Subtle, it ain’t. But it’s also one of the funniest things ever created in the world of videogames – a level of over-the-top stylistic bravery that instantly trumps the generic ‘count the nostril hairs’ visuals next-gen actioners are increasingly reliant on. As for the Sin City comparison, well, it’s certainly valid, but equally important to MadWorld’s style is the plain fun of action comics – there’s even a yellow ‘KRAAASH!’, or similar exclamation, to accompany the hits, borrowed straight from the camptastic Adam West Batman.

The comic book effects aren’t the only splashes of colour – there are lashings of crimson, or ‘gore’ if you prefer, waiting to be released from your enemies. Chainsawing someone in half sees the right side of Jack’s face mottled in the red stuff; ripping someone apart covers him in claret and, as you move through the monochromatic world, big splashes of it mark your passing. Make way for the pain train.

The blood isn’t MadWorld’s only piece of showmanship, though. There’s a pair of commentators whose jobs seem to depend on witty sadism and an enthusiasm for punning about dismemberment (and who, incidentally, rarely repeated themselves – whether this will be different on a longer playthrough is unknown as yet). Sometimes they work themselves into a frenzy over a particularly brutal combination, following the blows with a “RIGHT-LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT” like some demented drill instructor. It’s one of the more innovative touches that has gone unremarked, but if it can be worked into the game without too much repetition or deviation, it could be a brilliant addition to the chainy-bladey-fisticuffs.

The only thing wrong with MadWorld was we were left wanting more. No, seriously. At an otherwise underwhelming E3 this stood out as one of the Wii’s great black-and-white hopes for 2009. After all, it’s a game developed exclusively for the platform by one of Japan’s greatest development teams, a game that has maturity and knows how to use it, and – most of all – a game you definitely won’t want to play with the family.

Sep 23, 2008