MadWorld - Black, White, And Red All Over

After wowing the assembled press during the demo of Devil May Cry challenger Bayonetta, the folks at PlatinumGames pulled out a demo of another of their upcoming titles, MadWorld. MadWorld places you in the role of Jack, a brutal killer with a chainsaw for an arm. Varrigan city has been taken over by a mysterious organisation known as "The Organisers", who are pitting the city's citizens against a series of mysterious foes in a deadly TV show called Death Watch. Jack must tear his way through hordes of enemies, killing them in creative and humorous ways, earning points to unlock powerups and mini-games as he progresses. Designer Shigenori Nishikawa's plan is to make the violence so over the top that it's humorous, and from what I saw he seems to be succeeding, to a point.

Over the top brutality is key in MadWorld, with the splashes of blood as you impale your foes on signs, slam them into spiked walls, or toss them against the side of a speeding subway car is the only real colour in the game. Other fatalities included using two knives to lift an enemy over your head, tearing him in two, and tossing a guy into a dumpster which slams shut, cutting him in half.

All of this brutality took place over the course of 10 minutes as a pair of television commentators provided a humorous play by play of the action, judging your violence and arguing over when exactly one of your victims died. I'm thinking that most of the humour of the game will spring from the two disembodied voices, as without them the demo I saw would have been simple senseless killing.

Once Jack killed enough people an elevator opened up, leading to the level boss. As our hero moved forward to engage a giant creature with a spiked ball, the demo ended. Poo.

MadWorld worries me a bit. While the stylized black and white graphics looked spectacular and make for some excellent screenshots, I'm not sure how well it will hold up over the long run. I really liked the movie Sin City the first time I saw it, but it just didn't hold up over subsequent viewings. On top of the graphical issue, the killings were pretty repetitive, even in the short demo we saw. Three guys slammed into a spiked wall, two guys with street signs through their skulls...amazing the first time you see it, sure, but the shock quickly faded, leaving "okay, what else?" sort of feeling.

Is MadWorld going to be a revolution in over-the-top violence, or a case of more style, not enough substance? What am I, Dr. FutureMan?


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