Madworld (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By Mike Mason 13.02.2009

Review for Madworld (Hands-On) on Wii

Think of the most gruesome weapon-based death you can. Think of something so sadistic you can't imagine it being replicated in a game. Now stop. Play Madworld. If the tools that you imagining using are hanging about, you can probably carry out your sick fantasy.

That's what struck us most about Madworld: the game's developers really seem to have thought of every death possible with the provided items and environments. We knew you could spear heads with signposts, but what if you were to plonk a bin on somebody's head, then thrust a metal pole through the bin and their head, then chuck the resulting mess into a car, pick him up, hurl him towards a flaming bin, grab him, headbutt him and finally put him out of his misery by launching him into a dumpster which promptly slams shut on him, slicing him clean in two, all punctuated with a comedy 'DONG!' sound effect? Yep. A train is rolling by, you pick up a bench, smack an enemy with it, grab the stunned man and back him into the side of the moving train, holding him there until he's scraped into pieces. Then you do a little jump and stomp on his freshly bled-out corpse. This is Madworld, Platinum Games' first Wii game, and it is, in a word, awesome.

All this would be nothing but twisted if not for the approach it takes. We can completely understand the controversy this time - it clearly is one of the most ridiculously, brilliantly violent games ever conceived - but equally we can understand why it's gotten away with it uncensored, unlike Manhunt 2. It's all about the attitude. While it's a game about nothing but death, where every single one of your actions results in murder as far as we can tell from our playthrough of the first two stages, it's sprinkled with so many tongue-in-cheek moments (such as enemies' stumbling when they've got, say, a flaming barrel firmly attached the upper half of their body), slapstick moments (from some of the deaths to enemies running away in fear when a particularly nasty kill is witnessed) and hilarious colour commentary from the likes of John 'Bender' DiMaggio that it couldn't possibly be taken seriously. That's not even mentioning the insane OTT moments, especially the mini-games that crop up mid-level (which can be unlocked for multiplayer fun), or the sound effects more associated with Tom and Jerry than a game about mass murder.

Screenshot for Madworld (Hands-On) on Wii

It also helps that the game is presented with a limited colour palette - black, off-white, red and yellow. It lessens the effect of the gore to a more acceptable level while also making the starkest acts of depravity stand out even more. With the style, though, the moments that might make you wince in more realistic titles just make you laugh out loud as viscera gushes all over the camera, quips are yelled and points are thrown at you (the more creative your kills, the higher your score is). It shouldn't feel this good, but it does. We feel no guilt. Like No More Heroes, a game from which there is clearly some kind of inspiration garnered, it never forgets it's a game, and that's how it gets away with it. As high score tables appear after assassinations in Grasshopper Manufacture's game, kill-as-many-as-you-can minigames pop up with all the flair of a cheesy gameshow, presenter in tow (though never for long if his assistant has anything to do with it).

Screenshot for Madworld (Hands-On) on Wii

The control system is brilliant. We don't want to bring up No More Heroes too much, but the way motion is used is a direct evolution of what Suda 51's title has already done, and Madworld comes off like the evil love-child of both that game and Godhand (which many at Platinum Games had a hand in anyway when they were a part of Clover). B controls the chainsaw on your right arm - hold the B button and you can swing it up, down, left or right to deliver different attacks (i.e. backhands, uppercuts), so long as you don't use it too much and overheat it. Tapping the A button controls both your punches and grabs, but you'll more than likely want to hammer it - Jack has no problem adhering to this, Godhand-stylee - or keep it pressed down to hold onto enemies or items. When you've got an item or enemy held you can hurl them away with a swing of the Wii remote, or you can approach another item/enemy and interact with them by swinging when a prompt pops up. For example, if you're holding a bin you can sidle up to an enemy and move the remote to slam it on his head; vice versa, if you're holding an enemy you can move to the bin and stick him inside it. Swiping the nunchuk instead while holding an enemy delivers a swift headbutt, but more of the fun is to be had in stunning enemies. Punch them repeatedly until they're swaying about and you can perform a finishing move on them by pressing either A or B. You'll then move into a position where you use motion to perform a finishing move. There looks to be loads of these, but the ones we came across involved splitting a body vertically from the groin up, throwing enemies in the air and chainsawing them through the torso as they're above you, slamming the chainsaw through numerous body parts, slamming enemies side to side until they fall apart, twisting necks to break them and swinging bad guys around like a hammer toss. We're not sure how much motion is actually required because we became so immersed that as we were smacking guys side to side while holding their feet we were overemphasising every slam left and right because it was just more fun that way. Small waggles may be all that is necessary, but where would be the fun in that?

Screenshot for Madworld (Hands-On) on Wii

We only touched upon a couple of the first stages from the game's city level in our demo, but each had been taken from a final, or very close to final, build and were not just demonstration stages. During these stages we were met with a couple of mini-games and a giant dual-chainsaw wielding mid-level boss. Later on, we're told that the levels begin to diversify; in gameplay movies and trailers so far we've only seen the city and some elements of China Town, but there are actually a variety of settings such as a sci-fi one that partially takes place in a ship resembling the Enterprise of Star Trek fame. They wouldn't tell us anymore.

