For those of you who have enjoyed the fairly recent Mad Max: Fury Road starring Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky (yes, he does actually have a last name) or the past Mad Max movies where Mel Gibson starred as Max, don’t expect to play as either one of the actors that represented Max. Instead you get to play as completely separate Max created specifically for the game, but fear not, it’s essentially the same old Max with the same old motives; help people for self-interest but ultimately end up getting attached to the remnants of civilisation.
The story within Mad Max revolves around Max trying to get his car back (The Magnum Opus) after Immortan Joe’s son, Scabrous Scrotus, steals his car and resources and leaves Max for dead in the middle of a desert.
Max slowly assembles a new powerful car with the help of Chumbucket, a blackfinger who assists Max under the self-inflicted belief that Max is a saint sent to him by his god, Max encounters remnants of civilisation that have camped up in shabby settlements who require his help in exchange for information and equipment Max requires to advance in his hunt through the barbarous wasteland for the Magnum Opus and get revenge on Scabrous Scrotus.
Scabrous Scrotus. Handsome fella’ ain’t he?
At first, it seemed to me that the game world would be barren with little to do, but the world was effectively filled with enemy outposts and small enemy camps, friendly factions that dwell in large settlements, and a side faction ran by a flamboyant character called Crow Dazzle that deals with organised racing. The world being filled with these factions, and others I haven’t mentioned, the seeming barren wasteland is not as barren as you’d think a desert would be. The world is brimming with content outside of the main storyline, such as small encounters with wanderers, roaming War Boys, Buzzards, and War Parties.
There are also remnants of the old world I came into contact with, like large bridges looming over the desert, photos of the times that were with little notes on the back and the large repurposed bases that the friendly factions dwelt within.
Yup. People live there.
There are 4 settlements for 4 different parts of the map that gave me bonuses such as auto-looting scrap (which is used as currency to upgrade the Magnum Opus or improving the skills and armour of Max), refilling all my ammo or my canteen if I completed the required missions for the settlement in that area.
Most of these side missions were a variation of collecting parts to assemble the object that will provide the bonus, which were conveniently found in the centre of enemy camps where I had to fight my way through.
Essentially, the missions boiled down to ‘go clear out the enemy camp and find the required part’, which became repetitive as I progressed through the game and became overpowered compared to the enemies I was fighting. However, clearing out the enemy camps did serve a function outside of grinding for scrap, for every enemy camp I cleared out, the danger in the area decreased which proved for safer travelling and the decrease of War Parties appearing.
The hand-to-hand combat in the game uses the same system as the Batman: Arkham games, which revolves around dodging enemies attacks hitting Triangle/Y/Whatever keyboard key an unfortunate player who doesn’t have a controller for their PC uses, and counter-attacking now that they’re open. Although what sets the Mad Max melee combat apart from the Batman: Arkham games combat is the fighting style Max uses.
Where in the Arkham games you play as a fully trained martial artist known as The Batman, in Mad Max you play as an ex-police officer who is surviving, and the melee combat reflects that. Max uses anything and everything to help him win a fight, including (but not exclusively): knifes, exploding spears, metal pipes and etc., alongside the weapons, Max’s melee arsenal includes dropkicks, suplexes, arm breaking and pinning an enemy up against a wall and repetitively punching them until they fall to the floor.
Chumbucket is the only bae
If the ruthless hand-to-hand combat didn’t quench your thirst for violence, Max is not called a Road Warrior because he’s a responsible citizen who drives safely in a mini-van, he’s as ferocious behind the wheel as he is in front of a dozen War Boys determined to kill him and the game wasn’t afraid parade this.
Max doesn’t only ram enemy cars to damage them, he has his trusty sawed-off shotgun which you can use to shoot the fuel tank of an enemy car, instantly killing them, a spear which can rip off armour, wheels and even yank the driver out of the enemy cars, leaving the car to wander off uselessly, and an exploding harpoon which does massive damage when thrown at the enemies.
During my playthrough I came up against large War Parties, with cars that doused the Magnum Opus in flames if I got too close. There were other cars that had War Boys leaping onto the Magnum Opus, attacking Maxes health instead of the car, which had forced me swerve, trying to throw him off the car while simultaneously trying to ram and shoot out the tires of the cars overrunning me. These moments weren’t few and far between either, I constantly found myself fighting myself out of difficult situations where I was getting overrun by War Parties and had to use everything at my disposal to work my way out of them.
I went into the game without any information except for the trailer I saw with the only expectations coming from the movies I had seen, what I found was that the game effectively puts you in the shoes of Max Rockatansky and shows you the world from his eyes.
The combat is very fluid and extreme, whether you’re fighting behind the wheel of your pimped out car, or behind your fists studded with jagged metal and allows you be to fully immersed in this post apocalyptic wasteland where everything seems out to get you.
However, the storyline in Mad Max is lacking and feels bolted on. I found myself playing through it simply to unlock the upgrades that were locked until you completed a main storyline mission.
With the lack of an excellent storyline, the game still has a lot of content in the form of side missions (albeit a fair amount of them being repetitive) that allow the you to enter the ruthless racing ring of Crow Dazzle and gain fame in the form of NPCs recognising you from your victories, liberate large bases for larger rewards and uncover stories of what was people did to survive as the world was falling into turmoil.
Mad Max had excellent combat with a beautiful and immersive world but fell short when it came to its story, leaving the side missions to tell a better story in its stead.
I give Mad Max a 3.5/5