of Virtue at once, thus creating the villain Antispank. If you’re new, this is the sort of humor you’re in for. From there, Deathspank sets off on a quest to find the mythical Bacon Fires so he can burn the Thongs of Virtue and ultimately face off with Antispank. Antispank has destroyed Spanktopia pretty thoroughly so this game has a post-apocalyptic feel to some of the environments. As with the others in the series, this is a great looking game and a unique looking game. The color and variety of the settings and characters are outstanding for an XBLA game and the fully voiced interaction between the hero and the secondary characters are top-notch.
If you are a fan of the series and were looking for sweeping change you won’t find it here. Deathspank still receives and completes main quests and side quests. He still bashes every enemy in sight and still picks up a whole bunch of loot. Depending on who you are this could be a good or bad thing. If you were looking for a new story and eight or so more hours of Deathspanky fun, then you’ve got it.
The Baconing has no online multiplayer. It does, however, offer local 2-player co-op. Don’t expect your friends to be lining up at your door though, the second player shares a life bar with the first and doesn’t get to use any of the loot. This is the kind of co-op you lose marks for, in my eyes. Don’t put it in if nobody is going to want to play it. Make co-op online and make it fun for the other people involved.
The Baconing leans heavily on its formula. The good news is, it has a great formula that is a lot of fun. The bad news is there are no innovations or gameplay changes. The story and environments are unique enough to keep you interested, I just hope they up the ante for the next episode.
Read the expanded Review for The Baconing at The Controller Online.