For the 22nd episode of SEGA Sequel Saturdays and following my feature from a couple weeks back on a potential sequel to House of the Dead: Overkill, I thought I’d take a look at another game that targeted the same demographic, MadWorld. It was the first release from the newly-formed Platinum Games, it’s still one of the only games to feature a black and white (and red, of course) color scheme, and it also happens to be one of the funniest games on the Wii system. It was definitely not a game without its share of flaws, but it was what could have been the start of a very promising franchise and it’d be great to see a sequel that expanded on the many great ideas that were only teased in the original.
(Note; We all of course know that MadWorld characters are slated to appear in Platinum Games’ next title, fighting game Anarchy Reigns, though it’s too early to tell whether that actually makes it a sequel to MadWorld or an entirely different type of game that just happens to feature its characters. This feature won’t be about Anarchy Reigns.)
MadWorld was one of those games that seemed a little too good to be true. From acclaimed and very talented developers, it was an M-rated game on the Wii with incredibly high production values, an all-star voice cast, a top-notch soundtrack….and, well, then it had the misfortune of ending at 3 hours and 20 minutes. Now, to be fair, the in-game clock apparently doesn’t take into account deaths or cutscenes, so my completion time was likely closer to 5 hours when all was said and done, but MadWorld to me almost ended up seeming more like a demo than a game. I liked it enough when it was released, finding it to be a fun and worthwhile experience despite also feeling like a missed opportunity, but there’s no doubt that a sequel could, in a lot of ways, be the game that MadWorld should have been.
I’m going to start with one of my favorite features from the original game; the motorcycle missions. Not only did their inclusion add some much-needed gameplay variety to the proceedings, but they were a lot of fun all on their own. I’d hope for more fun stuff like these in a MadWorld sequel, just crazy segments between levels to shake things up a little and allow us to see more of Varrigan City. Maybe even some free-roaming sections? I think it would add a lot to the world.
Next, I’d introduce a leveling up system, or at least the opportunity to learn new powers for Jack. As crazy as the weapon variety was in the first MadWorld, the lack of evolution of the combat system as you progressed through the story made the core gameplay feel repetitive, and it’s something I’d like to see incorporated. It wouldn’t have to be as deep as that of an RPG, but to have one would definitely add variety to the game’s fights.
My other big improvement would be, just like with House of the Dead: Overkill, an option for a harder game than is available on the default setting. Once you beat MadWorld, you unlock a harder mode, but your first playthrough is then almost wasted on a game that rarely felt challenging to me, the occasional cheap boss aside. It’s true that an unlockable hard mode has the potential to add replay value to a game, but then again, the first playthrough is always the most important one, and by making it so easy, I think Platinum Games did it a disservice.
Bosses…oh, the bosses. MadWorld offered some cool bosses, and it’s the type of thing that I think can get even better with a sequel. My advice to Platinum Games would be to allow you to retry a boss if you die, instead of the way it worked in MadWorld, where losing all 3 of your lives, even if on a boss, restarted you back at the beginning of the level. This way the developers would have the freedom to create a more challenging and epic roster of boss fights without worrying about frustrating gamers by sending them back to the very start of the level if they die.
The voice cast must all return, especially Greg Proops and John DiMaggio, whose commentary made MadWorld such a blast to play, and I’d like to see Yasumi Matsuno come back to write the story. Whoever did the superb localization should be back too, as MadWorld’s translation was incredible for a Japanese-developed video game. The hip hop soundtrack should return too, and it would I’m sure be just as awesome.
MadWorld was a game that somehow felt both fun and unfulfilling at the same time. It was, no doubt, incredibly fun and entertaining, but at the same time, it could have been more. It was short, the combat was fun but shallow and a little easy, and there wasn’t much of a chance to get to explore the city or get to know the world in which you were placed. A sequel would take what felt like an awesome demo and build it into a thorough game. Platinum Games has been a rarity in that they make it a point to avoid sequels. Anarchy Reigns is being dubbed by many as a MadWorld sequel, and even that looks to be in an entirely different genre. It will be interesting to see how that game turns out, but I think it would also be interesting to see the MadWorld gameplay and setting, not to mention its cool visual style, revisited in the form of a sequel.
Thoughts, comments, etc? Leave ‘em below.