Quick Look: Mad Max

Alex scours the wasteland in search of the essentials: water, gasoline, side missions, towers, and a whole bunch of upgrades.

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Mad Max Review

3
  • PS4

Avalanche's take on George Miller's post-apocalyptic wasteland is replete with striking visuals, basically enjoyable busywork, and not much else.

The recent release of Mad Max: Fury Road is both a blessing and a curse for WB Games' Mad Max. A blessing in the sense that if you're looking to get people interested in Mad Max again, some 30 years after the last film in the series, you couldn't have asked for a better offering than Fury Road. Generally loved by critics and audiences, Fury Road inspired an enormous amount of chatter among the sorts of people who would, at least in theory, be the target audience of a Mad Max video game. Unfortunately, that level of attention, and the kind of scrutiny that inevitably comes with it, does not benefit this Mad Max.

Mad Max turns the wasteland into a sprawling open world teeming with objectives.
Mad Max turns the wasteland into a sprawling open world teeming with objectives.

Developed by Avalanche Studios, makers of the raucously entertaining Just Cause games, Mad Max is a curiously sedate contraption. Where Fury Road was essentially one long (but immaculately, frantically paced) car chase across a vibrantly weird wasteland, Mad Max goes entirely in the other direction, spreading out the world's longest laundry list of objectives and errands for the player to address at their own pace. Despite prominently featuring elaborately adorned death machines driven by bands of murderously unhinged scavengers, Mad Max is a game devoid of any sense of urgency. The game certainly tries to convince you that you're in the same Hell on Earth presented in George Miller's films, but it also invites the player to luxuriate in its miserably scorched world. It wants you to hang out here for long periods of time, performing the sorts of busywork tasks that have become so achingly expected in modern open world games. Even as Max grumbles to himself about bolting across the "plains of silence" into some great unknown, you know you'll have a few dozen hours of base capturing, tower ascending, and item collecting ahead of you before the game will start gesturing toward such an outcome. No matter how much Max talks about escaping this world, the game has little interest in you doing any such thing.

I'm well aware that trying to draw direct comparisons between a two-hour film and a 30+ hour game is a fool's errand. They are two different constructions in two different mediums attempting two very different things. The point here is that Mad Max is, for better or worse, inextricably tied to its cinematic counterpart. It drapes itself in the film's aesthetics--War Boys are your primary antagonists; GasTown is one of its central locations; the main bad guy you face is the son of Fury Road's big bad, Immortan Joe--and had the fortune (or misfortune, depending on your outlook) to launch day-and-date alongside the film's Blu-Ray release. Yes, this Mad Max is trying to do its own thing, but it's trying to do it in direct parallel to Fury Road.

This does not benefit the game in any meaningful way, outside of marketing considerations. Yes, it's interesting to see Avalanche's take on George Miller's post-apocalypse, but it becomes clear early on that Mad Max has very few ideas of its own. Its sole consistent pleasure is its focus on building your own customizable wasteland vehicle. Called the "Magnum Opus" by your hunchbacked, religiously dedicated sidekick Chumbucket, here the player is tasked with tricking out the rickety frame of an old world car into a fearsome, fire-breathing chariot. The number of ways in which you can decorate your Magnum Opus is impressive, if a bit linear. You aren't presented with options so much as progressive upgrades. There's a set path to the ultimate death ride--there's no sense in skipping out on sturdier spikes or a bigger ramming bar when the benefit is so significant--and in order to get there, you'll need to collect scrap. Lots of it.

Scrap is the currency that drives this late-late-late-capitalist society. It is what you spend to build up both your car and Max himself, and it is everywhere. Tucked into every nook and cranny of Mad Max's enormous map are scavenging locations that offer up scant few variations on a theme: go to location, sometimes fight a few underpowered road thugs, look for glowing scrap boxes and piles, leave when sufficiently plundered. In other games, this is the kind of skippable chaff only the most dedicated in-game collectors would bother with. In Mad Max, they are a vital part of the game's grind, especially early on.

All throughout Mad Max, you're building up your 'Magnum Opus', a hard-charging death machine you customize to your own deadly specifications.
All throughout Mad Max, you're building up your 'Magnum Opus', a hard-charging death machine you customize to your own deadly specifications.

