Mad Max Review

Developer Avalanche Studios

Publisher Warner Brothers

Platform PS4, Xbox One & PC

Release Date Out Now. 

Reviewed By Dan Sheehan

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Mad Max, at its core is a good game. The massive open world is filled with hours of gameplay, almost endless places to discover and enemies to punch in the head. But like so many other open world games the 50 hours of gameplay ends up getting filled with repetitive tasks, missions, and fetch quests.

Presentation for the most part is fantastic and the team has done a great job of creating that “post-apocalyptic wasteland” feeling you expect from a licensed Mad Max game. The dry sandy barren desert landscape is littered with the rusting, rotting, remains of a long lost “modern” civilization. Driving through the remains of an old airport that has become buried far beneath a desert was a brilliant way of contrasting the world that Max remembers, with the one he now endures.

Gameplay is split between being on foot or in your car, with each mode being very different and yet equally enjoyable.

Hand to hand combat, as with other Warner Brothers titles like Batman and Shadow of Modor, uses the same fighting style of pressing “Y” to counter an incoming attack, and then punching the enemy repeatedly to build up your “combo”. You can unlock upgrades for Max to add new moves, weapons, extra ammo slots, or greater punching power. While combat was quite simple to get into, it was satisfyingly heavy, when you punched someone it really made a satisfying crunch. However this style has been done better in the other games mentioned, and when it first arrived on the scene it was a welcome fresh new take on combat, now it is getting a little boring.

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Driving, due to the vast landscape is where you spend most of the time, either just simply cruising around looking for scrap, getting to missions, or taking part in the epic car battles and races. A lot of effort was put into giving players different ways to customize the car to make it look and drive the way you like. Upgrades are unlocked by carrying out missions, and then purchased using scrap (the in game currency). Upgrades range from those that increase the cars speed, handling and power, to those that add weapons and spikes to help fight off the enemies.

The world map is filled with places to go, and loot to plunder, but once you level your cars weaponry up to the point of near invincibility, and nothing can really challenge you anymore, the game loses its exploration appeal. Sure you can spend hours exploring every corner but you will find nothing “new” or surprising.

The greatest flaw in the whole game is definitely the feeling that after about five hours of gameplay you have seen it all. Every mission feels likes a repeat of an older one, every new location repeats those missions, and even the end level boss fights feel all feel the same. To clear the various sections of the world map you will need to complete multiple side missions but again there is no variety between locations. You destroy the scarecrows, clear the minefields, take out the sniper, and stop the convoys. The only thing that changes is they get a little more difficult. Yet I found this simplistic approach almost relaxing, I was never on edge or worried about what was coming, I was just killing time, but in a good way.

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Max’s main storyline is not particularly long and involves traveling around the map to acquire items for your car so you can head to Gastown. To truly appreciate all the good parts of the game and to buff out the time spent with the game you need to take a break from the main story and just drive. Random sandstorms look absolutely amazing and many of the side quests like racing with a bomb attached to the underside of your car make for a pleasant diversion, just use the side quest properly to balance everything out.

When I started the game I was determined to do every mission and explore every piece of wreckage in the hopes of finding something amazing but as the game dragged on I got tired of doing the same tasks over and over again. In each new section I unlocked I did less missions, I don’t think I did more than half a dozen for the final clan leader before I finished the main story.

When I did start doing missions within the Gastown area the ending came so quickly that I felt robbed of a proper final third of the game. This could have been better managed with less content made available at the start of the game so I wouldn’t have burnt out in such a manner nearing the end as I really did want to buff out the last few hours.

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Overall: Mad Max is a fun game but is missing that something special to make the main story truly compelling. There are so many nice ideas here but for each good idea on show there is an equally under-developed idea. It is a game worth playing and while I did really enjoy my time with it, I would be hard pushed to go back for a second run through.

Score: 3/5

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