There’s been a violent change in the KN Office over the last 24 Hours. No longer is the verbal abuse caused now we’re shifting from Microsoft Works to Word a relative problem. Not after we’ve played Madworld.
Our Gorilla tipped this as one of the Top #5 Games of the Year, and he wasn’t far off. We loaded the game up to firstly be utterly blown away by the beautiful presentation. Everything is placed perfectly, and visually the black & white style works better than could ever have been imagined. It’s visually the best Wii Game to only Metroid, Brawl and Mario Galaxy, despite breaking Nintendo’s golden rules that the best-looking games on their systems are full of brightly-coloured objects and blocks. The greyscale scheme only helps set up for the grimness to come.
OK, it’s not as none-the-more-black as it could have been, but Platinum Game’s debut is really good fun. Putting the ‘Laughter’ in ‘Manslaughter’, Platinum have managed to pull off an incredibly polished central mechanism, and while it’s not quite as gleam-until-your-eyes-come-out as the presentation, it’s so much fun you’ll never care.
This central mechanism? Why, it’s brutal murder. We’re not meaning to write off the rest of the Wii’s Adult back-catalogue, but frankly, stick Madworld in the same room as Manhunt, House of the Dead or Resident Evil and it’d pull off one of its infamous murder scenes.
An example of one of our kills saw us sticking a box over someone’s head, while spearing them with a street sign and flinging them into a mincer, as a ton of blood spurts out and brightens up the black-and-white landscape.
Killings can be far more brutal, but often much of the amusement comes from humour. Our best moment in Madworld was discovering we could put a small bin on someone’s head and drop them down the toilet. The literal toilet humour picked up what we would of otherwise described as the worst level in the game.
But we will quickly stop our gushing praise on Madworld to deliver our two main bad points: The game’s bosses are pretty disappointing, as they pose either too much of a challenge or not enough of a challenge, and are a bit uninspiring. Whereas usually you’re dreaming up imaginative ways to pick off enemies, here there’s a set weak point for you to use hero Jack’s chainsaw arm to deliver massive damage to. The other problem is the game’s length. While it can get repetitive in places, you’ll soon enough discover that there’s a new way of killing people with even the same two objects, and it’s so much more fun. However, before you can find a third way, the game will have ended.
We clocked in at 6 Hours, and while it was an amazing amount of fun while it lasted, it’s ultimately too short to be as good as it should have been. But, thankfully, each level is still fun to replay, and even if the loose plot about you being entered into a deadly game show in which the aim is to kill as many as possible is now yet more unhinged.
The game show theme crops up regularly, with some nice cut scenes appearing and even commentary from the show’s hosts. It’s almost funny, and while it’s not as bad-mouthed as House of the Dead: Overkill, Sega’s other big ‘Hardcore Wii’ launch; the language can get a little foul in places. There’s some bizarre hip-hop music accompanying your kills, too.
And, being a Wii game, there was always going to be mini-game, even in this- Possibly the most violent game we’ve ever played, and certainly the most ‘Adult’ game on Nintendo’s format. These small games are poor, and while multi-player compatible, still don’t stand out as anything special.
But, really, the things that sold Madworld to us where the little bits ‘n’ bobs that made not only Platinum’s (Or Clover’s, as they were more-or-less previously known. ) Previous work so enjoyable, but have really made Madworld shine. Outside of murderous toilets, our favourite thing in the entire game was those little Batman-style captions that pop up, saying something like ‘Pow!’ or ‘Kzzzzaaaaaah’ for reasons we and the spellchecker will never understand. But they really add to the comic feel, as do the little strip panels that pop up in boss encounters and before particularly nasty killings.
The game’s scale is huge for a beat ‘em up, with even motorbike-based sections, and while we found these slightly less enjoyable than flinging a man at a moving train and sticking a trumpet up their butt, their far more robust than similar sections in other games.
Still, Madworld looks, well, Mad. In motion, it looks stunning, with the balck and white style melding with the controls in perfect harmony. Watching trailers can only get you so far. You really need to play this game.
With Viewtiful Joe and Okami already under their belts, we never had a doubt that Madworld’s team would pull it off. We just didn’t figure how well they’d manage it. Not for a second did we see ourselves being so immersed in a world of over-the-top violence and imaginative killings. We didn’t stop to think that we’d be skimping off work to come and take another shot at successfully getting three men in a massive fan together. The definitive arcadey feel give the game some extra flavour, with dedicated players, like we turned out to be, chasing high scores and looking for even more amazing kills: We’ll be posting some of our better ones over time on the Forums.
Sega recently said they’re the only Third-Party publisher that gives the Wii any love, and while that isn’t strictly true, they’re certainly leading the way. Madworld is better than 85% of other, Wii or otherwise, games out this year, and is possibly even better than 85% of all beat ‘em ups ever created. When the world goes mad, it’s always going to be Platinum Games you’ll hang on to.