Review by horror_spooky
"The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had..."
Capcom must be crazy. You see, the developers of MadWorld, Platinum Games, used to work for Capcom, and they were the people that were a part of industry revolutionizing video games like Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and ever-popular titles like Okami and Viewtiful Joe. I can't believe Capcom let this much talent slip out of their hands, but they did, and those people have gone on to make their own company, Platinum Games. Their first game just happens to be an ultra-violent Wii game revolving around a main character who totes around a chainsaw for an arm. Awesome? You bet your ass.
MadWorld is a strange breed of game. It feels like an ultra-violent Tony Hawk where instead of pulling off tricks on a skateboard, you are tasked with combining all the different little ways you can murder your enemies to rack up a lot of points in order to be treated to a prize. Eventually, you rack up enough points to face the boss, beat the boss, and then you proceed to the next level, where you do pretty much the same thing again.
There are tons of different ways you can kill your enemies, too. You can pummel them to death with your fists, or you can hold the B button and then slice the Wii remote around to cut them into bits. You can shove a sign post through their throat, put a barrel on top of their head, and then impale them on a rack of spikes. There is much more stuff you can do besides just that, and plus there are environmental hazards unique to their respective levels that allow even more room for you to be creative with your murders.
As you rack up points, the game awards you in various ways. One way you will be rewarded with the opening of vending machines placed around the levels that can be located via your map. You may get something like health, or you may get lucky and get a baseball bat covered with nails or these two machete-like knives that can dismember your enemies in a sickly fashion. If you don't know the enjoyment of cutting both of your opponent's arms off, stabbing him in the gut, and then splitting him in half vertically while holding him in the air, then you don't know real joy.
Another thing you will earn from building up your points is the ability to partake in a Bloodbath Challenge. These challenges are mini-games that require you to kill your enemies in certain ways to rack up points. This way you can build up more points to help you reaching the overall goal of the level quicker, and plus some of these mini-games are really fun. One challenge is called Man Darts, and what you do is send your enemies flying into a giant dartboard to earn points, and in another mini-game, you have to shake up pop bottles (cleverly done by shaking the Wii remote in a similar fashion), shove them in your enemies' mouths, and then watch them fly away in the resulting carbonated explosion.
Sprinkled throughout these gore-filled levels are driving segments. If you have played video games at all this generation, you're probably sick to death of third-person action games throwing in driving for no particular reason, but MadWorld doesn't drown you in it nor does it make it entirely boring and pointless. You see, Jack has a motorcycle that he has to drive around during some levels, pursued by enemies in cars. It's actually quite hectic and fun to be blasting down the highway and causing everyone to crash, plus these segments don't drag on too long and there's only a few of them, so there's no way you could get sick of the mindless vehicular mayhem present.
I've mentioned a few ways that MadWorld takes advantage of the Wii remote, but it also goes deeper than I mentioned. A lot of the environmental kills require involvement by you in some way shape or form. Sometimes you'll have to swing it down to shove someone in a oil drum, other times you may have to shake it to repeatedly slam someone against a spike, or maybe you'll have to swing it to the side to toss someone into a wall. The nunchuck is also used. While carrying an enemy, you can flick the nunchuck forward to make Jack headbutt the opponent to stun them and earn some more points. I was really impressed with how MadWorld takes advantage of the Wii remote, especially during the QTEs that occur mostly during the finales of cinematically brutal boss battles.
One giant fault that MadWorld has though is the story is just plain bad and disappointing. There are a couple of interesting parts, but since the story is presented in such a bland way and you aren't even given time to think about what's going on due to the game's short length, you probably won't care about half of the things going on. The only purpose the plot serves is to give you a reason to slaughter a bunch of people, but Platinum Games could have at least taken more time to refine the plot and to make it entertaining. I mean, seriously, beat em ups can have good storylines. Plus, these are the people that made Okami! How could their ability to make a good story weaken so considerably over just a few years? MadWorld follows Jack, who is taking part in the DeathWatch games, where you go around killing people until you're the champion. There are weak attempts to expand beyond this, but none of it really matters. You get fed some pointless political parallels that don't make a lick of sense, and in the end, you'll think Jack is an idiot, not the super badass that you thought he was before he started opening his mouth.
MadWorld got a lot of press covering its unique artistic style. In case you have been living under a rock, MadWorld is a mostly black and white game with occasional color thrown in, kind of like the effects used in the film Sin City. It's amazing how well this works during the combat and the sweet boss battles, when the black and white environment is just overcome with buckets of bright red blood. Sometimes trying to find things around the levels can be hard though considering the black and white artistic style can make some areas look way too much alike for their own good. It may take a little while for your eyes to get used to as well, but for the most part, I was generally impressed with MadWorld in the graphics department. There were a couple of times when it would freeze up, and the boring comic book-like style that a lot of the plot is shown through was just a bad idea, but there is a lot worse on the Wii.
Hilarious commentators will give comments about the action throughout the entire game. Yeah, they get a tad repetitive from time to time, but they do say some pretty hilarious things. Jack's dialogue is just horrible, but the voice acting for him, and all the other actors, is done decently enough. The Wii remote's speaker is used to make chainsaw revving sounds, and when you run out of juice, it will make the appropriate sound effect as well. I was a little disappointed with the soundtrack, but there isn't much to really complain about with the audio.
There is something to complain about with the game's length. You can beat MadWorld without any problems at all in less than three hours. Hell, if you decided to beat the game once on normal and then go back through, you could probably beat it in less than two hours since you could just skip the cut-scenes and you'll know what to do to rack up the points faster. There is some decent replayability though. The multiplayer is guilty fun, though it's a little disappointing that some of the mini-games repeat themselves, and after you beat the game, you unlock some things and you can go back through the whole thing on hard mode, something you'll probably feel compelled to do after seeing the unlockable content.
Capcom must be crazy. I still can't believe they let the talented developers working at Platinum Games to leave their company. Regardless, we have been treated to MadWorld, a very entertaining title that could have been better. The story could have been way better, and if the game were longer, that would be just peachy. Jack's dialogue was just plain bad, and I did have a few issues with the camera occasionally. MadWorld is still a must-own title on the Wii, and it has me eagerly awaiting Platinum Games' next projects. It could have been more, but MadWorld is still great for what it is.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/18/09
Game Release: MadWorld (US, 03/10/09)
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