DeathSpank, the dispenser of justice, is back for another round of saving-the-world fun. For anyone who hasn't played the games before, the developers at Hothead highlighted that there's no real chronological order to the games and that you can think of them like the James Bond franchise. You wouldn't be at a loss if you were to jump into any of the DeathSpank games, and with the changes that have been included in The Baconing, you might as well start here. Veterans who are familiar with the series should note that the development team reached out to the community to address some of the not-so-favorable features, and changes have been made to create what they hope is a better experience.
The story begins with a very bored-looking DeathSpank, who has apparently vanquished so much evil that he has nothing to do with his time. Because of all this free time, he decides to put on all six thongs of virtue. What he doesn't know is that when he puts on all six thongs, he ends up summoning an evil version of himself--the Anti-Spank, who comes equipped with an army of cyborgs. To set things right again, he has to find the five fires of bacon and burn a thong in each to make the Anti-Spank vulnerable.
Hothead games asked for player feedback and learned that people didn't want fetch quests. Quests do generally revolve around doing something for someone, but this time the developer wanted to make sure that each quest mattered and that if you were to run out and get something, it would have a purpose. Combat has also been tweaked; you can now use a shield to bash enemies away from you, stunning them momentarily while you swoop in for a crushing blow. The added protection can also repel arrows back toward the enemy when timed correctly. You'll once again be able to collect a variety of weapons, each with different charged attacks, and some have special area attacks as well.
The setting is heavily rooted in science fiction this time around, so you'll notice a number of references to pop culture icons like the Jetsons, Robocop, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica. You have seven unique environments to explore, and our demo began in the Blade Runner-style city of Spanktopia. We were also given a tour of the Forbidden Zone, the Forest of Tomorrow, and Rainbow's End, which you can view in the gameplay demo above. The art style hasn't changed drastically, but you will notice that there's less of that 2D pop-up art effect. Another issue for players in the first couple of games was that they were getting lost in the world and would wander aimlessly. The Baconing follows a more traditional linear progression, giving the option to go back, but it will be more clear where you need to go next. We've been told that there are enemy AI improvements, and you can now use your surroundings to your advantage by hiding behind cover or targeting the ever-so-helpful explosive barrels.
Once again, the game will feature cooperative play, and you'll be accompanied by a new character, Bob from marketing--a hammerhead business shark. We don't know what kind of skills he comes with, but we imagine he will be ruthless and aggressive--or a total pushover. The game looks to continue the DeathSpank tradition of easy-to-pick-up role-playing action with a quirky sense of humor. We'll likely have more on The Baconing as it approaches its fall release for the PC and PlayStation 3. The game has not been confirmed for the Xbox 360 as of this time.