The Baconing Preview
It’s one of those new downloadable franchises that’s all about slam-bang fun and relatively mindless entertainment. …and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The new entry in the DeathSpank series is called The Baconing, and at the start, a very bored hero finds no enemies left to “spank.” So, because he has nothing better to do, he dons the six thongs of virtue. When he does so, however, he summons his evil alter ego – the Anti-Spank – who has an army of baddies at his side. In order to stop the onslaught, our hero must find the five fires of bacon and burn a thong in each flame. This way, the Anti-Spank becomes vulnerable.
What, you think I made that up? It’s true. It’s wacky and zany and loopy and that’s why I love it. The other part I like is that developer Hothead Games has listened to gamer feedback and critique and as a result, The Baconing will boast several new upgrades and tweaks, all of which should make for a better action product. For instance, they found out that players weren’t big fans of boring fetch quests; they want quests of substance; quests that actually mean something. So the missions in this new entry feel like they have some meaning. Furthermore, combat has been altered a bit; you can now use a shield to smack oncoming enemies, which will temporarily stun them. The shield can also be used to send arrows back from whence they came.
You’ll collect new weapons as you go, and each has a distinct personality. There are various special attacks that hit a large area, and each weapon has a unique charge-up attack, too. As for atmosphere, this has always been one of the more appealing elements of these games, and Hothead is going with a sci-fi feel for their new project. As you play, you’ll see and hear coy references to Star Wars, The Jetsons, and even Robocop. There will be a total of 7 environments but this leads us to another issue gamers mentioned: in the first two games, one could sort of get lost and wander around with no direction. Therefore, this new game will be a bit more linear.
We can also expect better enemy AI and if your foes are proving troublesome, you’ll actually be able to utilize the background to your benefit. This means taking cover behind various obstacles and shooting explosive barrels when they’re available. If you finish up the adventure, you can always go back through it with a friend (co-op play returns); one of you will play as Bob from marketing. …he’s probably more intimidating than he sounds. The Baconing should be one of the better downloadable experiences of the year; I really like the style and charm. Expect to see the game this fall, when it releases for the PlayStation 3 and PC.
8/8/2011 Ben Dutka