When we played MadWorld a few weeks ago we had a lot of fun, as you may have been able to tell by our hands-on preview. However, we had concerns about the AI of the enemies and how the gameplay could hold up to prolonged sessions. Have Platinum Games managed to keep the fun factor high for more than just a quick bash?
Let's deal with those issues right away. The AI of the most common enemies is far from the genius end of the spectrum, with the majority meandering right into your murderous mitts, but intelligent ones spring up pretty often - enough to give a decent challenge in combination with environmental hazards (such as guillotines). You're not going to get stuck for very long on the standard difficulty setting, but nor are you just going to sail right through it; we'd estimate that most players will finish the game within six hours or so, certainly no more than ten. While this might sound short, you've got to keep in mind that the game is extremely replayable as you can return to past stages at any time to try and improve your scores.
The gameplay? Brilliant. It holds up, without a doubt. Having said that, we were expecting more variety in kill types. We're not talking about the environmental hazards that turn up - there're plenty of those, our favourite being the deep fat fryer - but the deaths involving items you grab off the ground can sadly be placed into just two groups: ones you stab through/into heads and ones you put over heads. Despite this, never once did we find ourselves bored. MadWorld is like the demented love child of God Hand and No More Heroes, and Viewtiful Joe is the crazy uncle hanging around that only visits at Christmas. It's frantic, fast, never leaves you with nothing to do and employs Wii controls perfectly. Oh yeah, and the reason it's getting so much attention too, of course - it's gory as sin.
The nunchuk controls your movement, with Z controlling your jump, C locking onto enemies and centring your camera and a flick of the 'chuck allowing you a dodge move, or a pacifying headbutt if you're holding an enemy. The remote is all about the bloodlust: A is your punch and grab (by holding the button), B your chainsaw (controlled by holding down the trigger and swinging vertically or horizontally). Cleverly, you can't use the chainsaw all the time as it overheats, forcing you to play the game the way Platinum wants it to be played - rather than taking the easy chainsawing option all the time (which nets you less points), you're pushed into using the weapons scattered around. When you've got hold of a weapon, approach an enemy and a motion will be shown on screen; follow it and you've just caused either death or serious damage. Don't fancy using a weapon? Punch your enemy into a stupor until a 'finish' event flashes up, then use either A or B to perform a gruesome motion-based death move. Motions are generally only used for critical moves, but having said that it is one of the more motion-heavy games on Wii. As it's been planned well, though, you will rarely find your arms getting too tired, and the time cues for motion attacks to be carried out are fairly generous. There were a few occasions where our motions didn't register, but they were few and far between. Now we've had more time to test, it turns out that, as we suspected, only tiny motions are really needed to carry out attacks, though some such as the hammer toss finishing move react more violently if you give it a bit of welly. Has that stopped us using big motions? Not a chance. MadWorld is more fun if you just let yourself go.
Multiple weapon usages before death means more points and more points means more things get unlocked, for that's how you progress through the stages. Rather than having straightforward levels, MadWorld's are more like gladitorial arenas. You can return to any point in them and run around freely until you've gained the necessary points to unlock the boss fight and complete the level. Along the way you'll be given new weapons and Bloodbath Challenges as you hit point guidelines, which help to ensure you never get stuck in a rut and keep things interesting (a couple of bike-based levels help with this too, and control better than No More Heroes' bike sections, you'll be happy to hear). The Bloodbath Challenges are essentially mini-games that pop up courtesy of a pimp named the Black Baron, who isn't the best at avoiding his own traps and pushes you to kill as many people as possible in a selection of strange scenarios. Our personal favourite would probably be Man Golf, wherein you grab yourself a golf club, hold B, aim at targets in the sky and let rip on hapless buggers' heads. Bloodbath Challenges are great as they allow you to easily get multiple kills at once, ensuring massive scores and a more rapid trip towards the boss door. These are also playable in a multiplayer mode, though unfortunately it's offline only and there are no online leaderboards to compare scores.
MadWorld is a visual treat - don't let the lack of 480p put you off. The black, white and red all over colour scheme is a little jarring at first, but once you've adjusted (it shouldn't take long) it's fantastic and doesn't make it confusing to find things at all as we had previously worried. Comic-style words pop up for sound effects in a XIII-esque way (presumably this is what they're nodding to by naming a character Agent XIII), and by having these and the motions turn up in yellow it allows them to stand out without intruding on the gameplay. The soundtrack, though, almost steals the accolades from the aesthetics. The hip hop-heavy playlist works absolutely brilliantly and the sound effects are nice and squelchy, but the ultimate praise has to go to the voice work. The Black Baron is played to perfection as the stereotypical pimp and the colour commentators (Futurama's John DiMaggio and Whose Line Is It Anyway?'s Greg Proops) are the epitome of hilarity, though they do repeat themselves regularly. We can see ourselves quoting them often, but well out of ear shot of the young and elderly.
