The lovable, Tick-like DeathSpank has returned to serve justice by running around and slaughtering anything that moves in DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue. Be they stoopid rabbits or troublesome orques, DeathSpank will lead the assault and save the day.
DeathSpank was only the beginning. After DeathSpank defeated the evil Lord Von Prong, he learned from Sandy Bravitor that Von Prong wasn’t responsible for his actions, as he’d been corrupted by the Thong of Courage. Years ago, six thongs of virtue were crafted at Bacon Mountain – the thongs of compassion, courage, cuisine, generosity, justice and peace. However, something went wrong and they corrupted anyone who wore them. DeathSpank himself wears the thong of justice, and Sandy tasks him with recovering the thongs of compassion, cuisine and generosity, since the thong of peace has been lost in the shuffle.
This means going around the world in search of corrupted thong wearers, who include a nun with a lot of names, a famous cook named Worton, and Santa Claus. Since they’re corrupted, thong wearers will do everything possible to kill DeathSpank so they can take his thong and collect the remaining thongs to become a god.
The key word for DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue is excess. There’s a larger world to explore, more NPCs to interact with, an assortment of new enemies, more weapons and equipment and an avalanche of quests to complete. To be honest, it’s overwhelming. Variety is good and the dialogue is great, but it’d be nice to not have a constant list of at least 10, sometimes even 20 side-quests weighing me down. Everywhere I’d turn, there’d be exclamation points alerting me to another fetch quest yearning for completion. I eventually got to the point where I would wait until I’d completed at least ten at a time, before sending DeathSpank through the outhouse network to report results.
And yes, most of the DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue quests involving beating someone, more often than not multiple persons, to get items. There are a few more puzzle and combining-item tasks than there were in the original DeathSpank, but players will still spend at least 90% of the game acting as a gofer. Appropriately enough, DeathSpank makes a joke about this after Sandy gives him extra packages to deliver.
One of the biggest addition to the games is the inclusion of firearms. In the original DeathSpank, all he got were crossbows. In Thongs of Virtue, you get guns, bazookas and grenades. While the guns are quite nice, especially the ray-gun you get from helping an alien, the bazookas and grenades are incredibly hazardous to DeathSpank’s health. The bazookas aren’t too bad, given you leave enough space between DeathSpank and his enemies, and are great for boss fights. Grenades suck.
It isn’t that grenades aren’t powerful. They are. It’s just that they don’t work the way you’d hope they would. When DeathSpank uses one, it plops onto the ground. You then have a certain amount of time to make sure he’s far enough away. The problem is the enemies aren’t going to sit where the aforementioned grenade landed. They run to attack DeathSpank. Which means you’d have to run back towards the grenade so the enemies go there, then quick turn around and try and escape the blast so enemies and not DeathSpank. I sold every grenade I grabbed up for money – they weren’t worth the potential pain.
I also wish that DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue would have included a save option. While the autosave is great there were times when I would have wanted to save so I could have reloaded for a different result. I first wished for this after I discovered I missed earning the Primp V.I.P. trophy for seeing Madame Primp in all 20 of her outfits, because I killed her immediately to get her Heart of Gold. Also, the Konichiwa trophy, which you can earn for teaching DeathSpank Japanese, could be missed as well.
Thankfully, Hothead did think ahead with the auto save and made the last checkpoint auto-save in the game just before the last battle. DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue has two endings and, since the save spot works out well, you can see both.
The initial free DLC offer was also quite nice. While I never really found a use for Tankko, the extra co-op character, the Snowy Mountain Dungeon does offer another opportunity for more mindless hack-and-slash. And a relatively easy trophy, for people who care about collecting those.
Since DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue was made at the same time as the original DeathSpank, it does contain two of the same flaws. Namely, sometimes an enemy will suddenly retreat while you’re attacking it, becoming temporarily invulnerable and restoring its health in the process. I only had this happen twice with some pips near Scurvyville, but be aware that it still can happen. Also, there’s no online co-op. Which means most people will probably end up playing DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue alone. Hopefully, both issues will be remedied in the inevitable third DeathSpank game.
DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue is a great follow-up to DeathSpank, as it manages to give players more of everything that made the original game so special. It doesn’t fix everything and it can get overwhelming, but it’s still a hilarious game that’s great in small doses or long play sessions, alone or with friends.
Food for Thought
- It’s a lot easier to get fortune cookies for hints now. You can find them in barrels, treasure chests or after defeating enemies.
- The great pop-up book, graphic novel art style returns, so everything looks whimsical and exaggerated.
- This time, Hothead included brief tutorial pop-up messages in the beginning so you know exactly what different buttons do.