|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: PlatinumGames||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 10, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
August 8, 2008 - Taking a stylized visual approach on the Wii seems to be a pretty good way to engage core gamers. MadWorld, a gore-filled beat-'em-up from PlatinumGames and SEGA, does just that. The game uses a comic book-like, black and white, hand-drawn approach to accentuate the dark humor and spurting blood. In addition, ample use of foul language, chainsaws, improvised environmental weapons, and grotesque finishing moves will definitely have this game flying in the face of the ESRB and concerned moms everywhere.
PlatinumGames, best known for their excellent work on Okami and Viewtiful Joe, have created a game where players control a man named Jack, fighting for his life on a deranged game show called Death Watch. The object of this contest is to survive by any means possible. That means throwing contestants on to a spiked wall, ripping out their hearts, chopping off their heads with a chainsaw, or stabbing sign posts through their eyeballs is completely fair game! The violence in MadWorld is so over-the-top and twisted that it actually becomes quite funny.
Additionally, committing these hellacious acts of violence will earn you some choice remarks from the commentary crew. The language in MadWorld is excessively explicit. Players will almost become numb to the sheer amount of F sharps being thrown around. During the demo given to us at E3 2008, the commentary seemed to be very well keyed to the action. Moreover, the comments were surprisingly varied in scope and were extremely humorous in a very sick way. In fact, in the five minutes that the demo lasted, we never heard a comment repeat itself. Hopefully, the amount of commentary will remain varied; otherwise I could see the mute button getting used in order to finish the game.
Aside from the seemingly excellent audio, the most unique aspect of this title is definitely the visual presentation. Titles like Okami and Viewtiful Joe have served PlatinumGames well, and the visual style in MadWorld is every bit as polished as it was in those bestsellers. However, this time around a cel-shaded hero and a mystical wolf have been shunned for a visceral beat-'em-up that's filled with gore. The copious amounts of bright red, spurting blood juxtaposed against the black and white, hand-drawn graphics really makes the game feel like something out of a Frank Miller graphic novel. As amazing as these visuals are, they may not appeal to everyone, as they are so far from the video game norm. Nevertheless, this risky visual approach is executed to perfection, and PlatinumGames have really outdone themselves.
Levels encompass large abandoned urban areas (think Running Man) including city streets, light rail, and the like. Going from one zone to the next is linear, but the environments are quite varied; so too are the objects of death strewn about the levels. Even though the levels are strictly black and white, the plethora of burned out cars, flaming trash cans, and rose bushes (spiked walls) provide for a lot of engaging texture.
It looks like the Wii Remote and Nunchuk will be the setup of choice for controlling MadWorld. Despite the fact that waves of punks and leather bound freaks were constantly attacking the demonstrator at the SEGA booth, he calmly and easily dispatched them all with uncanny skill and efficiency by simply flicking and shaking the controller. The game will definitely have players stylishly beating oncoming foes to death with makeshift objects from the environment and simple movements that trigger finishing moves with cinematic results. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like a crouch function for T-bagging will be an option.
I'm sorry to say, there's not a whole lot of back story available yet. However, we've got a feeling the story isn't why players are going to love this one. What is known is that the game show Death Watch takes place in Varrigan City, which has been taken hostage by a group called "The Organizers." These terrorists are now pitting the citizens against each other in a deranged fight to the death.
Furthermore, we have no idea if there's going to be online and/or local multiplayer battle modes. We can only hope that various options will be available. I'd love to virtually impale my buddies on a fence and cut them in half with a chainsaw. However, we do know that some brutal party mini-games will be available. The one currently being touted is that of Man Darts, which has players use baseball bats to smash enemies into a giant dartboard.
If you love gritty action gameplay full of hilarious death sequences, then MadWorld will definitely be for you. We are really excited to see where PlatinumGames takes this bloody brawler. One thing's for sure: the content in MadWorld is quite visceral. Hopefully, this will translate into a deep experience that goes beyond the simple fighter mechanic.
CCC Editor / News Director