Eventually you will install upgrades designed to provide you more scrap at a much faster clip, but getting to that point takes a huge chunk of the game's runtime. In the early hours, Max has to manually collect every piece of scrap himself, whether it's from scavenging locations or exploded enemy vehicles. As Max begins to meet friendly-ish warlords who let him hole up inside their various cobbled-together strongholds, you can develop tech for them that allows crews to clean up spilled scrap for you, alongside devices that refill your health, your water supply, and your ammunition, among others. In order to build these devices, you have to pick up parts, which are, of course, spread throughout the wasteland inside scavenging locations and enemy bases.

Strangely, it is precisely when these devices are installed that Mad Max begins to lose some of its appeal. It's not that hunting around for scrap is really all that much fun--it's quite the opposite, especially after you've done it a hundred times--but in those hours prior to all those part acquisitions, Mad Max best captures the feeling of dire meticulousness necessary to survive in such an environment. Before Max has been upgraded to hold more bullets, to fight with greater effectiveness, to essentially let the game do half the collecting for him, Mad Max feels appropriately desperate. Once those upgrades are installed, Max goes from a scrappy survivor into precisely the kind of character archetype Max doesn't fit especially well into: the video game power fantasy protagonist.

To be fair, the game's version of Max was always precisely that. From the opening moments of Mad Max, it is eager to tell you that you're Very Special, the kind of special that the film version of Max (especially in Fury Road) absolutely is not. As Chumbucket discovers your shirtless, dusty body left bleeding in the sand by the game's one-note villain--a lumbering, codpiece sporting barbarian appropriately named Scrotus Scaberous--he begins prosthelytizing to you about how you are the Driver of Prophecy. Warlords, despite stating often that they have no good reason to trust you, nonetheless continue to feed you jobs and rewards because that's their only purpose in this world. Multiple characters appear and disappear solely for the purpose of giving Max the necessary pathos to keep doing the things the game requires him to do. Max is the only important character in this world, a world that bends to uncomfortable angles in order to keep you invested in whatever menial task happens to be marked closest on your map.

It's not enough to say that Mad Max hews too closely to the design trappings of most modern open world games, especially those of the Ubisoft/WB Games varieties. Developers continue to apply this kind of design because people enjoy it. I often enjoy it. I even enjoyed it at times while playing through Mad Max. Like last year's Shadow of Mordor, Mad Max polishes this template to a sheen. All the various borrowed parts, from the parry-focused Batman combat system to the seemingly endless string of base capturing side-missions, work in relative harmony to create an engaging, if familiar-feeling experience.

The problem is that these elements would be just as enjoyable in any other game not called Mad Max. Outside of aesthetic considerations and all the death mobile building, little about Mad Max's design feels uniquely suited to the license. It feels like it was assembled from an open world Mad Libs tablet, with blanks left for license-appropriate titles for characters, locations and whatever else. It feels designed via contractual obligation.

Even the most uniquely Mad Max pieces of the game wear out their welcome after a point. By far the most enjoyable missions are convoys, groups of enemy vehicles guarding a special rig that travels along a set path within a given region. These are the closest Mad Max ever gets to capturing the kinetic thrills of the films, as you launch harpoons, shoot flames, and fire shotguns at high speed, bobbing and weaving around defenders as they try to jump onto your hood, or knock you clear off the road. The first few times, these engagements are sublime. And yet, after I'd done about six of these, I couldn't bring myself to bother with any more of them. The rewards for completing them--various hood ornaments featuring skulls and other menacing bric-a-brac--aren't really worth the trouble, and once it became clear the game had no meaningful variations to offer beyond the strength of the vehicles I was assaulting, I got bored with it.

Like last year's Shadow of Mordor, Mad Max happily borrows numerous ideas from other open world games. Its combat system is pretty much identical to WB's Batman games, for instance.
Like last year's Shadow of Mordor, Mad Max happily borrows numerous ideas from other open world games. Its combat system is pretty much identical to WB's Batman games, for instance.

