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Published on September 1st, 2011 | by Louis Garcia, Contributor

The Baconing Review

Update: I deleted and then reinstalled The Baconing to get past where I was stuck. The area I was stuck in is where players need to use keycards found at Z.I.M.O.N.S.’s funky headquarters to lower the bridges. I was only able to get two, and try as I might, the third would not pop up in any lost-and-found chests or anywhere else. The second time through I was able to secure all three and get past that portion of the game. However, having played a handful of hours more, I still hold by my original score and review — The Baconing feels tired and offers too much of the same to keep me, a huge DeathSpank fan, interested. The writing is still funny, fun and impressive, but the gameplay is boring.

There’s something you should know about this review: I only played through 25 percent of the game. I got stuck on a quest that I swear is glitched, but I was pretty much fed up with The Baconing long before that point.

Developer: Hothead Games
Platform: Xbox 360 (Xbox LIVE Arcade) [Reviewed], PlayStation 3 (PSN)
MSRP: 1200 MSP ($15)

See, this is actually the third game in the DeathSpank series, and enough is enough.

DeathSpank is a man’s man. Not only is he manly enough to wear a thong, but he wears five. The problem with wearing five thongs (aside from how uncomfortable that would be for even the most badass heroes) is that these powerful items were never meant to be worn but on one butt. Our hero has inadvertently created the Anti-Spank, a monstrous, laser-shooting giant of death and destruction. The only way to right his wrong is to travel the land and throw the thongs into bacon fires. Yes, fires fueled by delicious pig meat.

Time for another adventure.

This kind of silliness and absurdity is nothing new in the DeathSpank series, renamed The Baconing for its third installment. The quests are weird (stick poop into some fair maiden’s fountain as an act of revenge for a princess), the characters are blown-out stereotypes (a corrupted politician from a former game), and the antics go on and on.

The only problem is that aside from the funny dialogue and overall craziness of the story and characters, the game has remained almost exactly the same for three installments. It’s become a bore and a chore.

The gameplay is the same simplistic action-RPG fare we’re all used to: all four face buttons are assigned to different weapons. There is also a block button and potions for healing, grenades for smiting, etc.

But it’s the same – and none of it was that groundbreaking in the first place. I no longer find it fun to collect loot that drops after killing hordes of enemies or bosses: it’s only going to be something better each time. Maybe if the loot drop system, gameplay and overall way quests are completed (you just talk to people, get them and hammer them out by going here and killing ‘A’, or going here and collecting ‘B’, I would have enjoyed the game enough to find out how to complete the quest I was stuck on.

The developer tries to make things interesting by giving gamers a more sci-fi setting with Cyborques and… well, that’s just about all I saw. In reality, it may be a little less fantasy fare the first game, but the environments still look colorful and too familiar.

There isn’t much else to say about the game. Nothing sticks out, and it’s just too familiar to be the third game in a series. As skilled as Hothead is at making games – and don’t get me wrong, the writing is still excellent – DeathSpank has run his course and needs something other than the power of multiple thongs to help him conquer mediocrity and stagnation.

Final truth:

If you are a gamer that absolutely loves DeathSpank, and don’t want anything different than what you’ve played in his first two outings, then you won’t be disappointed. Everyone else might just get a little too bored.

Rating: 4/10 ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

+Great writing.
+The game will make you laugh.
The same game we’ve played twice already.

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