Let’s Get Bloody: A Review Of MadWorld
In our society there are things that as whole, we consider unacceptable. In real life murderers are locked up and thieves put away. Acts of violence are condemned and the perpetrators punished. Well that’s real life. This is MadWorld. An over the top, bloody, action game that rewards players for making their murders as gory and violent as possible. Does it rise above the rest or does it fall on its face… right into a bloody spike?
The story opens with a terrorist organization taking over a large metropolis named Varrigan City. All roads and communications are cut, this allows the terrorists to secretly convert the city in a giant game show called Death Watch. The object of Death Watch is simple, kill or be killed. You play as Jack, a mysterious character who is in Varrigan City for reasons only he knows. He quickly becomes affiliated with the mysterious Agent XIII who gives him tips about the Death Watch and how to survive the game. Jack soon discovers that the mayor’s daughter is sill alive and hidden somewhere in Varrigan City. As he sets out the find her Jack runs into Leo. a doctor from the local hospital who provides more questions then answers as to what is really happening. Government conspiracies and secret agendas constantly make themselves known as Jack digs deeper into the city turned game show in his personal quest for answers. The story is original and does a good job at giving Jack a reason to be decapitating everything and everybody in site although it does seem to get convoluted rather quickly with plot twist after plot twist, only to sort everything out in the final chapter.
The controls are your standard fare for 3rd person action games on the Wii. You move Jack with the control stick on the Nunchuck, ‘C’ centers the camera and ‘Z’ makes Jack jump. A shake of the Nunchuck will make Jack take an evasive move like a side jump or back flip. With the Wii Remote, tapping ‘A’ will make Jack throw punches until a ‘Finish’ icon starts flashing, when this icon appears either hold ‘A’ or ‘B’ to perform a brutal finishing move. You can also hold ‘A’ to grab an enemy and then give the Wii Remote a shake to send him flying. The ‘B’ trigger charges Jack’s built in chainsaw and swinging the remote while holding down ‘B’ will make Jack slice at opponents. The ‘D-Pad’ handles several functions such as taunting (down), picking up items (up) and changing inventory items (side).
The heart of MadWorld is points. Points unlock secrets, points make special items appear and points allow you access to the boss battle at the end of the level. The game is divided into five ‘worlds’ each with their own theme, like downtown, china town or haunted theme park, and each of these ‘worlds’ is divided into three stages. The first two are the main game type. You are given a time limit (usually 30 minutes) to cause as much death and destruction as possible to reach a certain point total. To make your points go up faster you have to brutalize your opponents with vicious combos. For example: you grab a tire, ring it around your opponent, and then impale him through the head with a caution sign, finally putting him out of his misery by throwing him into a wall of spikes. The bigger and gorier the combo, the more points you earn. The last level in each world is the boss stage, a one on one battle with a multi-part boss. Every boss battle plays largely the same; you deal enough damage to trigger a series of quick time events that always involve shaking either the Wii Remote or Nunchuck, wash, rinse, repeat until the boss falls and unlocks the next region of Varrigan City. There are also some motorcycle sequences to add some spice but these are few and far between.
MadWorld’s multiplayer is pretty limited. It features a split-screen mode where two players can compete in mini-games to try to earn more points then their opponents. The game has no online modes whatsoever, which is disappointing; because of the games heavy emphasis on points, online leaderboards would have been a good addition.
The first thing anyone will notice about MadWorld is the lack of color. Everything is black and white, only the blood and comic book style visualized sound effects are in vibrant red or yellow respectively. In fact the game borrows heavily from classic graphic novels and comics like Sin City, with its hyper violent stylized art design. MadWorld is sure to turn some heads with its unique art style.
While the Wii may not be a graphical powerhouse like the 360 or PS3 it’s still capable of some pretty impressive visuals. MadWorld is a perfect example of this. The character models look great and the environments are full of activity and life (although it’s mostly death).
Now you might think that since all the locals are black and white that everything might start to look the same. Well think again. The areas Jack visits are all diverse enough that you won’t ever think that you’ve been here before. The only problem I’ve run into with the whole black and white thing is that some items like pills or health onions can get lost in all the action. Other then that both MadWorld’s graphics and style work perfectly together to deliver one of the Wii’s best looking games.
The soundtrack used for MadWorld is without a doubt one of the best the Wii has to offer. The all heavy-rap selection fits perfectly in with the games style, with lyrics often as violent as the action on screen. Now I’m not a big fan of rap music in general, but I will say that MadWorld’s tracks are some of the best the genre has to offer. The voice acting is also top notch. All the characters speak very naturally and the script is solid. But if theirs one thing that will have you either rolling on the floor in laughter or picking up your jaw off the ground in disbelief it’s the announcers. They provide a sort of play by play of your actions in such a ridiculous and humorous way that I would say it almost warrants the price of admission.
If there’s one major knock against MadWorld, its length. On the normal difficulty the game clocks in at around 3-6 hours. Once you’re done with that you can go at it again on a hard mode which, as advertised is hard, and can had some significant hours to your play time, but beyond this and a small multiplayer mode theirs not much to come back for.
MadWorld is the first great Wii game of 2009; however it’s not without its issues. No online and a short campaign hold this game back from perfection. But compared to the interesting story, great gameplay, amazing visuals and fantastic sound design, their almost non-arguments. This is the game Wii owners have been asking for.