Other objectives became boring much more quickly. The game's attempt at towers, hot air balloons that you sometimes have to find fuel for (not so much a challenge as a momentary disruption), are just a longwinded way of making more icons on the map visible. Crashing through Scrotus' various scarecrow monuments is less fun and more a hasty way to help lower the "threat level" around a given territory. Capturing bases is enjoyable for a bit, but going through the same tedious process of blowing up oil pumps and storage containers loses its luster after a few go-arounds. And even when one of those bases happens to have a boss at the end of it, it's just the same boss fight each and every time. That's not an exaggeration. Outside of a couple of story-based deviations, every boss has the exact same fight strategy, and it's depressingly simple.

Unfortunately, much of Mad Max is just as simplistic. Six or seven hours before I arrived at Mad Max's endgame, I'd already maxed out most of the major car upgrades, every character stat, and every other character stat. Yes, there is a separate skill tree that can only be upgraded by completing challenges throughout the world. These give you tokens, which you can exchange with a ponderous desert mystic named Griffa. He will mutter some fortune-cookie-quality crypticism or another before blowing dust in your face and harnessing cosmic realignment to make it so you do not consume gasoline as rapidly as before. Why there needed to be a second skill tree is beyond me, though I'm guessing that the developers just couldn't pass up the chance to add yet another icon to the map.

All of this is to say that once I'd acquired enough upgrades, Mad Max ceased to present any challenge whatsoever. Enemy encounters went from occasionally tough to disappointingly easy. Areas where I was supposed to feel intimidated or fearful--such as the "underdune," a massive, buried airport repurposed as the main base of operations for a particularly nasty wasteland faction--were robbed of any measure of tension. The only difficulty to be found had more to do with the game's awkward controls than anything else. The game employs a number of context-sensitive button prompts throughout the campaign, and many of those buttons do double duty. The same button is used for both picking up dropping a weapon, and climbing/descending ladders and walls. While holding a gas can, the same button is used for refueling your car and setting the can on fire. You can imagine how many times intending to do one thing resulted in the other.

Admittedly, the lack of challenge I experienced is partly my fault, because I waited so long to bother finishing the story. Part of this is because the story is largely terrible, for reasons mentioned previously, but the other part is that Mad Max's most compelling feature is its grind. It is the blissfully untethered experience of just driving through a picturesque hellscape, doing whatever I felt like doing. I probably could have shaved an easy 10 hours off my playtime if I'd been more focused on just completing the main quest, but the main quest is so patently dull that more often all I wanted to do was anything else. Even if that anything else involved hot air balloons and scrap scavenging, I kept doing it.

The game's open world is pretty much just one large desert landscape, but it's a gorgeous one.
The game's open world is pretty much just one large desert landscape, but it's a gorgeous one.

Again, I kept doing it because that's what these kinds of gameplay systems are meant to do. They're meant to keep you transfixed, eyes darting to the minimap every few seconds looking for a new icon to conquer. Even the worst of these kinds of games find ways to hook you in. I don't know enough about human psychology to explain how or why having a lengthy checklist of jobs to complete is innately enjoyable, so long as the world you're doing it in is interesting enough. And that's precisely what Mad Max's world is. Hellish as it may be, it's gorgeous to behold, full of scorched mountains, elaborately constructed relics of bygone humanity, and probably one of the best skyboxes I've ever seen in a game. Sparse as it is, I wanted to see everything the wasteland had to offer. It recreates the look and feel of Miller's films brilliantly, marred only by occasional (and severe) framerate problems and a surprising number of audio bugs.

Once the game finally winds its way to its deeply underwhelming conclusion, the mystique all but wears off. The dust cloud of map objectives that surrounded me as I played dissipated, and all I was left with was a profoundly crappy ending, and only a vague recollection of what the hell I was doing for the last 30 hours of my life. Some have criticized Mad Max for not offering enough for the player to do, but I think that's only partially correct. There's tons to do in Mad Max, but most of what you do are the same few things, over and over again. I kept playing those same few things over and over again because I felt like I was supposed to, because some piece of my weird brain told me what I was doing was fun. I didn't know why, and at the time I didn't really care, either. Lots of games do this formula in more interesting ways than Mad Max, but that didn't stop me from burning a goodly amount of my precious lifespan on it like so much guzzoline. Odds are if you decide to play Mad Max, you'll find yourself in a similar situation. So too will you exist in this wasteland, a player reduced to a single instinct: complete.

