After watching the incredible Mad Max Fury Road, I was very excited to see Avalanche Studios pick up the Mad Max universe. I feel few developers have tackled the wasteland setting effectively. Luckily, Avalanche took this opportunity to create an awesome world and i think a great open world game for players who love a bit of linearity. Mad Max starts you off with a few opening cutscenes showing you the events from the fall of the old world. You start off with Max who gets everything taken away from him by Scabrous Scrotus, the most feared warlord of The Wasteland and ruler of Gastown.
Max gets woken up by a stray dog who eventually joins him on his journey. You meet up with Chumbucket who is a master mechanic and drives alongside you in your Magnum Opus. The Magnum Opus is a car that Chumbucket believes is the ultimate car sent by the deity “Angel Combustion”. While the story isn’t much, I feel like your journey in the Magnum Opus more than makes up for it. You do cross paths with plenty of stronghold leaders and survivors, but there’s really not much to it in terms of something deeper besides Max trying to get revenge on Scrotus for taking all his belongings. I kind of compare it to western RPGS which have very simple stories, but rely on the players journey to create a progressive experience.
At the start, your Magnum Opus is as barebones as it gets. But as you progress, you start getting access to weaponry which can really turn the tide against a majority of the enemies chasing you. The harpoon, one of the earliest weapons, is my absolute favorite as it doesn’t require ammo and has small reload times. It’s extremely powerful in high speed bouts and can usually take out enemies with one well placed shot. Mad Max gives you aiming controls when shooting something out your vehicle. It does so in two ways: one is auto aim, which instantly targets certain parts of the enemies vehicleÂ depending on the way your vehicle is facing; the other is manual aim that goes into bullet time for easier aiming since you areÂ often driving at high speeds.
Other weapons in your car include shotguns, sniper rifles, spiked wheels and the most explosive of them all; the Thunderpoons. Thunderpoons are the most dangerous weapons since they are highly explosive but i could never get to many of them, so i always resorted to the harpoon. Sniper rifles and shotguns do exactly what you’d expect, but you will be using the sniper rifles more to infiltrate camp sites much easier as many of them have protected security.
Riding Your Magnum Opus feels great. It rides exactly how you’d expect it to. It covers terrain well enough early in the game, but once you start upgrading it truly does feel like you’re in this big blockbuster movie. And to even make your Magnum Opus more original, you have tons of customization options such as color, different emblems and decorations all acquired with scrap collected in the Wasteland. If you’re not about customizing your own Magnum Opus, you can ride and keep a collection of your enemies’ vehicles.
Some of those vehicles are very unique in weaponry and can help you infiltrate enemies camp sites alot more efficiently. Lastly, you can choose pre-configured versions of the Magnum Opus called Archangels; each featuring its own unique style and handling. Â At first it may seem a bit overwhelming with character progression and vehicles, but one thing this game does right, it holds your hand just right and then gives you enough control to make your own decisions without confusing you.
You’re not always driving in Mad Max, so of course Max has a few options for protecting himself in the wasteland. The combat system in Mad Max is very similar to the free roam combat in the Batman Arkham series. Both games coming from Warner Bros, so it wouldn’t surprise me that Avalanche used the exact system. What i really found strange is that Mad Max one ups Batman in terms of being more visceral and having way better animations. The combat is definitely more grounded and does a good job of showing Max as a bad-ass. As you continue to chain attacks without getting hit, you go into fury mode which increases all your attack damage and also shows off Max’s wrestling ability. His move set is very inspired by wrestling. It’s fun to look at and very aggressive.
What i did like about the combat is how the enemies just go all in and aren’tÂ afraid to fight even in groups forcing you to learn to parry and counter; which are done by pressing the triangle button. Well-timed parries are rewarded with more fury meter gain and a counter attack. You can gain additional moves by leveling up your skills and also as you progress you get brass knuckles which inflict more damage. Combat may get repetitive since it’s very simple, but you Â can spice it up sometimes by picking up enemy weapons and throwing around gas cans for bigger brawls.
So while on foot, Max infiltrates enemy camp sites for several objectives. There’s several ways to tackle these missions. A common way would be taking enemies cars you find out in the wasteland and going in undetected so you don’t alarm any security. That particular way can help you clear the entrance and also take out the snipers or any other traps they may have waiting for you at the front gates. Another way is going on foot and finding the hidden passage that can lead you directly into their base and can help you take out enemies much more silently. Obviously you can always go in guns blazing, which does work better sometimes. But either way, you can choose how you want to approach things.
One thing I appreciate about these enemy camp sites is the game keeps track of everything you collect so you really don’t have to go crazy thinking you missed everything. That right there makes me enjoy the game more since it doesn’t waste my time in certain areas since everything you discover in Mad Max can be turned into skill of some sort. Not all strongholds are easy though, so be prepared for a lot of death. Usually the harder camp sites have a War leaders which are mini bosses and must be defeated to take over the camp site. They are typically fun fights and a nice break from fighting lower level enemies.
Graphically Mad Max is gorgeous, and definitely a jump over any other open world game released. The vistas are beautiful even though it’s a desert wasteland there’s just so much polish into it. Mad Max also has one of the best looking skies i’ve ever seen in gaming. Whether its sunny or overcast, sometimes it’s worth it to take a break from driving to take in the views. The sand stormsÂ are also breathtaking and are very intense with broken pieces of scraps flying all over the place, which can hit you if you’re not in a safe place. While the game is very polished, one thing you may notice is that there is barely any music while just driving around doing missions. Only at specific points do you hear a soundtrack It’s not really a bad thing since Spotify goes perfectly with a game like this. It would have been a nice touch though. Overall, gamers who want to try something solid and highly polished should definitely check out Mad Max as it’s a game you can enjoy for hours with it’s breathtaking graphics and it’s solid gameplay.
Â Mad Max was reviewed on PS4. Also Available on Xbox One, and PC.