My moments spent playing MadWorld earlier this week had me recalling cult faves like Killer 7 and No More Heroes.
This Platinum Games title brings way-over-the top violence and stylized visuals to the Mii-making masses and backs them with intuitive controls and tight camera work.
Despite the red-heavy screens we've all been looking at since last year, I still wasn't prepared for the game's level of gore. Bloody doesn't approach describing the game. MadWorld's levels are more akin to watching a slaughter house exploding inside your console. Magnifying this crimson bath is the game's otherwise Frank Miller's Sin City-like black and white presentation.
While the attention-demanding artistic design sold me early on, I was still concerned that the Wii's remote waving controls would somehow kill the delivery. But my time controlling chainsaw-wielding mechanic, Jack, squashed my apprehensions like a head in a vice.
Character movement with the analog stick is intuitive, and the camera-centering C button ensures you never miss a second of your thrill-kill spree. While moving Jack with the nunchuck is a workable solution, it's the remote's control of attacks that best delivers the experience. You pull the B trigger to unleash Jack's default chainsaw, and hack vertically or horizontally to chew through baddies with your buzzing blade.
If gibbing bad guys with a whirring blade isn't enough for you, you can grab any enemy by pressing the A button, stun him with a Wii-motioned head butt, then toss him into a variety of unsavory situations. Some of my favorites included the oversized spinning fan blades, the dumpster lid that halves a punk at the waist, and the always reliable wall of spikes.
If there are no context-sensitive kill points within corpse-chucking distance, you can always butt an enemy's noggin till it disappears into a mist of blood and bone. You can also unlock weapons, such as spiked clubs, through successful streaks of brutality. From decapitating and impaling, to face pummeling and crotch kicking, there's little limit to how you can torture, kill, and maim in MadWorld.
The visuals and ultra-violence is the game's obvious draw, but its story, involving a Running Man-esque kill-or-be-killed game show, sets a fun stage and interesting premise for Jack's acts of unbridled violence.
And if the cartoony kills don't tip you off to the game's comedic edge, then the show's commentators, whose F-bombs fly as freely as your antagonist's limbs, will.
This snarky attitude, coupled with the eye-popping graphics and visceral action, make MadWorld a more than welcome addition to the Wii's increasingly tame library.
My one concern with the game is that there is some potential for repetition; jabbing road signs through skulls in a bi-colored environment is a blast for fifteen minutes, but can the awe factor be sustained for several hours?
I guess we'll have to wait and see.