Published on September 7th, 2015 | by IceCube
REVIEW: Mad Max
Summary: The legendary Aussie character gets an open-world video game in a post-apocalyptic setting, to follow-up the well-received blockbuster film.
Concept: With his infamous Interceptor car stolen by bandits, Max is left for dead in a barren wasteland. Running into a pitiful hunchback character named Chumbucket, together they share an old shitbox called the Magnum Opus, using scraps and parts they find to pimp their ride. Your car is everything in this game. The wasteland is too vast and dangerous to go exploring on foot, so it’s important build a car that performs well and looks good. The revenge story itself is a satisfying experience of capturing marauder settlements and returning them to the people, who in turn reward you with scrap (game currency) over time. Characters talk to progress the story and aren’t particularly deep or humane, so human questioning, logic and emotion are minimal.
Pollution’s gotta pollute…
Graphics: This open-world wasteland looks beautiful. It’s a vast and empty desert, where the horizon is sparsely littered with curious bronze structures and golden sunsets that are gorgeous. Characters are well-presented with a respectable level of detail and texture. While the recent blockbuster movie uses intense action, circus setups, dynamic camera angles and intense close-ups, the game takes a simpler visual approach.
Gameplay: Combat is cool, but feels like a copy and paste of other Warner titles, like Batman and Shadows of Mordor. It’s responsive and exciting, leaving you looking forward to brawls that you should really be wanting to avoid. Max’s movement swagger and speed changes depending on the surface type (mostly sand) and inclination, but its driving dune buggies that plays a huge part of the game, and I took no issue with vehicle handling and combat, other than the tricky side-swipe attack which felt a little clumbsy to handle. I like open-world games where you manually tear down your oppressors by capturing their zones one-by-one, but the only thing to break this up is some story cutscenes, leaving the formula to become quite repetitive after a while.
Sound: Max is voiced by an Australian actor (thankfully, not an American pretending to be Australian… that never goes well), who sounds the part and does a great job holding the image of Mad Max. The other actors feed into this nicely as well, despite shortcuts in the script. It’s musically strong as well, with nothing particularly memorable, but atmospheric enough to match the tones of wasteland serenity, and brutal combat.
Awesomeness: Early reviews have been mixed about this game, but put it this way: I am not a fan of the Mad Max films (despite being Australian), yet I really enjoyed this game. Max is a cool character, and I love a good revenge story by the underdog. As a suggestion completely unrelated to the dreaded GamerGate issues, I would have liked to see more women in the wasteland. Not for political equality – but just because the game is a bit of a sausage fest without them.
Final Word: Mad Max is a great open-world game that does it all, with fun combat, story, driving, visuals, and gameplay to result in a game worth your time. The overall quality of the game doesn’t feel elite, due to occasional frame rate drops, some tricky vehicle handling and script holes. You don’t need to be a fan of the films to embrace the beauty of the post-apocalyptic landscape, but you’ll need be willing to collect scrap over sparse land, build your vehicle and recapture a large amount of area for the civilians of the wasteland.
Score out of 5 bugs