Reviewed by Ryan “Plagiarize” Acheson
Available for the Nintendo Wii
Rated M for Mature
Published by Sega of America
It’s hard when you want to love a game and can’t. MadWorld has the gory looks, the foul mouth and the unique art style that is a great way to endear me to a title. Heck, it got me to buy the game even though beat em up games are I genre that I normally rent rather than buy. It’s not that I don’t love action games.
When they’re really good it doesn’t matter if they’re short. If the core combat is deep and fun I’ll come back time and again. MadWorld, as you can probably tell from how timely this review is, didn’t keep me coming back, and the only thing that got me to play it so much is that I had to review it.
It isn’t a bad game by any means. The presentation is especially good. From that already mentioned black and white and red all over art style, to the hip hop tunes and over the top commentary by Greg Proops and John DiMaggio, it’s one slick game. It’s just that in a surprisingly solid Easter with Resident Evil 5 and House of the Dead: Overkill and Chronicles of Riddick and … well a fair few surprisingly great games given the time of year, MadWorld has never seemed quite worth my time like all the other games I’ve been enjoying.
The core combat works really well, and the motion controls are satisfying, especially when you’re using the chainsaw or finishing someone off. The over the top violence and filth laden language are great though again, if you are a Wii owner looking for either of those things I’d point you towards the much more wonderful House of the Dead: Overkill first.
Where MadWorld beats out that game, and most other games infact, is in how sadistic it is. That’s not a bad thing either. It’s joyously sadistic. You can slam guys ass first onto wooden spikes. It’s brutal and it doesn’t shy away from it.
The different levels all have varying themes. One of them is especially horrorific in its theme in fact, and I have to say that was probably my favorite, but the differences feel largely cosmetic.
Basically, you progress through a level by killing the guys in brutal fashion which nets you points. The more brutal the better. Cut a guy in half with a chainsaw, and you won’t get much reward. Stab a road sign through someones head and then throw them in front of a train for more.
Environments have some specific hazards like the train, some are incredibly creative like the massive tempura frier, but for the most part, you’re just talking about the same kind of spikes and signs and tires with only cosmetic changes.
Each level has a time limit in which you have to reach the score levels required to unlock various mini games and ultimately that level’s boss, but it’s pretty lax allowing you for the most part to not really get too deep into worrying about being especially creative with your kills.
The boss fights and mini-games added some much needed variety but really not enough. I joked after playing the first level that MadWorld wasn’t really a beat ‘em up, but a throw ‘em up, and was hoping that feeling would go away, but it really didn’t.
Rather than smart enemies that you had to learn attack patterns and combos to kill, MadWorld’s opponents seem pretty hapless. I guess the idea was that the depth would come from the combo system, but at least on the first time through the game (there is a much more challenging difficulty you can unlock) I found myself maybe stabbing something through a guy or incapacitating them, and then grabbing them and dragging them over near something to kill, then throwing them in trying to line up the throw so as to knock as many other guys in as possible.
This was really fun at first, but it soon started to drag. The chainsaw works really nicely, but if anything the game seems to punish you for using it with low scores, probably because it’s the quickest and easiest way to kill the enemies.
Still, like I said the score limits are far from difficult to hit.
Maybe MadWorld just isn’t my kind of game. It was really fun at first, but each time I sat down and tried to play it I got bored rather quickly. That it took me so long to beat a fairly short game (though to be fair it’s about average length for this type of game) highlights that.
Sega have done a great job making a mature game for the Wii. Camera issues aside the controls work well. It’s certainly a unique looking title with its own style of graphics and gameplay, and as mentioned before the commentary by Proops and DiMaggio is so offensive at times that it’s hilarious.
I know some other people have really been enjoying it, but for me at least the gameplay was fairly shallow. Sure, you felt like a badass just being able to have your way with the enemies, and if you’re into going for high scores then I’m sure there is added depth there in trying to combo together unique and brutal kills, but for me there just weren’t enough ways to kill people, and the lack of challenge made them unsatisfying to pull off after the novelty of their visual brutality wore off.
It’s the kind of game that feels like it’s close to really having something great. It’s the kind of game where even though it wasn’t the balls to the wall classic I was hoping for I’ll be interested to see if any sequel addresses the issues I had.
The final word then is basically this: If you want to kill people really violently and don’t mind that you’ll be doing a lot of the same stuff over and over between the more entertaining and brilliant bits, then MadWorld will probably be more your cup of tea than mine.
3 out of 5
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