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MadWorld review

Great
AT A GLANCE
  • Brilliant score-based gameplay
  • Great soundtrack
  • Distinctive visual style
  • Commentators often repeat themselves
  • Can become extremely repetitive
  • Some enemies don't put up a fight

MadWorld is the definition of Grindhouse gaming, inspired as much by movie directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez as games gone by. With striking monochrome visuals spattered with gobbets of gore and enough violence to keep the tabloids in column inches for the next sixth months, it’s by far the most stylish Wii game to date. But beneath the gory facade is a staggeringly simple concept.

The first surprise is that the game’s huge amounts of gore are backed up by a surprisingly sophisticated plot. Basically, our man Jack is infiltrating a city in the grip of a terrorist attack-come-gameshow in which the citizens are forced to kill to stay alive. More surprising still is just how straight faced the characters manage to stay in the face of such riotous, over the top nonsense. And we mean nonsense in the best possible way, of course.

The core of the gameplay involves extreme violence doled out with simple button presses and gestures, but meat is added by the challenging points-based system. It’s this that transforms the game from a straightforward Streets of Rage style brawler into a sadomasochist’s playground where every action is scored, and higher scores unlock more and more challenges.

Naturally, Jack is capable of turning crazies into sandwich paste with fists alone, but the resulting mess results in only slight point increases. Effectively, you can bludgeon your way slowly through the game with one button kills and the occasional wave of the Wii-mote, but as with the best games of its type, MadWorld encourages creativity. Bloody, horrible, stomach-churning creativity. Each stage is littered with new and bizarre ways to dismember and destroy.

Experimentation is recommended if you’re to get the most out of MadWorld. It pays to try everything twice if you’re going to rack up the highest possible scores and see everything the game has to offer. There’s no place for the squeamish here. Simpler still are the game’s controls. Remote gestures are used simply and effectively reduced down to swipes, slices and deft little twirls used contextually as the gameplay demands. While many Wii games highlight just how inaccurate the motion-sensing controls can be, MadWorld uses the broad strokes the machine is capable of to its advantage.

Simply put, the messy moves work so well because you believe in them. They’re so convincingly and easily implemented that you’ll find yourself adding flourishes to certain finishers such as jerking up the remote as you slice an aggressor in half. Such gleeful invention and implementation brilliantly disguises the fact that you’re constantly performing the same actions to do a variety of things. It’s an impressive use of the system’s controls that’s rarely mastered outside of Nintendo HQ, but Platinum have managed it superbly.

In terms of gameplay, story and invention, the boss battles are the real highlight. Working his way up the ranks of the game’s ‘contestants’, Jack comes face to face with the most inventive villains since MGS4’s Beauty and the Beast regiment. There’s a dim-witted giant, an ice-dancing cowboy, a turbine-fisted Nazi and a family of werewolves to name but a handful. Some of the solutions to these battles are equally inventive, and it’s the brutal, remote-based, God of War-style Quick Time Events and finishers that make them stand out. During Jack’s confrontation with Frankenstein’s monster, for instance, he must pummel away before initiating a QTE in which you circle the remote to unscrew the bolts that provide the creature with life-giving electricity.

On the one hand, MadWorld refuses to take itself seriously. The constant rantings of the commentators highlight the general silliness that’s unavoidable when you start throwing buckets of claret around. But on the other hand it’s an impressively deep game if you have the imagination to help it do its work. It would be great fun on any console, but that it’s on the Wii is cause for celebration. Sega, it seems, are determined to carve out a new niche market for the console with this and House of the Dead: Overkill. Mad? Maybe, but seriously good fun, too.

Mar 10, 2009

More Info

Release date: Mar 10 2009 - Wii (US)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Action
Published by: Sega
Developed by: Platinum Games
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
PEGI Rating:
18+

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27 comments

  • VideoGameKing - March 29, 2010 12:43 a.m.

    they forggot to mention the frankinstin boss,i have that,i cant kill the thing,i owned all other bosses before it before they could get a hit on me
  • Metroidhunter32 - February 19, 2010 2:34 a.m.

    I like hardcore wii games but this is allitle over the top. I like alittle bit of maturity to my games, and this doesn't seem to qualify.
  • AlexMercer1337 - February 15, 2010 10:17 a.m.

