Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Avalanche Studios
For starters, I have never watched any of the original Mad Max movies and don’t plan to in the foreseeable future. I can appreciate a post-apocalyptic movie as much as anyone, however Mad Max never interested me until the latest movie Mad Max: Fury Road. This time I decided to give the series a chance, and the movie itself wasn’t terrible. It was visually impressive and the action was top notch. The story made little sense to me and I assume there isn’t much to get from it overall.
As I watched the movie, I thought to myself, this may actually translate well to a video game, with exploration, driving, and explosive action. The barren wasteland would work as the backdrop as well. With the game previously announced, I figured I would watch the movie to see if it would inspire me to try the game and it did. One thing to keep in mind, the two properties do not tie into each other at all.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially since the story isn’t the driving force from what I have seen. Mad Max the game takes a form of its own and that works for and against it. In the game, Max has his car stolen by a group led by Scabrous Scrotus and left to die. You then meet a hunchbacked mechanic named Chumbucket who gives you the “Magnum Opus”, your new vehicle and helps you get your revenge.
At its core, Mad Max is an open world action-adventure game with some simulation components added that is primarily vehicular combat. For starters, your health is gained by finding cans of dog food and water for your canteen, both which are pretty scarce as you would expect. Another feature unique to the game was the need to get gas for your car.
We have had many games in this genre and gas was never a concern when you drove around. In Mad Max, the main element of the game is driving and in an open world, having to search for gas makes things a bit more engaging in my opinion. Since you spend close to 60% of the game in a car, gas is something you will get very familiar with.
Outside of these features, you have the traditional upgrade path for both Max and Magnum Opus. This includes the body of the car to the weapons added like the harpoon, reminiscent of Avalanche Studios’ other franchise, Just Cause. There are a lot of things to do like side missions where you scout out camps and scavenge for parts and other option items like photos of people before the global collapse.
The better portion of the game is when you are on foot and engaging in a Batman: Arkham series-inspired combat system that works well. On foot you will spend most of your time salvaging junk and kicking everyone’s ass. It’s a shame it doesn’t happen that often. Most of your combat will be in the Magnum Opus with Chumbucket riding the back managing your harpoon, or in some cases will drive while you use a sniper rifle for taking out sniper towers.
My biggest issue with Mad Max is the story and characters leave little to be desired. The overall pacing of the game feels forced and tedious. You are focused on getting parts to make your car more indestructible and if this was a game like Driver, I would be ok with that. I’m sure my opinion seems biased, but for an open world game with great on foot combat and gorgeous visuals, the balance of each type of gameplay could’ve been better. This by no way means the game isn’t worth playing.
I think for the type of property Mad Max is, the focus on driving makes the most sense, especially after seeing Fury Road. For me personally, I would prefer not being in a car for the majority of the game. Mad Max runs well, has a lot of content and the vehicular combat is fun, but the overall story missions get repetitive fast and it’s easy to lose the drive to play through to completion. I would recommend Mad Max as a rental or wait for a price drop.