Mad Max

Mad Max is yet another game adapted from a film trying to popularise on an already existing fan base and attempting to keep the hard-core gamers happy by throwing in a few new aspects into an already existing game frame. The game is not based on any of the movies, instead it’s based on the Mad Max universe and intended to be a standalone story.

As a lover of any game or film that is set in a post-apocalyptic waste land, I was highly anticipating the release of the Mad Max game, but would they mess this sandbox world up and have it end up being like so many others: just another generic world with copy and paste landscapes? Well let’s find out…

The opening to Mad Max starts out with our reluctant hero screeching down the highway in his black on black Interceptor like the badass he is, when in the rear view mirror he spots a pack of roaming war boys with the full intent of taking everything he has and then some. What follows is an awe inspiring cinematic where our hero bravely fights back against the war boys and, right at the beginning, we introduce our villain Scabrous Scrotus wielding a weapon that looks like something that was crafted out of duct tape and chicken wire with a chainsaw stuck on the end. But Scrotus is a lot tougher than he looks and manages to fend Max off even after taking a blood splattered chainsaw to the face! So that’s how our story begins with Max bloodied, bruised and left for dead in the middle of this vast post-apocalyptic wasteland dessert. The story will grip you, much like it did me, though it threw a spanner into the works at one point, when I started chanting along with the crowd after a rather epically proportioned race but failed to realise that I was in fact actually chanting about my what was soon to be my own demise. Oops… I don’t want to spoil the game for you but I’m sure you will realise when it happens to you.

My two favourite characters in the game are your faithful dog (Dinki Di), who we saw in the opening scenes used to belong to Scabrous Scrotus but was beaten half to death and left for dead like Max, and Chumbucket your trusty wasteland mechanic and although he looks like a reject from the hunchback of Notre dame with an odd obsession with Max being an angel sent down to us from heaven (Bless The Angel Combustion). But at least this weirdo knows more than a thing or two about cars and engines. You are introduced to both of these eccentric characters during the opening to the game (but then again who in the wasteland is actually normal).

The Main objective of the game starts out with our antihero wanting to get back his interceptor but after being convinced by Chumbucket they join forces to build a better vehicle dubbed the Magnum Opus. With Chumbuckets rather zealot beliefs this is not going to be an easy task, but it’s going to be one hell of a vehicle!

A Sandbox World With Vehicles is not done too often but I have to admit that the developers actually did a rather good job of it The game is not littered with items to collect everywhere but are instead clustered into ruins, underground hideaways and piles of old rusty scrap. This means you are able to drive around this rather vast wasteland and truly test out the speed of your cars, smash up a load of roaming war boys or maybe even take on a convoy. If you’re feeling tough enough that is.

When it comes to building the Magnum Opus it can actually be quite complex it’s not just a case of slapping on all the most powerful components you have to balance your speed and acceleration with your armour and attacking abilities so you need to find out what kind of driving style is best for you. Personally I like to go for a nice balance with a little bit of armour but with good handling. Alternately, you can just go full tank armour and smash your opponents out of the way with brute force, or just light armour and tactically weave in and out to take them out with a sneaky pit manoeuvre. As well as the Magnum Opus there are what I like to think of as “sub cars” known as Archangels all of chums design in which specific pieces are required in order to build them and each given their own identifying name. In order to gain all of these beauties’ you will have to do a lot of grinding for scrap but it’s worth it.