Alex Navarro on Google+
98 CommentsRefresh
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Avatar image for dragon_puncher
Posted By Dragon_Puncher

Based on the quick look, this seemed like the embodiment of a 3/5 game.

Avatar image for planetfunksquad
Posted By planetfunksquad

Alex Navarro: Review Machine.

Avatar image for mithhunter55
Posted By mithhunter55

I wonder if they should have found a week where a bigger game wasn't coming out.

Avatar image for ch3burashka
Edited By ch3burashka

Sorry for tl;dring on you, but "striking visuals and enjoyable busywork" describes nearly every open-world game, including the best ones (Shadow of Mordor, MGSV, etc). There's been a weird split with this game specifically - reviews are mediocre, but most people find it an enjoyable experience.

As for the ending, haven't finished yet, but if it's "underwhelming" that sucks. I feel like it's building toward a final decision, as foreshadowed by Griffa, and if there's no real payoff it will suck but I'll still walk away with a fun experience.

PS Also I find it weird neither you nor Jeff mentioned the straight-up wrestling moves Max pulls off in Fury Mode - he's doing double leg kicks and suplexing dudes; it's kind of entertaining, imagining Max was a professional wrestler before the Calamity.

EDIT: Welp, I read it. Most of it I would begrudgingly agree with. The second to last paragraph is especially poignant:

Again, I kept doing it because that's what these kinds of gameplay systems are meant to do. They're meant to keep you transfixed, eyes darting to the minimap every few seconds looking for a new icon to conquer.

It is slightly reminiscent of F2P mobile games, on a slightly bigger and more interactive scale, but the premise is the same. You're absolutely right, but isn't that exactly what games are? If they're not linear, they're open-world, and if they're open-world, they're full of a handful of mission types for your to do repetitively. At a certain point, the only differentiating thing is the core conceit of the game, and the setting.

Avatar image for brodehouse
Posted By Brodehouse

Workmanlike.

Avatar image for spacecouncil
Posted By SpaceCouncil

They choose a really bad release date for this game.

Avatar image for benjo_t
Edited By benjo_t

Can't grasp the tone of the second half of the last paragraph. Was it fun or not?

Avatar image for alex
Posted By alex

@ch3burashka: I address that split a bit within the review text. I also did discuss his use of wrestling moves during the Quick Look.

Staff
Avatar image for hassun
Posted By hassun
Avatar image for alex
Posted By alex

@benjo_t: I think if you read the rest of the text, you will gather what I found fun and not fun about the game and its various objectives.

Staff
Avatar image for phoenix87
Edited By Phoenix87

Sure, its not perfect. But its still pretty cool for what it is and for a Mad Max fan, it was a solid purchase imo.

Avatar image for chilibean_3
Posted By chilibean_3

Yeah, my fear is that it would just be "another one of these". That's fine but I've had enough of those. There are things about it that seem fun and I'm a Mad Max fan so I think I 'll pick it up on sale during the holidays and just mainline the story or play until I tire of it. Whichever comes first.

Avatar image for benjo_t
Edited By benjo_t

@alex: I did read it. I suppose you were saying that you thought you were having fun, but you realised you weren't after the fact. I didn't ask to be abrasive, I asked to make sure I was understanding. Sorry if I was curt, I knew you would only be glancing at the comments for a few minutes.

It's a gorgeous game, but from what I've played it's quite mechanically rote. The driving and smashing into things is wonderful now (around 6 hours in) but I do wonder how long it will stay interesting. The ground combat is literally functional and that's about all I can say about it. It's a peculiar game in that it never manages to actually become more than the sum of its individual parts.

Avatar image for flight815
Posted By flight815

I didn't realize this was made by Avalanche! I'm surprised they were able to make this thing and simultaneously curious about what it could've been if they weren't also working on Just Cause 3 at the same time.

Avatar image for kentonclay
Posted By KentonClay

I feel like this game does nothing to really justify its open world. There isn't a focus on exploration like in Bethesda games, and there doesn't seem to be any really interesting systems that NEED an open world to work like Shadows of Mordor. I really think the game's strengths would have been better highlighted in a more tightly crafted experience.

Avatar image for steveurkel
Edited By steveurkel

I don't get it. I saw IGN review and said this looks like it might be up my alley and help me overcome the fact I can't afford MGS at the time. I decided to pick it up for extremely cheap and I have to say it has been one of the most surprising enjoyable games I have played in YEARS.

