« First Impressions: Dead Rising 2 | Main | First Impressions - Halo: Reach »

First Impressions - DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue (demo)

DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue
PSN Demo
Release Date: September 21, 2010 (PSN); September 22, 2010 (XBLA)
Date of Play: September 21, 2010

  • It is hard to shake the feeling that I am playing the exact same game as the first DeathSpank. The title menu is the same, the menu music is the same, and the animated intro isn’t the same but it’s close enough. The whole thing feels like a rehash. That’s not necessarily terrible, but I hope there’s something more here. 
  • I wonder if your save carries over from the first or if they have some way of explaining why the mighty hero has randomly lost all of his cool shit and gone back to square one with his abilities. I won’t be able to tell without buying the full game, which I have not yet done, but I’m curious.
  • Just as I make a comment about the game perhaps lacking new ideas, I actually begin to play and the first weapon I pick up is a gun. Hmm. Intriguing. Not sure if that’s good or bad yet.
  • Come to think of it, the gun is just a retooling of the crossbow from the last game isn’t it? Never mind.
  • Already there’s a little prick of an enemy who likes to shoot me and then run away forcing me to blast it with my gun/pea shooter. I hate enemies like that. So annoying.
  • Unsurprising revelation: just like the first game, the dialog is the best part of this demo. I just hope it’s up to the quality of the writing of the first game. So far so good, though. I’ve already had a number of laughs. 
  • Oh great. The game is already resorting to bathroom humor. This is a good sign. Yeah. 
  • From the looks of it, the hero cards you get when you gain a level are exactly the same as well. Disappointing. I was hoping they would flesh out the leveling system, maybe make it more customizable, but it appears they’ve left it totally untouched.
  • Heh. I just killed a bunch of Interrogator Chickens. DeathSpank definitely hasn’t lost that weird, wonderful sense of humor.
  • I can’t help but notice that, much like the severely underpowered crossbow of the first game, the guns, or at least the gun I have now, seems to be severely underpowered. Go figure.
  • It took me a little while to notice, but the music in this opening area is, get this, also the same as the first game. Sigh. I’m noticing a trend here. 
  • I was so hoping they would tidy up this game’s health system. You have no idea how sick I am of hearing this dude’s incessant slobbering every single gall dern time I want to get a little health back. They haven’t done a flippin’ thing to it, naturally.
  • I almost feel bad for having such a negative impression of this game. I seem to be set against enjoying this sequel and I’m not sure why. The similarities shouldn’t bother me if I liked the original, right? At least not to this degree. The change in setting probably isn’t doing it any favors, because this grey, war-torn area certainly isn’t as charming as the colorful fantasy world the first took place in (and spent so much time lampooning), but does that alone explain my negativity?
  • These flamethrower enemies are really and truly a bitch.
  • I’m not going to sugar coat it, folks. I enjoyed DeathSpank while it lasted, but it has worn out its welcome. I am not enjoying this combat anymore at all.
  • I’ve died twice against what I assume is the final boss of this demo, and the game just gave me the demeaning “you might wanna change your difficulty because you suck” prompt. Yeah, I think I might be done with DeathSpank. 
  • Apparently that wasn’t the final boss of the demo. I find myself wishing it had been.
  • Wish granted. They wanted to force me to pointlessly walk 20 feet before it was over. How nice of them.
  • Here’s the thing. DeathSpank worked for me because of its novelty. Mechanically it had problems. It was repetitive and not terribly unique. It even fell victim to some of the very genre cliches it parodied. But it was funny, entertaining, and interesting. For a time. Thongs of Virtue doesn’t have that. It’s not novel at all. It’s exactly the same and totally fails to clean up any problems from the first game or introduce anything new. It was developed in tandem with the first and given no chance to grow, expand, change, or better itself and this clearly shows from the very beginning. What I expected to be a no-brainer purchase has lost that novel magic that originally sold me on DeathSpank. It’s still worthy of a few chuckles for sure, but I no longer feel compelled to slog through the game for that reason alone.
  • At a lower price, even the by-the-numbers sequel design could have been forgiven. But for $15, the same price as the original, it feels too much like an uninspired expansion pack. 


Conclusion: In the intervening few months between the first DeathSpank and Thongs of Virtue, I appear to have completely tired of the DeathSpank formula. Without novelty to sustain it, Thongs of Virtue is uninteresting. At least I saved myself $15.

In fairness, this appears to be no worse than the first. It’s just no better either. Hopefully this stagnant sequel will find itself on sale for $10 someday and I’ll think about picking it up then. Maybe by that point I’ll be ready for more of the same again. Until then, I think I have better things to play.

Result: As much as it legitimately pains me to say this as a supporter of the first game, I’m not going to purchase Thongs of Virtue. It showed me nothing new, so I’m showing it none of my money.

First Impression: FAIL.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>