Not everything is done from behind the seat of a steering wheel in fact I spent roughly half of the time on foot, as a lot of the places Max will visit are just inaccessible with a vehicle (I have tried on more than a few occasions to get the magnum opus over a barrier only to get wedged in place and have to fast travel to fix it). As a result you will need to familiarise yourself with hand to hand combat: I have to do a little bit of naming and shaming here because Warner Brothers have used almost the exact same combat system as the Batman Arkham series but I have to admit that it works and as the saying goes “don’t fix it if it’s not broken”. As well as levelling up the Magnum Opus there is also a lot of levelling up Max. Some of this is done using scrap for upgrading the shotgun, or strapping more bits of tat to yourself that somehow counts as viable armour, but the rest of this is done by the way of a mysterious wasteland mystic called Griffa who periodically helps Max unlock the inner recesses of his true ability. As you play you will gain Griffa Tokens by completing tasks, such as killing a set amount of bad guys, just through playing through the game normally. Griffa definitely reaches 11 on the weirdo scale, always talking as if he is from some sort of drug induced vision quest.
Wastelands can be a vast and empty spaces where you might have travel for several miles, with only sand dunes and the remains of roads to keep you company, but there are a few ways to scout the landscape for potential threats and scavenger sites. The first and easiest way is to drive to a good vantage point and use the binoculars (or long seers as they are so aptly dubbed) but places can be missed this way. The second is by traveling to a hot air balloon and ascending to the skies to get a buzzard’s eye view of the surrounding lands and mark them on your map using the trusty aforementioned long seers.
Not everything is done from behind the seat of a steering wheel in fact I spent roughly half of the time on foot, as a lot of the places Max will visit are just inaccessible with a vehicle (I have tried on more than a few occasions to get the magnum opus over a barrier only to get wedged in place and have to fast travel to fix it). As a result you will need to familiarise yourself with hand to hand combat: I have to do a little bit of naming and shaming here because Warner Brothers have used almost the exact same combat system as the Batman Arkham series but I have to admit that it works and as the saying goes “don’t fix it if it’s not broken”. As well as levelling up the Magnum Opus there is also a lot of levelling up Max. Some of this is done using scrap for upgrading the shotgun, or strapping more bits of tat to yourself that somehow counts as viable armour, but the rest of this is done by the way of a mysterious wasteland mystic called Griffa who periodically helps Max unlock the inner recesses of his true ability. As you play you will gain Griffa Tokens by completing tasks, such as killing a set amount of bad guys, just through playing through the game normally. Griffa definitely reaches 11 on the weirdo scale, always talking as if he is from some sort of drug induced vision quest.
Chumbucket and Dinki Di are not the only characters that play a strong role throughout the development of the story. As in most epic gaming titles, Max will have all kinds of unlikely help from strangers and people that want to be his friend, almost all of which have rather odd waste-lander style names like Pink Eye or Hope and her daughter Glory (yes hope & glory are their actual names I didn’t make that up). I don’t want to reveal too much about their story as it might spoil the game should you wish to play it yourself. Even the bad guys have interesting names, such as Gaspa Grope, Pig’n’Sticker and Rim Jobbie. Whoever got the job of naming these characters must have had a damn good laugh, I know I did!
There is also a multiplayer aspect to the game in which you build the best vehicle you can and set time trails for your friends and randomers to try and beat, all to find out who will be the true Road Warrior at each different race site. You might want to wait to venture into this game mode until near the end of the game (or at least until you unlock the V8 engine) for that much needed extra speed. Or you can do what I did, if you just want a laugh find a nice difficult track and equip the worst wheels and suspension then try and make it to the end of the track before you crash and burn in a horrible ball of flame.

There are a few annoying parts to this game, although not as many as I would have expected. Some problems occurred only through my own stupidity and pressing the wrong buttons! One thing I can advise is that if you are going to stomp on a box to open it, make sure that you are not holding a full fuel canister, because if you press the wrong button you might just accidently drop a flaming gas can on the floor and give it a damn good stomping. This will only result in your immediate and utter death! On the subject of fuel (or guzzoline as it is known in the wastes), it is supposed to be a valuable and rare commodity but Max uses a full canister to blow open one flimsy door! I can understand the need to use a full can on large gates to compounds, but not little doors! The other point that not everyone will find annoying, but I certainly did, is the fact that when you’re driving around it is almost impossible to overturn the car… this is extremely useful in races but I don’t think that it is incredibly realistic and can really mess up your trajectory when flying off a jump at Mach 1, where you end up facing the completely wrong direction. My final complaint and most annoying aspect to this game is that the mini map only shows roads, and not the insides of building or other such structures. This will result in you getting hopelessly lost in underground mazes of tunnels for hours on end!

To sum up I thought the game was brilliant. Yes there were a few annoyances and some dodgily named characters but no game is perfect and they did a rather good job of porting the game over from a film. As it is only based on the Mad Max universe, and not based on any of the films, if you’re just wanting an adrenaline fuelled race then it is probably not the game for you. However if you are looking for a new twist on the sandbox world, or you’re just a massive Mad Max fan, then I would highly recommend investing in this title as you will get many hours of gameplay for your money.

Gameplay and controls The gameplay is truly fantastic and kept me enthralled throughout without really getting bored at repeating the same copy and paste quests. The controls are nice and simple so most people can pick up and play quite easily 95/100.Sound and Music

There is not too much music in the game but who needs a musician in the wastes? The sounds and music that are there however, truly drag you into the atmosphere of the game 80/100

GraphicsThe cut scenes could be straight out of the movie and the game does a good job of keeping up with the scenery as you’re driving around the wastes, this represents truly next level graphics in my opinion 95/100

Story/immersion/replay ability – The story was well done and in keeping with the Mad Max theme, unlike so many other movie to video game adaptions so another high score! 100/100

Final Score: 85/100

Developer: Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Warner Brothers
Release Date: 1st September 2015
Genre: Sandbox action adventure
Platform: Pc, Xbox One, PS4

Watch The Trailer Here