The driving is so fast and reminds me of motorcycle madness you just fly off huge jumps and boost around like a crazy son of a bitch. It is incredibly satisfying too as you get upgrades and your car becomes fast as hell and rips through guys with all the upgrades. The sense of power you get as you level up is phenomenal!

The hand to hand combat is so satisfying. THere wasn't a single fight in the game where I was like "not again" I enjoyed punching everyones lights out and watching them in slow motion get suplexed into dust. This game has so much weight behind the attacks and the sound effects are stellar. I can't recommend it enough.

Everything about this game is a joy. Upgrading and going through the wasteland becoming more and more powerful is a complete joy and not a chore. I love just getting in the car and taking off and the first thing you do is hit a huge massive jump and go ripping into the desert.

PLAY THIS GAME IT IS AMAZING!!! I am smiling from ear to ear every minute I've played it and I have 40+ hours into the game and I'm not even 50% done! The world is HUGE.

The graphics are also by far the best "vistas" and as a video game I like the graphics more than MGS 5. I am actually bored of MGS 5 by the 3rd or 4th chapter and am going back to play Mad Max now while typing this!

Avatar image for ch3burashka
Posted By ch3burashka

@alex said:

@ch3burashka: I address that split a bit within the review text. I also did discuss his use of wrestling moves during the Quick Look.

@hassun said:

@brodehouse: All reviews of Mad Max could be distilled to that word.

@ch3burashka: it came up in the Quick Look.

Well, fuck.

Avatar image for deactivated-582d227526464
Posted By deactivated-582d227526464

Timid Max: Insipid Road

Avatar image for cale
Posted By CaLe

This is a 3 star game in the same way Binary Domain was a 3 star game, I personally would recommend PC people to find it cheap via a key reseller and at least give it a chance. I hope they get a chance at a sequel, because I'm sure they know exactly where they went wrong and how to improve on it for the next one.

Avatar image for amyggen
Edited By AMyggen

Sounds about right. I'm so fucking sick of this formula, and this is The Open World Game: The Open World Game. Some people enjoy it, but not for me.

Avatar image for fargofallout
Posted By fargofallout

Sort of expected a 2. Based on the quick look and this review, I want no part of this game. I'm currently deep in The Witcher 3, and it has completely made me rethink how open world games can be done - side tasks can be implemented as something other than awful and pointless grinds, and I hope other developers realize this. This game looks like a whole lot of pointless grinds.

Avatar image for ghosthouse
Posted By GhostHouse

I really enjoyed playing this game once I got a handle on the awkward controls. But I'm the type of person that enjoys grinding as I find it relaxing if done right. For this game I was compelled to pick up every single scrap and collectible in every location. I do agree with everything Alex said, however, it is enjoyable busy work in a beautiful wasteland and that is about it.

Avatar image for strife777
Posted By Strife777

I definitely enjoyed my time with it. I might not go for a 3/5, but not far. It's totally decent, but not a must have. A big part of it for me was just the whole esthetic. The story was definitely a let down, and the ending left me feeling a little weird (one part of it in particular).

Edit: I would also be down for a sequel in two or three years, seems like some of it's issues could be looked into. I guess only sells will tell.

Avatar image for radiocage
Posted By radiocage

@flight815: They were working on JC3 at the same time. This was Avalanche's "A-team" (the ones that made JC2) and JC3 is developed by Avalanche's "B-team." That's not to address the quality of either team, even the best studios are able to produce sub-par games. Basically, I'm saying do not let the relatively disappointing Mad Max game steer you clear of Just Cause 3.

Avatar image for l4wd0g
Posted By l4wd0g

When I saw the map and all of the activities (on GameSpot's "Now Playing") I was a bit put off. It seemed like a giant "to do list." and while I enjoy those activities, they can be overwhelming. If feels like the AAA formula for open world games. I'm glad Alex addressed them in the review.

I just wish more games would stop doing boss fights...", every boss has the exact same fight strategy, and it's depressingly simple." doesn't sound like fun.

Maybe when it's cheaper...

