Mad Max Review

After 53 hours of gameplay I finally completed Mad Max last night and I’m ready to give my honest opinion on what I think is one of the best games I’ve played this year. 

Mad Max has received mixed reviews from every major reviewer out there and I think that all the negative reviews have scared some people away from the game because of how highly they hold other people’s opinions. Hopefully this review will shed some light on what Mad Max is like without sounding too bias because of how much I enjoyed playing the game.

The Great:

Graphics:

Lets start with the obvious and that’s the first thing you’ll notice when you play any game. The graphics in Mad Max is fantastic. The world of Mad Max looks exactly like you would expect to. It’s barren, violent, and unforgiving and the graphics adds to it. Everything I saw made me realize how hopeless Max’s world really is. There are no lush forest, or large bodies of water for us to traverse. Instead it’s one big wasteland filled with sand, trash, and sludge.

Explosions looks fantastic. Setting something on fire and watching it blow up is a treat for the eyes. Entering a dark cave, or underground sewer really shows off how great the lighting in this game is. There is no magic light to light up a dark cave in this game. All you have is your crappy little flashlight that only lights up a few steps in front of Max. I really enjoyed navigating the dark areas in this game.

There are some bad textures, but if you look hard enough in any game you’ll find those. The majority of Mad Max looks really good.

Gameplay: 

2015-09-07_00001If you’ve ever played any of the Batman games or Shadow of Mordor you’ll know what to expect with Mad Max. I prefer Mad Max’s gameplay over Batman’s, but that’s just me. It’s more meaty, and brutal than the Batman games. Max doesn’t float around the battlefield while kicking the shit out of people.

He grapples a lot and slams his opponents on the ground. He can break necks, do arm bars, and leg locks. The gameplay isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s fun. Fighting on the ground is only a small part of the gameplay though. Driving around the wasteland is where this game shines the most. Once I got the harpoon it opened an entirely new gameplay experience for me.

As I upgraded my vehicle I got access to a whole new variety of weapons for both my car, and Max. I could rip tires off of moving cars with my harpoon, reinforced gates, doors, take down sniper watch post, and pull down giant oil tanks that’ll reward me with a huge ass explosion. I can fire explosives from my vehicle and one hit kill just about anything, and my vehicle can shoot fire out from both sides while I’m driving between two enemies and ramming a third from the back. The vehicular combat in this game is amazing.

Customization:

I’ve never had so much fun customizing a car in my life. I can make some pretty over the top looking rides in this game. I can have spikes cover the body of my ride, spikes sticking out of my tires, I can have a gigantic engine popping up from the hood, I can even change the body of my car to a truck if I want to. There is some really deep customization options here and I could easily lose hours of my time just customizing both Max, and my the Magnum Opus.

With Max the customization isn’t as in depth as it is with the Magnum Opus, but it’s far from being bad though. I started off the game wearing nothing, but a stolen shirt, and shotgun. At the end of the game I was rocking a full vest, gauntlets, a huge ammo pouch, a really long beard with a bandana on my head, and a really customized shotgun that could kill vehicles with a single blast. All of this was done before I got to the half way point in the story because I was just focused on exploring the world around me, collecting scrap, and upgrading myself.

Optimization:

2015-09-06_00015Do you remember when games where cartridges? Remember how well they performed when we stuck them in our Nintendo, or Sega? Mad Max reminds me of games back then because of how well it performed for me. I played this game for 53 hours  and the only bug I experienced was Max bouncing around the wasteland like crazy because of a sandstorm I accidentally ran into on my way out of a base. This is the best optimized game I’ve ever played and Avalanche Studios has earned my respect.

This Is The Authentic Mad Max Experience:

Avalanche Studios hit the nail on the head with this game. This game feels, and looks like Mad Max. Everywhere I went I saw how hopeless, and barren Max’s world was and I was happy because it was just like this in all of the movies. Max even has a bad leg in this game. That’s why he can’t jump and it’s awesome. The knee brace is in this game and any sort of bad landing, or jumping out of a car, will aggravate it and Max will start limping around. They even have the butt cheek enemies in this game. The only thing this game is missing is motorbikes, and really, really, huge vehicles like buses, but there’s always hope for and expansion or even a sequel right?