Quite frankly, the thing that surprises us most about MadWorld is how on Earth it's managed to get past censorship. The violence alone would be enough, seeing as you're sawing, smashing and exploding people every two seconds, but in addition to that you've got the aforementioned three characters yammering about drugs, alcohol and sex (they have a particular affinity for anal), violently hurling profanity-littered insults at one another and making gross-out comments about hemmoroids. We're just happy it made it through, though - it's all extremely immature, but utterly hysterical, and we've been laughing our heads off at the spoken humour even more than the visual gags.
Ignore worries about the game's length or challenge - it's fine, and there's a harder difficulty mode if you really want to push yourself. Don't think that it's just another dumb game, even if it may play the role happily on the surface - in addition to being inventive with its deaths, it also has a decent storyline to it, which we certainly didn't expect, and it's going to take some work to get the best scores. MadWorld is what games are all about. It's pure fun from start to finish, and if you can ignore the problems - oft-repeated voice work, lack of online content, less variety in weapon use than we anticipated - then you'll have a great time. It's clearly one of the best games on Wii. Unless you're easily offended, in which case you need to stay away. Far away.
We wish there had been more variety in the basic weapon uses, but other than that we can't find much fault in it. It's paced well so that you're never left doing one thing for too long and the combat is a satisfying mix of Platinum Games' past games as Clover. Despite being one of the more motion-based Wii games they're used tactically and to great effect.
The style is probably the only reason MadWorld got through without censorship. It's glorious in the way it both promotes and downplays the violence and is one of the best styles we've seen in a game, Wii or otherwise.
The music is phenomenal, the commentary is genuinely hilarious and groan-inducing in equal proportions. The only reason this doesn't get full scores is that the commentary is repeated too often.
It's a pretty short game, though gets challenging halfway through and has a much harder difficulty setting if you want to take it to the next level. If it was much longer though it'd get repetitive, and all levels are available to revisit at any time to best high scores. Online leaderboards would have been a great addition to provide extra incentive to do well, though.
MadWorld definitely earns its place as one of Wii's must-have titles and completes a trinity of hugely enjoyable, quirky, mature titles on the system that don't forget what games are all about, the other two being No More Heroes and The House of the Dead: Overkill. That two of the three games come from SEGA should come as reassurance that they're ready to give adult Wii gamers what they want - as long as demand is there. Buy this and prove that they're going in the right direction.
I really want to get the game, I might even trade in a few games I don't play anymore (although I can't trade in Wii play and I wont get much for cheggers party quiz)
Anyway nice review, makes me jealous that it probably wont be a long time till I play it, quite a few other sites gave it a lower average score, either saying there were problems with repetitiveness or thge camera and lock on system, I just really want to play this now, Just for the joy of playing something that looks so unusual and fun.
Great stuff, good to hear it's an all round top game Love the style, and environments kills. Will probably pick this up sometime.
Good review Mike
o trust me when i say you should get it asap to thous who don't have it. Lol, i can't stop playing it. It fun because it doesn't need to be play a long time per session, you could actually just turn it off. One thing they should add in Madworld two, if they make one, is a split screen multi co-op play.
Good review but i would suggest anyone interested in buying this game to rent it first... i wish i did now:-x
I'm still amazed anyone can look at this game for more than 30 seconds without their eyes starting to bleed.
I'm still amazed anyone can look at this game for more than 30 seconds without their eyes starting to bleed.
Wish I could rent it. I haven't felt the hype at all, so at the moment I'm only considering purchase because of positive reviews and hype from gamers that aren't me... Which if the past is anything to go by isn't a good sign, so I wish there was a way I could try it out, but no rental places anywhere near me.
I really want this game, it's one that is going on my list for when I get my wii back in a coupl'o months! nice review.
Good review, and I totally agree.
Brilliant fun, and a real visual treat. It has more of a viewtiful joe vibe to me than anything else though. It's a far better visual showpiece than I ever could've imagined. Knighty, just try this game, you'll see (and not bleed lol)
Great fun, totally off-the-wall craziness. I know how short it is, so I'm only going to do one level a day, but I love what I've played so far.
I've already finished the first two parts of the island, it's so easy, if I'm to make it last (before going on to hard mode) I think i'll have to do what Phoenixus is doing and play 1 level a day, even if that is only 10-15 mins.
It starts to get tougher from the end of the third area.
Wow, excellent review, I really mean it.
Once I get enought money and am not spending it on Death Note, this is my next stop. Looks fantastic!