Game Review: Mad Max (Xbox ONE)

Hot on the heels after the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, developer Avalanche Studios brings us a third person shooter action-adventure video game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, featuring terrains like desserts and canyons, taking inspiration from the Mad Max movies. The game has a higher emphasis on action instead of stealth.

The game has the player take on the role of Mad Max. On the search for fuel in the journey to the Plains of Silence (the boundaries of the gameplay), Max encounters a group of War Boys, led by Scabrous Scotus. This ambush leaves Max left to rot in the desert sun with all his supplies stolen, and alone.

While wandering around the desert, Max becomes companions with a zealous hunchback named Chumbucket. He is a blackfinger (mechanic) who has developed a car named the Magnum Opus. In exchange for finding some missing parts needed to fully complete the car, Chumbucket agrees to help Max in his pursuit to locate Scrotus and his Warboys and seek revenge.

The game world is made up of several regions with a unique landscape and storyline. The “threat level” of the region is lowered by completeling side activities (such as races and eliminating enemy convoys), which will allow the player to navigate the world safer. Establishing as many friendly relationships with hostile strongholds will provide players with new quests and rewards.

A high percentage of the game campaign involves the player driving. Weapons (such as a cannon and grappling hook) or nitro boosts can be added to assist in vehicle defense while scavenging.

Exploration is encouraged in the game in order to upgrade the Magnum Opus. The parts needed can be found in the desert, by hijacking enemy vehicles or by collecting scrap parts hidden in the world. Exploration is also fundamental for Max’s survival. Fuel is needed for driving, so finding jerrycans is a must, and food/water can be found throughout the wasteland to help replenish health.

During the game, Chumbucket travels around with you in the Magnum Opus, or any archangels (sub sections of the Magnum Opus) you are driving, and sets to repairing them when the vehicle has come to a complete stop (either by ejecting from the vehicle or if it has taken on too much damage to use). Chumbucket can also utilize the harpoon vehicle add-on for defence against attacking factions.  Chumbucket is very helpful for retrieving guidance on how to complete objectives.

Max has access to a raiders camp “garage” throughout the game, allowing players to customize the Magnum Opus, including modifying the engine, chassis, wheels, body work (including paint) and the “shell” of the vehicle. The player needs to be strategic in choice of upgrades as upgrading one aspect will negatively affect other aspects. Also, the sixteen various archangels that you retrieve through scavenging can be upgraded. Upgrading vehicles is very important in the games as you take on more powerful convoys later in the game.

Players can also unlock new skills and upgrades for Max including armor and weapons.

While the car combat feels like a fresh gameplay style, Mad Max seems to draw a lot of its core ideas from other games. The scavenging for scrap remains is very similar to the storyline of Tomb Raider, the combat style and cinematics simulate that of the Batman series, and the tasking of taking over/freeing territories is reminiscent of the Assassins Creed series.

The highlight of the game is that it gives an honest tone of what a post-apocalyptic world would be like (including the open world sandbox) and while the objectives are repetitive, the combat is brutal and very satisfying to the gamer. The downside of the game is that the main storyline is “the same old”, main villain attacks and leaves you for dead, and you must survive and rebuild yourself till you can beat him. This can cause a bit of a drag in the investment of continued hours into the game.  In the end of it all, I would recommend this game to everyone as I really enjoyed it.

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