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 Post subject: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-22 02:08am
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Since Madworld came out there's been distinctly little talk about it in any circles that happen to overlap with my own Venn Diagram of experience. In fact the sole piece of reporting that I've really seen on it post-release relates to how "poorly" it's sold thus far.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I saw no advertising for this game. Not online, in print, on TV or in the cinema. It seemed that they were solely relying on the buzz created by the art and the fact that it was a "mature game on the Wii".

Oooh, yes. How positively shocking. A mature video game. It doesn't seem particularly mature to me. In fact it seems positively juvenile - but I suppose that's half the fun of it. I really consider it a sad state of affairs if "gallons of blood explode geyser-like out of a stump from a chainsawed limb" is considered to be the defining factor in what is "mature" and what is not.

Another bit of buzz in the lead up to the release of this game was that was being developed by some new American/Western development house created by SEGA. Part of a new wave of games designed to break the trends of old. But for the most part I feel like I'm playing a game so firmly rooted in the tropes of the 16bit era that I have to remind myself that this is 2009.

The story dialogue in this game is presented in the classic Japanese unskippable-floating-text-box-with-character-portrait-cutscene style. Don't tell me that you budget was so tight or room on the DVD so sparse that you couldn't get some voices in there for these scenes. They are few and far between and the fact that I never hear the voice of anyone actually in the world puts me off. And the fact that the story has to be delivered in such a way is even more disappointing.

Then we have the fact that this game still has lives. Yes. Lives. As in you die, you use a life and get to continue. Last I checked my Wii doesn't have a slot for me to pump coins into so this is an automatic devaluation in my mind.

Levels aren't particularly long, but for me anything more than 10 minutes without a save is annoying. And this game doesn't have saves. If you don't finish all the sections of a level before quitting then you don't have your progress saved. You get to go back to the very start. Personally, I think that if you have to have a load event to move into a new area, then the very least you can do is have a goddamn checkpoint there to allow the player to restart from there.

The gameplay isn't particularly deep, instead relying on player creativity and the visuals to keep interest going. And combining this kind of uninteresting combat with the quite frankly awful control scheme that this game has just results in frustration. The way the controls are in this game seems to be tailored to make them as unfriendly and unresponsive as possible. All too often you will end up facing the wrong way and attacking the air or having one of many, many, many context sensitive actions fail because you couldn't keep the camera aimed at exactly the right spot.

In combination, all these factors make me feel like I'm playing a B-grade brawler on the Megadrive. In fact, I'd be tempted to label Madworld as "The Wii's Altered Beast" if it wasn't for the fact that the game has style on it's side.

A few games have been accused of putting style over substance and only rarely has this accusation been more accurately levelled or the crime been more egregious. And I can take a lighter approach to sentencing here as Madworld revels in it's style - through the gritty black and white lense they're able to get away with a lot more. This ultra-violence is at the heart of the game's commentary, the focus is put on why ultra-violence is an accepted spectacle and supported. But this "social commentary" seems a bit off-the-mark, especially given how actively the game tries to alienate you.

Really, Madworld should be so much better than it is. All it would have taken is someone to take a stand and go: "It's not 1992. We have the technology. We can do so much more than Streets of Rage now." But it seems at every turn the easy decisions were made - to fall back on cheap, stale and boring design which ultimately saddles this game with so many issues as to make it unenjoyable. Combine this with some ridiculous technical issues - like how the game plays at some weird resolution giving you a top, bottom and sides letterbox effect cutting your viewable screen area significantly, and the continuing inability for Wii controllers to reliably pick up what's being input in gestural commands and the game enters the realm of painfully disagreeable. And for a game that should have been the perfect stress-reliever, this outcome is just criminal.



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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-22 02:12am
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I tried playing Madworld for about an hour. The controls were fine, but I found the graphics to be the most offensive. The sheer amount of black and white just made everything bleed together where it made my head hurt to keep looking at the screen. Frank Miller movies don't have this much black and white for fuck's sake.



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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-22 04:07am
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Uhm... it does have voice acting. In every scene. Are you absolutely sure you didn't dream those text boxes?

