As our title may suggest, Mad Max is best enjoyed with Metallica songs playing on loudspeakers beside you. When you hear the engines of your car roar as it races against other monstrous vehicles through white hot desert tracks, you can’t help but feel like an adrenaline junkie. Back in his cult 1979 hit, this is what George Miller introduced the world Mad Max as – fast, dirty and unforgiving. Its a pity that game developers gave Max a pass so far. However, now that the world is still reeling under the success of Mad Max: Fury Road, Avalanche Studios chose a great time to release Mad Max, the game, on next-gen consoles.
Thanks to Miller’s original Mad Max, many popular survival titles like S.T.A.L.K.E.R, Borderlands and Fallout has introduced gamers to what a post-apocalyptic world, where water is almost as scarce and precious as fuel, may look like. Avalanche scores high on creating a world of dust, guns and burning rubber. Although the story and missions of Mad Max feels repetitive and lumber-some quite often, it delivers some racing moments that are quite unforgettable.
Story: Down the beaten track
Avalanche boasts that the story of Mad Max is not inspired from the 2015 movie, however, we can’t help but notice how similar it is. In the game, a warlord who calls himself Scabrous Scrotus and his loyal War Boys attack Max and strips him off his car. Eventually, Max receives help from a hunchbacked mechanic named Chumbucket, who helps him build his new car. As Max build up his new vehicle (named Magnum Opus) from scratch, equipping and upgrading it with all sorts of wasteland-special armory and weapons, he tries to overthrow Scrotus from power. All this story missed was Charlize Theron equipped with a metal arm. We wish Avalanche would have been a little more original with their version Mad Max.
Gameplay: Feel the horsepower
Its here that Mad Max shines. When you crash into another car at 100-mph, you can hear the metal crunch under your wheels, thanks to the excellent sound effects used in the game. Controlling Magnum Opus is quite easy, as soon as you get used to the rough terrain you are driving on. It takes some time to learn how to take out other vehicles with shotguns and flamethrowers without getting crashed yourself. However, it is only when you master the game that you can truly experience Max’s skills as a driver.
The hand-to-hand combat in the game is smooth and well-designed. Its not very easy,but its also not too hard to defeat dozens of war boys armed with knives and sticks. All you need to learn is to dodge at the right time. The combat mechanism in the game may not be as good as Batman Arkham series, but is a lot better than many other titles on the stand.
We do, however, one criticism to make. We know Max is supposed to be a tough guy. However, when he is mowed down by a speeding vehicle, he not only suffers zero damage, but manages to stand back up instantly, as if nothing happened. On the other hand, when he is engaged in a bare-knuckle fight, if Max gets punched by a goon, his health-meter gets reduced by half. It has often happened that the same Max who comes back from a crash with no visible damage died helplessly when he is hit on the back with a stick. The inconsistency in the damage mechanism may disappoint hardcore game enthusiasts out there.
Graphics: Its a mad world out there
Avalanche Studios spared no expense in making Mad Max a visual treat. The great white wasteland looks as believable and menacing as you can imagine. The cars easily take the center stage in Mad Max. Each vehicle is designed to threaten. Equipped with everything from flamethrowers and harpoons, the cars invites you to step in, turn on the engine and unleash no-holds barred white-knuckle driving.
Mad Max has quite a few shortcomings, however, it takes vehicle combat to a whole new level. Since most games nowadays have rigorous levels of car-on-car action (like GTA, Batman: Arkham, Saints Row, Rainbow Six: Badlands and many others) they should take notes from Mad Max. This is what we expect out of next-gen action games – uncompromised adrenaline rush.