Mad Max stars Max Rockatansky, a mysterious loner and drifter with a tragic past in a world that has been affected by disease, famine, drought, and mass extinction after a massive nuclear war decimated humanity. Out in the wasteland, people created gangs and strongholds in order to survive the harsh new environments. While some of these groups retained their humanity and others forget it ever existed, and turned to slavery and cannibalism. While some of them were born into this post-apocalyptic world never knowing the world that Max knew with family, friends, and society. And this pretty much sums up Mad Max’s brief intro to describe what transpired in the world and sets the foundation for the rest of the story.
The game kicks off with Max in the midst of Scrotus and his war gang. While Max leaves his definite “mark” on Scrotus during the ensuing battle, he is ultimately beaten, robbed of his Magnum Opus (car) and belongings and left for dead. Luckily for him, he runs into the Quasimodo of the wastes, Chumbucket. A mutated man who while looks like a mutated abomination on the outside has the skills and knowledge in order to rebuild his car, the Magnum Opus and gather allies in the fight against the war gangs. At its core, Mad Max is an open world action-adventure that has parallels to Grand Theft Auto and Fallout. Story wise, Mad Max is on the light side. But then again the Mad Max franchise never was about insanely in-depth plots or stories.
The stories told in Max Max catered more to the crazy post-apocalyptic world and the characters in its world, the same applies to Mad Max. The story is a fairly slow burn for an open world game until later, where it gets ramps up considerably and really offers a bit more of an in depth story. But in a way feels very appropriate for the franchise. The core elements of Mad Max’s tale revolved around getting all his belongings back, building his Magnum Opus, and scavenging the land as he helps various drifters and other leaders build a bigger and better strongholds. The environment in the game is absolutely massive which allows you to explore it at your own leisure using whatever car you have built for yourself.
And while you might think that the idea of a completely desert setting sounds like it could be boring, it is anything but. Visually the world is simply stunning. At times it felt I was driving through an oil painting with huge vistas showcasing a decaying world, day and night changes with famous crumbling landmarks from a time past. And sprinkled with hints of life past. Although the environments can be a little bland at times for some, there is some great attention to detail to be found in the game. And I would highly recommend doing some exploring first before charging through the game’s story. The voice acting in Max is pretty good and Max sounds like well Max should (Australian) considering the character’s history.
And while the theme song “Soul of a Man” by Steven Stern that plays during the opening credits I do wish the rest of the soundtrack in the game followed the same theme. As most of the music during the game was just white noise to me. Not that it is bad by any stretch of the imagination as it fits the game’s overall theme, but it really did not do anything for me. The in-game currency in Mad Max is scrap that you can collect throughout the world, either by picking it up at certain locations or by destroying other war gang’s cars and by doing side quests. Scrap can be used to upgrade Max skills e.g weapons and abilities not to mention it being used to upgrade his Magnum Opus. Mad Max has two main combat elements which include hand to hand and vehicles.
Mad Max consists of two gameplay elements which are hand to hand combat and vehicle combat. The hand to hand combat in Mad Max is extremely similar to the Batman games albeit way more brutal and satisfying as Max does not maim and cripple but outright murders his opponents, with suplexes and shiv’s to the neck. The game also sports a flawless combo attack system that just feels so smooth on the PS4 controller. Sure, I have seen this system countless times before but it’s thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable in Mad Max. Then you have the vehicle combat which is quite spectacular at times, particularly when you have a group of raiders who ambush you while you attempt to ram them with your car, it really harks back to the Carmageddon days of auto carnage.
Add in the upgradeable harpoon gun & sniper rifle and the ability to shoot at your enemies while driving, and this allows you to unleash total carnage on your enemies as bodies and cars fly all over the place as you try and gain supremacy over your enemies on the road. Director George Miller would be pleased by the automotive carnage on display because it is equally as enjoyable on both an achievement and visual level as his movie. The amount of variation in between hand to hand combat and car combat is just so extremely satisfying. And between sniping, pulling down guard towers with your harpoon and car, and then pulling the front gates off with the same harpoon will keep you coming back for more.
The biggest issue for some people would definitely be the repetition that creeps into the game. While Mad Max offers quite a bit when it comes to the various side missions, like most open world titles being released today. Inevitably the content that you will have to run through will be repeated throughout most of the game. While it won’t bother people like myself who love the world, exploring, and adding to the constant scrap amount in order to continually keep upgrading, others people might find it boring, or even trivial at times. Which for me was not the case. Mad Max is a game that takes its world and IP extremely serious. It turns the idea of the franchise into a fully-fledged game and does not cut corners like some other movie to video game adaptations we have seen in the past.
If you are like me, who absolutely loves the franchise, loves the world, and loves the setting of the game. Then you can expect 50+ hours of video game entertainment, which is money well spent in my books. Mad Max isn’t only a fantastic game, it is a great addition to the franchise, and one of the few games that completely destroyed my expectations that a movie based game is always bad. In the end, despite what some mainstream reviewer might have you believe. Mad Max is a great addition to the open-world action adventure genre that is as slick and memorable and would make the creators of Mad Max Fury Road proud. So if you are on the fence about this game, I recommend you go get it now as I can’t recommend it enough.