See you in Hell, Jack!
MadWorld is a game that I've been following for quite a while, and my general anticipation for it has been fluctuating all along. A first glance suggested that it would offer tons of style and personality, yet it remained to be seen how the gameplay would back up that initial impression. The result simultaneously hit all my hopes and fears, as MadWorld has a great presentation, but lacks the substance to have any lasting appeal.
The main thing that MadWorld lacks is pure content. This is a criminally short game- it took me no more than four hours to beat the game in its entirety. At the same time, I don't know that I would have wanted the game to be any longer. MadWorld feels like it paces itself with the knowledge that it only has a limited number of tricks, and decides to quit once they've all been played. As a result, there is just enough variety to carry you to the game's end, but if it tried to go any further then things would probably start to break down. The combat is serviceable, but can get a little button-mashy and repetitive. The controls could also use a little fine tuning- most notably in the camera department. These are issues that almost certainly would become huge downers in the long run, but the game's pacing and length make sure that they don't have time to bother you too much.
While MadWorld may only last four hours at best, it's still a pretty sweet ride. The game has a great presentation, as the Sin City inspired visuals look fantastic. The story and characters are also likable, though a whole lot more could have been done with them. In the end though, MadWorld's presentation is all about the bloody carnage. This game isn't for the feint of heart, as a lot of the satisfaction it offers comes from its over-the-top violence and brutality. The amount of horrible, horrible things you can do to people are seemingly endless, and most of them maintain their visceral impact from start to finish- unadulterated violence has never been this thrilling. The upbeat soundtrack only helps to make the game more ridiculous, but it's the commentators that really push the absurdity over the top. Ranging from vulgar to hysterical, these two guys never stop talking throughout the entire game, and add a ton of personality to everything you do. While many of their lines will be repeated numerous times, the commentators ended up being one of my favorite parts of the game. The other big highlight would be the boss fights, which all had their own unique twist, and were generally good challenges to boot.
MadWorld has a lot of good things going for it- the problem is simply that it doesn't have nearly enough content to justify a $50 price tag. It's a game that would have been a must buy at a budget price, but becomes a hard sell otherwise. Thus, my personal recommendation is to find some way to play the game for less than $50. Rent, borrow, steal- whatever it takes. It's totally worth your four hours, but absolutely not worth your fifty bucks.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.