Many of you are aware of the newest and frantically fun installment in the Mad Max series, Fury Road. But how many of you are aware of the Mad Max video game that came out in the beginning of September? Mad Max has always had the fun and action in hand to make movies that keep the audience cheering and sitting on the edge of their seats, and the first video game installment to the series is no different.
Mad Max starts with our intrepid hero being captures and losing his beloved vehicle on his journey to a place called the silent fields. During his escape, Max comes head to head with the warlord of the region, a giant by the name of Scabrous Scrotus. Let me just say, there should be no enemy for the majority of the game, as you cut his head down the middle with a FRIGGIN CHAINSAW in the opening cinematic!
That said, the story of the game isn’t all that important. After witnessing your car being stripped for parts, a hermit mechanic who refers to himself as a “Black Finger” and has suspicious relations with cars while you aren’t looking claims you are a saint and that he is building a god for you. That god just so happens to be a car that he refers to as the Magnum Opus. Part of the game is collecting different configurations of the Magnum Opus, called Archangels, for one task or another along the way. The more you require to make the car the kind of vehicle you need to continue your quest, the more minor leaders you must ally yourself with. Each is willing to help you, as long as you are willing to basically heckle Scabrous Scrotus’ control of the area.
This is where your game becomes an enormous sandbox. While trying to lower the threat level in each territory, you can engage in many activities that do exactly that; Destroying convoys of supplies, killing snipers, taking towns, knocking down scarecrows that are basically idols to Scrotus, and removing landmines are just a few. While you are out and about misbehaving and inevitably angering the warlord, you will find yourself in need of quite a bit of found resources. Surprisingly, the scavenging is one of the most repetitive and fun parts of the game, throwing you into combat, which plays much like Assassin’s Creed or the Batman: Arkham series. You need to find water, as water is how you will be healing most of the time. Your vehicle needs gasoline, which you can find out among the dunes. You can even carry some of the petrol with you to use as an explosive or simply in case you run out of gas over time. The two most important things you will be scavenging however are scrap and project parts. Scrap is the resource you use to upgrade your car. This is used for everything from upgrading your engine to decking the body of the Magnum Opus with the Mad Max signature anti boarding spikes. Scrap is also how you deck out Max in more and more of his signature gear, including knuckle dusters and his leather jacket, even teaching him new combat techniques. Just don’t ask me how spending scrap teaches him how to block and counter. Project parts are just as important as they complete helpful items in each of the minor leaders’ strongholds. These items could be water storage so your canteen is filled when you return, to survey crews that tell you where important locations are on the map, to clean up crews that will collect scrap you leave on the field during the vehicular combat.
Did I not mention the vehicular combat? Well any fan of the series knows it wouldn’t be Mad Max without fancy and brutal combat from behind the wheel. Most battles include grinding metal, guns fired at gas tanks, and NOS aided pit maneuvers, but I’ve found the harpoon weapon is by far the most helpful, yanking drivers out of their seats, and armor off of enemy. While out in the wastes, you will some times get caught in a massive sand storm. The threat of being killed by degree becomes very real, but it is worth it to brave the winds, harpoon poised, to collect large crates of scrap. Here, again, is an activity that makes the harpoon an indispensible tool.
You upgrade Max’s core abilities by completing certain missions and certain challenges to collect Griffa Tokens. Griffa is another desert wanderer who seems to know more about you than you do. Every time you come to him, he blows something in your face, and you can increase your core abilities before waking up with what looks like a heavy hangover. These challenges span the range from successfully blocking an attack twenty times to 100% the game. Believe me when I say, there is little to no chance that you will have a hard time “leveling up”
Now, as I’ve said, the story is pretty weak, at least as far as I am into the game. From the makers of Just Cause, I didn’t expect there to be too much heavy narrative, but a large focus on the actual gameplay. I was not disappointed. Every part of the game, from the combat, the car, and missions all reinforce a feel of desperation and reckless, brazen assault. The desperation in the need to collect scrap, water and gasoline, not to mention the only food you find is dog food or the maggots straight out of a corpse. The recklessness comes in the forms of your attacks on all of the actions and properties of the vile Scabrous Scrotus. If you are looking for a game that feels the way it should, and puts you behind the wheel of a dystopian and, frankly, badass Australia, then Mad Max is right for you!
I give Mad Max 4 out of 5 hood ornaments!