Six pieces of underwear? At the same time?!? Imagine the chafing!!
Imagine a world where if you put the wrong underwear on, or put on too much underwear, the whole world would be invaded by part-machine, part-orc ("Cyborques") creatures from gods only know where. Well, that's the terrible fact that DeathSpank awoke to discover one morning after a brief stint of boredom. The Baconing follows Hothead Games' hilarious entries into the DeathSpank series of games (DeathSpank and DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue), catching up with a DeathSpank that's seriously in need of something to do after all that justice delivery he's been up to. Players are given the task, once again, of hacking and questing their way to the ultimate showdown with the Anti-Spank. Nothing could possibly go wrong...right?
The story of The Baconing revolves around DeathSpank who, after defeating all of the enemies of the land, is now bored and because of this decides that it would be a good idea to try on all six of the Thongs of Virtue – attained from the last game – at the same time. Little does he know, at least at first, that doing this caused the creation of the greatest enemy the land of Spanktopia has ever faced: the Anti-Spank! As with your usual “hero goes off to save the day” story lines, DeathSpank is the only person in the land who can possibly save things. In order to do that DeathSpank must destroy five of the six Thongs of Virtue (he's not going to get rid of his own now, is he?) by launching them in the mythical Bacon Fires (one does not simple walk into the Bacon Fires)... if he can find them.
That's where the story starts, with DeathSpank venturing forth into the world, through various forests, wastelands and other wonderful places, in order to find the Bacon Fires, destroy the Thongs of Virtue and then, ultimately, destroy the Anti-Spank, setting the world at peace once again.
The Baconing is your typical questing adventure game. You're given a main quest at the start of your game and along the way to completing your main objective you quickly come across lots of smaller quests that also require your time and effort, some of them are small delivery quests and some of them require a little bit more thought – and often muscle. Combat is achieved through the normal hack and slash methods, find your opponent (make sure you've got a weapon equipped) and beat them repeatedly around the head until they fall over and spill their lovely items all over the floor. Collect the items – and possible quest items – and move on to the next bunch of people. Rinse-and-repeat until the quest is finished. There's also an RPG element to the game which comes in the form of levels and upgradable armour. This was one of the most surprising parts of the game I found; I expected that in a game centred around so much hack-and-slash gameplay the upgrading of weapons would have felt like too much of a slow down in pace; this isn't the case with The Baconing. Sure, you can stop in the middle of a quest and equip some of the items you've picked up if you want to, but you can also set the game to automatically equip you with upgraded armour if you happen to pick some up. This means that you don't have to stop until you're ready to stop, keeping the flow of the game moving, and making it more enjoyable in the long term.
The visuals in The Baconing are a mix of 2D and 3D images, most of the assets in the game are comprised of 2D images with the models and the world making up the 3D parts. This gives the whole game a distinct hand-drawn feel to it and, coupled with the comedic nature of the game in general, make it a lot more light-hearted than it would be usually. The 2D nature of all of the game's assets doesn't take anything away from the overall artistic feel; however, it does take a little bit of getting used to, especially when you're trying to hit a barrel that's acting as if it's 3D (which as far as the game's engine is concerned, it is) but is actually on a 2D plane, so you're inevitably going to spend a lot of time hitting in front of it slightly, or behind it. This can get mildly frustrating at times but the ranged weapon that you always have can automatically target these barrels, and any other in-game object, so it's not really that much of an issue for the most part.
If you're a fan of hack and slash adventure games, or if you've played the first games in the DeathSpank series of titles, then you've probably already picked up The Baconing – if only to listen to more of DeathSpank's hilarious one-liners – if you've never played any of the games, however, all I should need to remind you in order for you to rush over to your favourite online game download service and get it, is that DeathSpank is the creation of Ron Gilbert, one of the mastermind behind the Monkey Island series. As such, DeathSpank is hilarity personified along with some decent, if at times troubled, gameplay, the story is decent enough if you can get past the constant thong references and the visuals blend 2D and 3D together in a way that is mostly visually pleasing. If any of this sounds in any way appealing then you've probably already started downloading it. My work here is done.