Your other complaints I can understand. Personally I didn't think the graphical style detracted from the game at all once you take a minute to get used to it, but I suppose that's going to be a highly subjective thing. It can and does get confusing.

The gameplay for me failed because it feels very stop-and-go. There's very little flow to the way combat works since you're always focussing on one enemy in the pack, trying to rack up as much points before killing him. Combined with attacks that usually make you come to a complete stop to execute them it never gives the game a sense of motion or flow.

The controls didn't bother me as much as the godawful camera and lock-on system did. There is *no* free camera, at all, even though they could have easily added it with one button + the pointer and made the game infinitely less frustrating that way. Worse, the lock-on takes a few seconds to "take", there's no clear indicator that you're actually locked on, and breaking lock-on only works when you least need it.

As for the game's supposed "maturity", that's just the M-rating talking. It's not grown up, it's just Tom & Jerry with gore, or Itchy & Scratchy: The Game. It's not like the developers were trying to present it as actually mature, it's more a Grindhouse-style tongue-in-cheek thing.

Overall I thought it was a nice idea with flawed execution. When the game gets on a roll, and especially in some of the boss fights, it's good and fun and funny (especially the commentators, even if they repeat themselves a lot), but it really needed extra development time to sort out the camera problems and maybe polish the GUI to make things more accessible. I don't regret buying the game because there's really nothing quite like it in terms of style, and it is amusing, but truth be told I wouldn't recommend anyone buy it until it gets to the bargain bin.

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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-22 04:33am
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There's lots of Commentary and the Black Baron and jibes, but whenever there's story to be delivered it's been pure MGS CrossCom bullshit with text only.

What you say about combat is also right. I want to smash two enemies heads together or do other shit to feel like I'm doing more than fighting one guy at once.

And yeah, as I mentioned (far too briefly considering how fucking annoying it is), the camera is shit.



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Last edited by weemadando on 2009-04-22 04:39am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-22 04:36am
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weemadando wrote:
There's lots of Commentary and the Black Baron and jibes, but whenever there's story to be delivered it's been pure MGS CrossCom bullshit with text only.


The only time I remember seeing those boxes is in the tutorial. The cutscenes between missions are regular in-engine stuff with voice-acting - like, say, the scene with the doctor, or Jack sending up the beacon.

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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-22 04:41am
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Well considering that I had to play the tutorial about 6 fucking times because I kept having to stop playing and thus going ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE START OF THE GAME FROM THE FINALE OF THE STATION LEVEL that's the one that's stuck in my mind the most.



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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-22 07:33am
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There was definitely advertising, on television and the nets. Gaming shows (online and on television) talked about it a lot. I would have bought it if I had a Wii.



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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-22 08:54am
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Schuyler Colfax wrote:
There was definitely advertising, on television and the nets. Gaming shows (online and on television) talked about it a lot. I would have bought it if I had a Wii.


Aren't you fifteen or something? Would you even be allowed to buy it?

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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-22 12:52pm
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Bounty wrote:
Schuyler Colfax wrote:
There was definitely advertising, on television and the nets. Gaming shows (online and on television) talked about it a lot. I would have bought it if I had a Wii.


Aren't you fifteen or something? Would you even be allowed to buy it?
That's like saying there's no way for me to get into an R rated movie. And yet I do, I wonder how.



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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-23 10:22pm
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Shush child, we don't talk about illegal things around here.

Wait, is it illegal? Fucking rating guides.

I was interested in the game, saw it on TV, Bounty talked about it (and then kept quiet, thanks!). But I'm not sure I'm going to bother now. Not even a rental.

Was Metroid Prime 3 any good? That's the game I originally planned to buy with the system, but I just never got around to it. And is Wii Sports seriously the most polished game to come out that doesn't feature Mario or some other Nintendo character?



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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-24 03:08am
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Was Metroid Prime 3 any good? That's the game I originally planned to buy with the system, but I just never got around to it. And is Wii Sports seriously the most polished game to come out that doesn't feature Mario or some other Nintendo character?


