MadWorld Review



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Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sega
Platform: Wii
Genre: Beat ‘em Up
Players: Single, Multiplayer
Input: Nunchuk, Wii Remote
Crude Humor
Sexual Themes
Violence
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Visually arresting, unapologetically vulgar, and unrelentingly violent, MadWorld is hands down the best action brawler on the Wii.

The story revolves around the gruff voiced Jack, a man with a chainsaw attached to his arm. Kind of a mix of Solid Snake, Wolverine, The Punisher and every badass anti hero-with-a-mysterious-past archetype that we’ve become accustomed to, he enters the Deathwatch tournament-a game show whose object is to obviously kill your way to the top. But Jack appears to have another agenda. Presided over by the hilarious pimp, The Black Baron, and with color commentators played by comedian Greg Proops and veteran voice actor John DiMaggio, the Deathwatch tournament provides entertainment for the masses and a source of gambling revenue for the tournament backers.

Whew, it's a good thing I saw those caution signs...

Whew, it's a good thing I noticed the caution signs...

The technical limitations of the Wii forced developer Platinum Games to be creative and in the end it has paid off immensely. MadWorld is presented in stark black and white (with copious amounts of red), as if Frank Miller’s graphic novel Sin City were made into a video game. The visuals serve to make the game really stand out, and boy does it ever. gg

There are just so many ways to neutralize your opponents in this game. You can simply punch and kick them until you can perform one of many gruesome fatalities on them, most often involving the chainsaw. Let your imagination fill in the rest. Or you can simply chainsaw your way through your enemies for quick kills. Or you can pick up melee weapons like spiked bats or daggers. Or you can throw them into environmental hazards like engine turbines or electrical grids. You are encouraged to kill your foes in the most brutal methods possible to score the most points (the quicker you reach a high score, the sooner you reach an awesome boss battle.) There is a “signature move” that proceeds as follows: wrap an old tire around some thug, run him through with a street sign, and then impale him on a wall of spikes, not once, but repeatedly. Yes, the violence is wanton, but it is so over the top that it’s comical. It’s more like Itchy and Scratchy than Texas Chainsaw Massacre. No, scratch that, it’s Itchy and Scratchy combined with Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Well, the fact that the Black Baron returns after every time he’s killed by his “attentive employee” during a minigame demo shows you that the game doesn’t take itself seriously.

MadWorld isn’t perfect though. It’s over too quickly (a little over four hours). The camera could be a little more cooperative. The monochromatic visuals look great but they can also be a hindrance during some busy battles. The announcers repeat themselves often. (Their improv during the end credits are a riot, though.) But these flaws are handily outclassed by its intense gameplay, dark humor, and unique art design. Like the best thrill rides, MadWorld is a ridiculously fun experience despite its brevity. Just keep it far, far away from the kiddies.

The city takes drastic measures to curb graffiti.

The city takes drastic measures to curb graffiti.

Pros:

  • Intense action
  • Huge variety of ways to neutralize foes
  • Incredible boss battles
  • Striking visuals

Cons:

  • Over too quickly
  • Camera uncooperative at times
  • Commentators are repetitive

Final Verdict: Enshrine It

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