Avatar image for y2ken
Posted By Y2Ken

This game seems alright. I wasn't sure about it, but I do want to spend some time with it. Picked it up today and it'll be a fun thing to bash around in, if nothing else. It sure is pretty.

Avatar image for homelessbird
Posted By Homelessbird

Yeeeeeeeah this thing had some bright spots, but it is exceedingly average in pretty much all ways.

I can't help but think that this would have been an awesome game like 3-4 years ago though.

Avatar image for engineno9
Posted By EngineNo9

This is effectively the same review score as something like the GameSpot review, but the thought and care put behind the actual words in it are a big step above.

One of my problems with the early reviews is that they didn't find real fault with the game, they just criticized minor points of the game (how can he carry so much scrap?) for being illogical even though they are well established tropes of videogames as a whole. Or they picked apart elements like the combat, that they had previously praised so heavily in games like Batman and Mordor.

Either way, good review Alex and I'm having fun with the game. It definitely satisfies my need for open world vehicular destruction. At least until Just Cause 3 comes out.

Avatar image for cornbredx
Edited By CornBREDX

I agree 100% Alex. You mostly summed my feelings on this game as well. I can only hope they are able to make a sequel if only so they can have another crack at it.

But maybe they shouldn't. I feel like Avalanche is more than capable of making a uniquely fun and action packed experience- doubly so I feel while (still) playing this that they're holding back. It's almost like WB had requirements for their game when they got the contract and that's all Avalanche did. I suspect this is because they didn't want to give WB any of their tech because we know- even in the car combat alone- Avalanche could have (and has) done so much more with it. Maybe they just don't want to make a Mad Max game? I can only speculate here.

Where Monolith took WB's template and went well beyond it to make something compelling (with Shadow of Mordor) Avalanche took it and (I speculate here) just wanted to make money so just did what was required of them. There's a lack of interest underneath that is kind of surprising. I actualy first caught wind of it when they weren't going to make Max Australian- thankfully they caved on that, but it doesn't amount to much when the story is so sidelined and seemingly not important

To be fair, whoever does the art, and even more specifically than that whoever created the weather system, did a hell of a job. He deserves a raise. I feel like the weather system in this game (while still needing a few tweaks) is what games of this type have always needed. There's a cool mod for Fallout New Vegas which has similar systems for the weather, but there's never been a game before that has tackled it as part of the shipped game.

Also, on the PC, I have not seen any of the issues you describe. There is no frame rate drops (it's always 60 on my PC- even when stuff is blowing up all around you and lightning is threatening to charge up below you at the same time) and it looks amazing. Edit: Oh and no sound issues either. Maybe those issues are console specific? I don't know.

This game of course proves that looks aren't everything, but that doesn't mean the game should be ignored. It's still a lot of fun just to play around in a universe like this; one that isn't Fallout. It's really a shame they didn't do more with it.

I do recommend people get it eventually, myself. Maybe when it's on sale next year. You can still get a lot of fun out of it, and it doesn't take an amazing PC to look incredible. The first time you see a sand storm coming at you over the hills miles away is totally worth it. If you're a Mad Max fan like me you may even get fun out of it's casual monotony. But like Alex says there isn't really much else- and I say that being a huge fan of Mad Max. I want this game to better, but unfortunately it's just what it is.

Hey at least it's better than the NES game- I guess.

I added some hot pics I took because they're fun to take.

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4

Avatar image for bannerthief
Edited By BannerThief

I honestly don't know why this is the game that has so many people in a tizzy over review scores, and the critics/playerbase split over its merits. To me, this game is Shadow of Mordor in a more interesting setting with a much less interesting gameplay hook. This is the kind of game that would have been labeled a 'rental' in an earlier era. I got into this a bit over on Rock Paper Shotgun's WIT comments section (also worth a read), but it's just bizarre to me that THIS is the hill that a small, rabid fanbase are willing to die on. This game looks BORING, and I say that as a Mad Max fan through and through. And this is (most likely, unless something goes terribly wrong) not even the best open-world game Avalanche will put out THIS YEAR. Why this game, of all games? It baffles me.

Avatar image for pmavers
Posted By pmavers

Picked it up for $19 online, and had a good amount of fun with it. Great to just mess around with for a bit, especially since there's no other good games coming out for a while.