One of our two main quibbles with the game is the enemy AI, which doesn't seem to be up to much, although we imagine that will change after the first few levels. In fact, if previous hardcore monsters Viewtiful Joe and Godhand are anything to go by (and they should be, having been developed by many of the same people), Madworld's first few levels will ultimately serve as tutorials that offer the chance to mess about with your new powers, more than anything else. Our second quibble pertains to difficulty in trying to ascertain where we should be going next - random TV cutscenes occasionally showed us an item appearing, but we couldn't work out where these were and how we should get to them. Perhaps when we have more time to mess around with the full game and use the radar properly (rather than just sawing things up) we might get a better idea of what's going on.

Screenshot for Madworld (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

Madworld is going to be an astonishing addition to Wii's catalogue. The closest thing to it on the system already is No More Heroes, and that's no bad game to be compared to. It's funny, it's appallingly violent and most of all it's bags of fun. Here's hoping that it can hold up after extensive testing when the full game comes out in March (no set day as of yet).









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (23 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Nice preview!
Probably won't get this the day it comes out, but I'll certainly get it sometime after.

.:Zelda Adventures:.
u guys are DNA.

Wow, more and more people talk about it i can't wait to get it. Its gonna kick so much ass.

When all is bad don't look for a easy way out. Because you wont know what to do once your out

I am just glad that the controls are good, and that it has some solid gameplay to complement the aesthetics.

The press is going to have fun with this one. Smilie

Also, I would think the black and white visuals might wear on you after a bit, is this the case at all?

( Edited 13.02.2009 12:22 by Jacob4000 )

Nah, it was alright. The only thing it did was contributed to it being a bit confusing about where to go. The white is actually off-white, a slightly dull white, so it doesn't hurt your eyes the way pure white might after a while. It was no harder to look at and play than any other game with a decent art style. Smilie

I'm so pump for this game. I can't wait! Smilie

The former top user was Keven! You'd probably give birth to yourself 1000 times over until you sprout wings to fly away into the fading sun, that or you'd just turn into a lesbian. Who knows @_@ - L, 12/06/09

I only seen A comercial for this and it was very small, but very cool intro, after house of the dead, Jack used his chainsaw and cut down the middle of House of the Dead: overkill's title, when it is a faded yellow with black on the corner, with his chainsaw. but, It only lasted a second of a commercial if they don't make it stand out no one will notice it.

When all is bad don't look for a easy way out. Because you wont know what to do once your out

The thing that first drew my attention to this was Sin City. I loved the artistic style of the movie and thought perhaps this was following the same approach.

What put me off? A couple of recent trailers I saw that looked ridiculously gruesome. I'm not squeamish, but sadly it didn't look 'fun' - just pointless gore with the odd comic-book-like word thrown around to try and justify proceedings.

I'll remain apprehensive for the time being as, like you mentioned, it looks like it could get quite repetitive as well.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Wolvesgod said:
but, It only lasted a second of a commercial if they don't make it stand out no one will notice it.

That's just the taster advert tagged onto the end of the Overkill ad - remember it's not out for a month and a half or so yet. Smilie

It is pretty much pointless gore, but it's really fun and the sardonic rather than serious approach makes it much more appealing. It's going to be extremely disappointing if it does end up being repetitive and the creativity doesn't stretch beyond the first few levels.

I'm a bit more interested in Platinum's Infinite Space, the 'Space Opera RPG' for DS. I wasn't the biggest fan of Clover's output previously - VJ was okay, but VJ2 was repetitive, whilst VJ Scratch was pretty average and the VJ fighter wasn't up to much either. Okami is another than I think was over-rated...everyone seemed to be desperately clamouring to claim it was a Zelda-beater, etc. It's good, but not 'bloody amazing' like many said.

Anyway, MadWorld will be a 'Good Thing' for Wii, I reckon, since it'll attract more 'grown-up' games for the system. Lots of devs are keeping an eye on its sales performance before greenlighting ideas, from what I hear.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Same with The Conduit and House of the Dead: Overkill, apparently. Wouldn't be surprised if Dead Rising is going to be watched as well...

I am definitely getting this. If only for its originality.

The adult rating in manhunt was such a controversy that madworld might actually benefit now. Although, my wife recently bought me manhunt 2 for valentine's and I've got to say it is pretty psycho but not an adult thing psycho, and it has stubborn playstation controls. I've seen worse things in soldier of fortune. There's a lot of sexual content in it though, so maybe the evil is in the titties?

Anyhow, madworld will be pre-ordered soon. I hope a lot of people will pick it up Smilie

Didn't Manhunt 2 get censored down though in the end? Can't remember if it got away with it or not!

yeah it did get censored down. It had lots of news coverage because of it - they fought the initial decision to their advantage, then the appeal came.

This one's already through, so the hands on is really valid. Manhunt2 was playstation, and with that typical clunky gameplay, even though it does work well. Madworld will not suffer from this. But why the comparison beyond the violence? Madworld seems to me to be very arcade-like, but with well implemented action, which I love. I can feel the viewtiful joe-ness in it as well, which, to me, is a very very good thing.

No real comparison to Manhunt 2 at all aside the censorship issue. They're completely different games, which is good for Madworld!

I'm glad the wii is getting some mature titles. Mario Kart failed us (no skill all items ... becomes very frustrating) Brawl( good game but nothing new to the series.. not like we need anything new , its just I was expecteing a stronger online component... Can't wait to fire up the ol' chainsaw and splatter some blood over the black and white city of Madworld!!!


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