    This is published by Platinum Games. The people who made Bayonetta. I am so buying this game.
  • Mattgue - June 19, 2009 1:12 a.m.

    THIS IS THE BEST GAME THE WII HAS TO OFFER AND ITS A NON STOP THRILL RIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • SpaZ - March 30, 2009 11:35 p.m.

    I cant wait to get this game it looks soooo sick
  • Monkeylink - March 24, 2009 11:28 p.m.

    finally a fricking good bloody Wii game
  • somerandomchap - March 18, 2009 8:45 a.m.

    i want it so bad im foaming that the mouth, damn you slow shipments, i need to wait until the 26th over here in australia, WHY!?!?!?!?
  • Apollomasque - March 16, 2009 8:57 p.m.

    I bought this game yesterday. It's F&*king brilliant. The announcers are bloody hilarious, I don't really mind the repetition. They say stuff like: "Jack just got Pwned!" "What the hell does that mean?" "I don't know, it's just something the kids say" "Yeah, well you're not a kid, you're a f&*king fossil, and sh#t like that just makes it SADDER!" Jack is a fantastic main character, he fits the niche of "Lovable Psycho". The soundtrack is also badass.
  • omegasend - March 15, 2009 11:34 p.m.

    i assume that the reviewer would be to young to remember brawler genre games. That and just about every game is repetitive. To all those that read to much into the "some enemies don't put up a fight", the people reviewing need to stop replaying the beginner levels on normal. Want a real review honest to the game go to IGN, Matt said it well. Just the camera work could be an issue for some but if you get past that then your fine.
  • Phantasmagorical - March 15, 2009 8:11 a.m.

    Ohhhh.. well, this is a pleasant surprise! I can only hope I'll get a chance to play this gem in the near future. Finally a reason for Wii owners to start dancing around like idiots again.
  • fionnoh - March 12, 2009 4:28 p.m.

    sega is on one hell of a roll.
  • DasavageJ - March 11, 2009 6:16 p.m.

    Pretty cool for Wii owners. I'll probably play this at a friends house and I love the art style. now back to the PS3 section =) (nothing against nintendo)
  • ReaperOfDarkness - March 11, 2009 5:01 a.m.

    It is absolutely beautifal to see that those of us loyal to nintendo didnt get a little kiddies console after all. Many loads of crap but gems like this make me glad i have the wii. Cant wait to get it. At least now our patience and waiting is paying off.
  • riodoku79 - March 11, 2009 3:59 a.m.

    Chainsaw+John Dimaggio+Greg Proops+pole up the ass=win.
  • kjadf12329 - March 11, 2009 1:57 a.m.

    gamestop doesn't have it on launch day... of course.
  • garnsr - March 10, 2009 10 p.m.

    Hey, there are now about three worthwhile games on the Wii! Still not enough to make me think it's worth getting one.
  • Stickmeister - August 15, 2009 10:23 p.m.

    Just exactly the game I was looking for. A game where you just walk around and mutilate people. Blood, guts, impalements, decapitations, bodies cut in half. Truly American. The only two questions I have are...Is there some way to save your game progress and not have to start at the beginning everytime? Is there a way to silence every F_ _ _ word? It doesn't bother me; however, my daughter, who thinks the game is cool, wants to watch it too and I'm not too hip on that. Besides that, this game is soooo much fun. You cats who haven't bought it yet, better get it soon!!!! Blood..Blood..Blood. Thanks!!!
  • Ezekiel17 - May 20, 2009 5:34 p.m.

    Its sad that this game had poor sales, it's one of the greatest Wii games I have ever played. The second best being No More Heroes. Both are great action games and I would recommend them to any (mature) Wii owner.
  • blakersdad14 - March 28, 2009 3:25 a.m.

    this game sucks its not worth the money to buy everyone should just wait till it goes on the clearance shelf at walmart all you do is cut people in half i beat the game in 1 day and spent 50 bucks that i could have used on a game worth a crap if you have the money to spend used it one something better this game ssssssuuuuuccccckkkkkssssss
  • mattGAMER - March 23, 2009 11:57 p.m.

    i just got it and i love it i wuld sugest this grate game to any hardcore gamer.

Showing 1-20 of 27 comments

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