Screenshot Mode:

Screenshot mode is a feature that should be in every game. I’ve taken some fantastic screenshots in this game because of this mode. Being able to pause the game at anytime I want by simply pushing X, and C is great. Here’s to hoping that Just Cause 3 has it too.

Storms:

Mad Max has the best storms I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in any game. Just looking at the sandstorm approaching is badass and when it finally reached me I had no idea what to expect. The first time I was struck by lighting my eyes popped out my head. These storms are a good way to collect a ton of scrap and if you’re brave enough, and have good driving skills, you can use your harpoon to collect big boxes of scrap. Who wouldn’t want to drive through them though. They look too fantastic for me to just avoid them.

The Good:

Story:

2015-09-01_00125At the beginning of the game Max is ambushed, beat up, and left for dead. His vehicle, and clothes, are stolen from him and he vows to get them back somehow. He meets a funny little fellow by the name of Chumbucket and together they build the Magnum Opus. That’s literally the story to this game. It’s not a terrible story, but for Mad Max fans, like myself, it fits perfectly. The story really picks up towards the end of the game and by the end my jaw was hanging from mouth with my wtf just happened expression. The ending to this game was fantastic. This is an authentic Mad Max story that’s told here and that’s all I’ll say about to avoid giving away any spoilers.

Voice Acting:

Imagine meeting someone whose never been educated a day in their lives. Now imagine that it’s all of your homeland and you’ve got the npcs of Mad Max. The voice acting in this reflects on what I just wrote. Everyone talks in language that I like to call Wasteland Slang and they sound good too. I didn’t think any NPC I came across sounded bad. They all sound good, and some of them even sound fantastic. Max says a lot more in this game than he did in any of the movies and while half of it is bat shit crazy it’s still good.

Taking Bases/Killing Scarecrows/Blowing Crap Up

All of the side stuff in this game is fun. It’s repetitive as hell, but it’s fun nonetheless. Firing my harpoon at scarecrows and driving off of a cliff while watching it fall down is fun. Taking out the perimeter defenses of a large camp while dodging Molotov cocktails is also fun. Ramming the main gate down with a big as truck, beating up about 40 guys in a lightning storm, and impaling someone with a big ass stick that makes them blow up is fantastic. That’s just some of things that you’ll be able to do in this game.

The Bad:

Boss Fights:

Every boss in this game is a reskin of a previous boss that I’ve already fought. They do the exact same animations and can be fought the exact same way as the boss before them. The only two different boss fights are at the end of the game when you have to fight in the Magnum Opus. Those were fun, but the majority of them are not.

It’s Too Easy:

In a game about survival it’s incredibly easy to survive. At first Mad Max made me feel like I would actually have to hunt down water, gasoline, and food in order to survive, but once I realized how easy it was that feeling of survival was lost. The difficulty of the game is a joke. This game isn’t hard at all. A good majority of my deaths came from my own stupidity. Mad Max needs a hardcore mode that’s similar to Fallout: New Vegas or some really good Skyrim mods.

The Map Isn’t Endless Like The Devs Said:

2015-09-01_00084
This is the very first sandstorm you’ll encounter. Driving through them is awesome.

The only reason why I’m mentioning this is because the devs themselves said that the map would keep going after you reached the big nothing. Imagine my surprise when I finally entered the big nothing and died in ten seconds because my health bar rapidly went down from no known source. The map isn’t endless and the devs should have been straight with us and told us that instead of having all of us believe that it was until the game released.

There’s Not Enough To Do:

This is probably my biggest problem with the game. After I completed the main quest and got my reward there wasn’t really anything left for me to do. I know this game is only 10 days old, but some end game content would have been a great addition to this game. After I built my Magnum Opus to where I wanted it to be I ran out of things to do with it and was forced to start a new game. It’s not really a big deal, but hopefully we’ll get a new game plus or an expansion further down the road that’ll keep us coming back for more.

The Verdict:

Mad Max is an awesome game that surprised me. I didn’t think I would enjoy as much as I did. Even though it’s lacking end game content, and there are no motor bikes or huge vehicles in the game I still had a ton of fun and I’m already planning my second playthrough. This game has good replayability, and the wicked customization will keep me coming back for more.

9/10

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