DeathSpank has such a seductive name for a game. The game is a hillarious parody of several different types of games. Within the first ten minutes of the game, you'll find that it evokes memories of things like Psychonauts (owing to its art direction) - and Diablo, owing to the way its combat plays out.
There's also something else in this - which is a heavy influence extracted from genuine slapstick comedies, and generally excellent word-smithery, which makes the game (and the main character, DeathSpank) sound like the game could've been written by Douglas Adams himself.
This makes this a highly, highly, engaging and entertaining game from a visual, story, and combat perspective.
Where the game falls flat (particularly on PC, which is where I've played it!) is that the title has a lot of room for improvement - particularly in the realm of controlling DeathSpank's spurious outrages to the creatures that are everything that aren't him, and that are moving.
The additional problem is that when you plug in a controller (to conceivably play the game as it was originally intended) it defaults to adding a co-op party member, instead of allowing you to control the game's protagonist directly.
There were several menu options that alluded to the ability to change this, but unfortunately, none of them worked for me.
Had this game released on PC with tight, responsive, and satisfying controls, I'd still be playing the game right now. Unfortunately, it didn't, so instead, what we are left with on the PC is a title that needs improvement in order to be completely enjoyable.
What is here, however is something with considerable potential, amazing writing and engaging characters, which are the most important aspects of an action RPG, that is, if the controls were right. They're not.
I'm conflicted about this one. I want to like it (and I do) - but I can't recommend it, at least on PC - maybe picking up a retro copy on the PS3 may mean the game fares differently?