Mad Max, who hasn’t heard of it or indeed him? The name is undoubtedly familiar, but it’s worth stating at the outset that ‘Max’ of the movie is not necessarily exactly replicated here, at least, the game isn’t directly based on the films, choosing instead to follow its own path. This may be surprising, given the recent success of Fury Road, but there it is – I’ve mentioned it good and early for you so if you’re paying attention you won’t be surprised.
The aim of this game is simple – Max needs to get himself a car which will get him to the Plains of Silence (I dare you not to have Simon and Garfunkel in your head the rest of the day); the Plains are lands where he hopes he’ll be able to escape the madness of the of the wastelands and its multitude of killers. The aim may be simple, but the execution of the plan may well not be…
The game is, unsurprisingly, open world. It’s stark, desolate, deserted wasteland but it’s easily navigated thanks to the developer’s canny decision to dot landmarks throughout the sand. As well as those landmarks there is also the omnipresent Gas Town – its smoke can be seen billowing from wherever you are on the map. Cough, cough.
The deserted nature of the landscape might not lend itself to cosy soirees with fellow survivors of the apocalypse, but it does encourage you to seek out a means of driving rather than walking which in turn leads to one of the key feature of the game – road battles! So, you’re obviously trying to avoid being rammed by the other cars, but yours, the Magnum Opus, can also be fitted with a harpoon, a fabulous sounding Thunderpoon, and an ability to emit flames from the side of your vehicle. Now, all of that sounds like unfair advantage to me but it also sounds bloody fantastic fun! The more cars you ram and destroy, the more scrap you can collect to upgrade the Magnum Opus.
As you develop your car not to mention your battling skills, you’ll be able to investigate and attempt to gain control of four strongholds. Each of these strongholds are run by a different leader, each weak and fearful of overall baddy, the wonderfully named Scrotus. So, in building up the Strongholds (some feel that having to do it four times over is slightly excessive) you get the chance to participate in side missions which generally involve killing someone or racing them or trying to retrieve something. The combat aspect of these missions is an interesting diversion from the road battles but doesn’t do enough to steal the limelight.
There is, then, lots to entertain in this game but there is something slightly lacking. There is a degree of repetitiveness which takes the edge off of it, but on the other hand it’s visually stunning and the various elements of customisation help to alter how you approach the game. The road battles are satisfyingly brutal whilst the hand to hand combat is similarly adept at assisting you in releasing any pent-up stress from whatever your day has brought you – you will actually feel like you’re breaking bones and tearing flesh. Hey, what’s not to love about that? There is a great deal of gameplay, so if you commit to it you’ll get at least 50-60 hours from it and, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to spend that amount of time with Mad Max, his car battles with Magnum Opus and the attempts to do one over on Scrotus and the War Boys?