Mad Max’s desolate, derelict, and violent world may look like an inhospitable wasteland, but the game is a surprisingly welcoming adventure which scuffs you up, steals your belongings, and leaves you coming back for more again and again.
Here’s 5 reasons we love Avalanche Studios’ new Mad Max adventure:
A great aspect to Mad Max is that the game respects and takes inspiration from the original film trilogy as well as the more-recent Fury Road, but thrives on its own telling of the story with new characters and new scenarios, albeit in the same gasoline-fueled nightmare. The story is still all about Max – a man haunted by demons, looking for peace in a world of lawlessness, thirst and casual violence. He drives, he searches and he fights. That’s enough.
With the pedigree of Avalanche Studios’ Just Cause as a base, it’s no surprise that the vehicle combat is tight and satisfying as anything. The buggies, cars and spike-enhanced trucks move fast and handle with a satisfying sense of weight and traction. Enemy vehicles work in packs, and need to be rammed, sideswiped or blasted off the road. It’s incredibly exhilarating when shotgunning a rival driver or ramming a bandit off the road into a flaming ball of carnage. There’s also a handy harpoon, which can be used to tear bumpers, panels, doors and even drivers from enemy cars.
The action’s just as good on foot. With only one ranged weapon and very limited amounts of ammo, the focus is very much on hand-to-hand and melee combat. A shotgun blast or a thrown petrol can is handy for whittling the numbers down, but in the end you’ll have to get up close and personal. Here, Mad Max goes for a brutal, scrappy take on fisticuffs based on fast attacks, blocks and counters, where success relies on watching for the incoming attack markers and countering just in time before dishing out a beating. Get a chain of attacks going and duck incoming blows, and Max goes into ‘fury mode’, moving faster and doing extra damage. This is not a clean or sophisticated brawler, but it is a satisfying one.
The world at your disposal
Beyond this, you’ll spend a lot of time scavenging and looting, collecting scrap that can be used to upgrade Max’s gear or the Magnum Opus, plus parts that can be taken to a range of allied strongholds to give you supplies of fuel, water, food or ammunition. The wastelands are littered with enemy camps, rusting hulks and abandoned buildings, all of which can be rifled through for useful stuff once any guardians are disposed of. The game lets you tackle these your way, using a sniper rifle from the back of the car to take out sentries, or using the harpoon to drag guard towers down. Bar a few odd and artificial restrictions, gates can be rammed, blown up or pulled down.
Scruffy but gorgeous
While Mad Max is a relatively dirty and rough experience (as it should be), the game is incredibly pretty. A lot of open world games suffer from drab landscapes, but this is a situation Mad Max avoids by squeezing a surprising beauty and variety out of its cliffs, dried-up riverbeds and deserts, its bleached-out sunlight and fierce electrical storms. Max himself is detailed and moves naturally with Avalanche’s great animation system. Everything just looks right and fits into the gritty and beloved world.
Played Mad Max? What are your favourite things about the game? Let us know in the comments section below…