Mad Max the game looks great, I know that doesn’t mean much anymore but for an open world game appearance counts for a lot. Much like the Fallout series you really get a feel for the vast, empty, unforgiving wasteland you must survive in. The vast sand dunes and wreckage of the remains of humanity really offer a wider range of places to explore than it sounds. The map is fairly large as well and even at top speed takes some time to traverse. The only problem is that it can get really dull fast when most of the map is primarily covered in sand or is made up of similar rusting ruins. The other thing I really had to question was how many oil drilling sights can be located off the coast of California (or I assume that’s where we are). There are some areas that change it up a little but when the choices are sand, rocks or garbage heaps it doesn’t really make much of a difference. For such a large map though I have had very few problems so far. Every once in a while my framerate will just plummet but I have only had the game crash once because of it.
I also have mixed feelings on the story. It is good and very intriguing but is seems almost nonexistent until you get over half way through the game. You start with nothing and have to murder your way through endless hordes of dudes to get things back. This drives the first half the game but nothing new really happens until some new characters are introduced and things make a sudden turn. I won’t spoil the ending because I enjoyed it but at the same time it seemed to nearly undo everything the game had tried to establish. In one quick scene the rest of the games plot was almost literally thrown out the window. The characters are also really well done, the hunchback Chumbucket was always entertaining to listen too even if he didn’t make sense most the time. Max doesn’t grunt nearly as much as the recent movie Max but it doesn’t matter so much when you have a four barrel shotgun. Most of the speaking characters are very interesting and really bring out their own personalities, most of which are crazy and driven by bloodlust. I did have a problem where some of the voice acting seemed to come in and out a bit but it never affected the overall game to much for me.
Car combat, which makes up roughly ¾’s of the game is probably the greatest example ever and rivals Twisted Metal Black; the last game to have decent car combat. You can blow up, ram into, tear apart and so much more until your enemies are nothing more than scrap. Driving is actually surprisingly fluent and works well with the wide array of weapons you are can get. Although collecting scrap to upgrade your car or Max takes a long time since you generally get very little and decent upgrades cost a lot. The one downside is that at a certain point fighting becomes repetitive and heavy armor cars becomes more of a ‘who can ram the other off the side of the road first’ contest. Fixing the Magnum Opus is quick and simple with the right upgrades though and makes getting back into combat real quick. My one problem is that you can’t use the majority of weapons and abilities in any other car which makes them almost completely useless unless you just want to drive around.
Hand to hand combat is much weaker and seems to be a slow Batman style combat and tends to be slightly clunky. Since he only has his shotgun the only real tools he can use are what he picks up and generally they don’t do much. There is also Fury mode, or the point Max gets really pissed off and starts taking fights seriously. This only hastens what are generally long and boing fights anyways though.
There are a few other gameplay aspects that do little other than pad out gameplay. There is a stronghold aspect for one that was interesting at first but since all of them have the exact same upgrades spread out across the map it gets boring real quick with only minor rewards. There is also a water and gas aspect, which makes sense for a wasteland survivor game. Fallout New Vegas had a similar hardcore mode. The problem is that it never really makes things difficult like it should. I almost never had to find water and after a couple of upgrades had all the water I would ever need from any source. I never fell below 3 quarters of a tank on gas either and it was so easy to find gas usually it never so mattered. The only time I was close to running out was when I stole a car that was already nearly empty. A lot of missions get really repetitive as well, which is unfortunate because there is a TON of them. They all break down to either ‘blow this up’, ‘steal that’ or ‘smash his face.’
Overall it is a great game even if it starts to repeat itself by the end, a lot of which can be bypassed really (if you can survive without the upgrades.) It is probably one of the most innovative open world games in a long time, besides Batman and should stand up to competition well until Fallout 4 comes out. Unless you plan on getting the platinum I suggest balancing out the upgrades between Max and the Magnum Opus because there will be need for both. The real problem is speed versus power, both of which you will need. Personally, I’m just getting the most badass car possible.