MP3 is very good. Did you play the GC games? It's like those, but with better controls and in my opinion often better level design too.

Who calls Wii Sports "polished"?

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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-24 08:16am
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Bounty wrote:
Quote:
Was Metroid Prime 3 any good? That's the game I originally planned to buy with the system, but I just never got around to it. And is Wii Sports seriously the most polished game to come out that doesn't feature Mario or some other Nintendo character?


MP3 is very good. Did you play the GC games? It's like those, but with better controls and in my opinion often better level design too.

Who calls Wii Sports "polished"?

Seconded, MP3 is extremely good, better than MP1/2 (And isn't as annoyingly hard in some parts, though I haven't advanced past the "Get a nuke on steamworld" level in over a year).
And yeah, Wii sports feels more like a demo, it'd be absurdly easy to add more options to it. It's immensely popular due to distribution, not addictiveness/quality (though the nonexistant barrier of entry is a major contributing part)



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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-24 11:29am
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Phantasee wrote:
Shush child, we don't talk about illegal things around here.

Wait, is it illegal? Fucking rating guides.

I was interested in the game, saw it on TV, Bounty talked about it (and then kept quiet, thanks!). But I'm not sure I'm going to bother now. Not even a rental.

Was Metroid Prime 3 any good? That's the game I originally planned to buy with the system, but I just never got around to it. And is Wii Sports seriously the most polished game to come out that doesn't feature Mario or some other Nintendo character?


In the States, ratings guidelines are only enforceable by the place selling the game/tickets. NC-17 might fall under that whole "porn" thing but they're so rare as to be irrelevant.



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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-27 01:39pm
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l've shown some interest in it, but the shortness of the game is the main reason l've gone a touch cold about it. l still want it, even acknowledging these problems, but l'll wait till l see it going nice and cheap first. Seen it advertised on telly, and quite a lot online. Probably the most marketed third party Wii game l can think of.

Has anyone here played House of the Dead: Overkill on the Wii? That looks pretty fun too. They're the sorts of games that might end up as a two for one at Game by Christmas...

For now the only thing l plan on buying full price is the Conduit, when it's released.

Also, MP3 is indeed pretty fun.



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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-27 11:27pm
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Lord Woodlouse wrote:
Has anyone here played House of the Dead: Overkill on the Wii? That looks pretty fun too. They're the sorts of games that might end up as a two for one at Game by Christmas...
Can't say I've played it, but there're two major points against it that I've heard:

Unlimited Ammo for special weapons.
Neigh unlimited/unlimited credits.

Other than those, it's said to be basically an old school rail-shooter, like the other HotD games.



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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-28 03:28am
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Lord Woodlouse wrote:
l still want it, even acknowledging these problems, but l'll wait till l see it going nice and cheap first.


Same here, at first I thought "hey, there's a game that will make me want to use my girlfriend's Wii for once", but after what you guys said I won't waste much money on it.



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 Post subject: Re: Madworld ramblings. PostPosted: 2009-04-29 04:16am
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DEATH wrote:
Bounty wrote:
Quote:
Was Metroid Prime 3 any good? That's the game I originally planned to buy with the system, but I just never got around to it. And is Wii Sports seriously the most polished game to come out that doesn't feature Mario or some other Nintendo character?


MP3 is very good. Did you play the GC games? It's like those, but with better controls and in my opinion often better level design too.

Who calls Wii Sports "polished"?

Seconded, MP3 is extremely good, better than MP1/2 (And isn't as annoyingly hard in some parts, though I haven't advanced past the "Get a nuke on steamworld" level in over a year).
And yeah, Wii sports feels more like a demo, it'd be absurdly easy to add more options to it. It's immensely popular due to distribution, not addictiveness/quality (though the nonexistant barrier of entry is a major contributing part)


I actually rather like Wii Sports, though I agree that it seems more like a tech demo than a full game (which would surely have been relatively easy to expand it into). I have heard that the plan for Wii Sports Resort is to make more of a full game out of it, so given how I regularly play Wii Sports and I definitely want a Wii MotionPlus, it's going to be a guaranteed purchase for me.



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