Once upon a time, Ronzo "Ron" Gilbert must have made a deal with the devil, permitting him to make two excellent games in a franchise before seeing a third one developed without his input. It happened with Monkey Island fifteen years ago, and now(-ish) it has happened again with DeathSpank.
The Baconing, like Curse of Monkey Island, stays true to its predecessors and one could forgive a more casual player for thinking the same team had developed it. Heck, I'm sure those involved here are largely the same group of people, minus, of course, Ronzo himself.
Somewhat ironically, one of the game's biggest flaws is that it's too similar to the previous DeathSpanks. Some promises were made of an updated combat system, but if there were any changes, they elude me. The possible exception is that there is more combat this time around, and that's not really a change for the better, in my opinion. An awful lot of missions seem to revolve around going from point A to B and kill something or somebody, with the combat difficulty fluctuating wildly, to the point of frustration setting in too often.
To add insult to injury, the few puzzles you find are often pretty clever.
That's pretty much where the changes end as far as gameplay mechanism goes. Luckily DeathSpank has always emphasized a mix of exploration and silly humor, and you'll find plenty of both in The Baconing.
The graphics follow the whacked-out style of the originals, and when paired with a catchy soundtrack -- sadly with some recycled music -- exploring this new varied world can be a lot of fun. There's a lot to see and plenty of characters to interact with, and the humor is spot on as long as you like the silly stuff.
In that sense The Baconing is still an adventure game disguised as a action/RPG hybrid.
It might be a cliche to suggest "you'll enjoy The Baconing if you enjoyed the original games", but there is some truth to that. The game's main issue is that there is little new to do here. That might have been OK had the game been released years after Thongs of Virtue or if the plot was superbly engrossing.
The Baconing was, of course, released just about a year after the previous entry in the franchise, and, as with DeathSpank and Thongs of Virtue, the plot is kind of thin here, and more of a vehicle for exploring the world.
Add the frustrating combat, and it'd be hard to argue that The Baconing was the sequel I was hoping it would be.
This is still a fun game at heart, but the lack of newness and an uneven combat difficulty makes it hard to recommend The Baconing to anyone who aren't true fans of the original two DeathSpanks.
A review by MrManager, who, despite it all, thinks The Baconing has a pungent, nice, old, Amiga-like smell..