"Your Mileage May Vary" seems to be the mantra for it, really.

Avatar image for rasulguhl
Posted By Rasulguhl

So basically this game is MEDIOCRE, hehe. I'm not sorry.

Avatar image for dasakamov
Edited By DasaKamov

@bannerthief: My guess would be that, because the movie "Fury Road" so strongly surpassed expectations, people has similar high hopes for a video game based off the same characters and setting.

It's a shame that the product we got looks more like a loosely-related movie-to-video-game cash tie-in, but I would like to pick this up one day myself. It seems competent but uninspired.

Avatar image for corporalgregg
Posted By CorporalGregg

I get why everyone compares the combat to the Arkham games, but it's nowhere close to the rhythmic timing and variety of combat in those games that Mordor emulated so well. There's no flow to your strikes in Mad Max. I get that Max isn't supposed to be Batman, but it's just nowhere close to being as satisfying. Mashing punch with occasional counters is it here and there's much more to Arkham's combat that makes it so fun.

Avatar image for amyggen
Posted By AMyggen

I honestly don't know why this is the game that has so many people in a tizzy over review scores, and the critics/playerbase split over its merits. To me, this game is Shadow of Mordor in a more interesting setting with a much less interesting gameplay hook. This is the kind of game that would have been labeled a 'rental' in an earlier era. I got into this a bit over on Rock Paper Shotgun's WIT comments section (also worth a read), but it's just bizarre to me that THIS is the hill that a small, rabid fanbase are willing to die on. This game looks BORING, and I say that as a Mad Max fan through and through. And this is (most likely, unless something goes terribly wrong) not even the best open-world game Avalanche will put out THIS YEAR. Why this game, of all games? It baffles me.

The game hasn't even gotten slammed by critics. It sits at 70-ish on Metacritic with some positive reviews, some mediocre reviews and very few outright negative reviews. The critical consensus seems to be that your mileage will wary according to how much you still like the very standard WB open world formula, and that it's a beautiful game with flawed but not bad mechanics. I agree that it seems like a strange hill to die on, but it's not exactly the first time people are mad about review scores :P

Avatar image for monkeyking1969
Posted By MonkeyKing1969

Three is a solid for this, its a game I'd pick up in a year or if it shows up on PS+.

You could ask for more, but with a franchise like this getting "too ambitious" with it can backfire. Nobody at Avalanche is at George Miller's level of crazy shaman...so if they tried to be him - they screw it up.

I'd say the lack of ambition is fine, they made a solid game with some hooks that might wear thin, but that's not half bad.

Avatar image for newmoneytrash
Posted By newmoneytrash

I really like this game. It's a 3/5 in the most positive way

Avatar image for chilipeppersman
Posted By chilipeppersman

I kind of expected this, but I know now to go into this with tempered expectations

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Posted By kasaioni

I'm guessing how many of those other similarly-structured open world games you'v actually played will also contribute to your enjoyment of this game. The only other one's I've played are AC4 and Shadow of Morder.

But this doesn't look like a bad game at all; but rather that it's just going through the open-world-game motions.

Great review Alex.

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Posted By ShadowSwordmaster

I kinda expected this score. It seems like it could be a good game, but it's not.

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Edited By gizmo88

This game is $19 on CDKeys.com For that price, it's more than worth it.

Great combat with average driving physics.

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Posted By Jamsque

menacing bric-a-brac

just Alex Navarro things

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Posted By KingdanglerBK

I will get this on a steam sale for under $5

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Edited By Wagrid

This is a good review; you are a good wordsman, Alex.

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Posted By Scotto

I found the game enjoyable while it lasted, but as soon as the final mission was over, I was pretty much done with it - I felt no desire to go back and 100% that shit. Especially with the way the last mission leaves the state of things - to say it creates no drive to go back and be a completionist, is an understatement..

Taking the various camps is fun. Taking out the convoys is fun. Some of the story missions are fun. Customizing your car is fun. The balloons (aka towers)? Not fun. Going around defusing land mines, and taking out dozens of "scarecrows"? Not fun. The story is dumb, and a bunch of the characters you never give a shit about (I still don't understand why I should have given the faintest fuck about "Hope" or "Glory", for example).

Contrary to your review however, there is most definitely NOT a linear path to the 'best" car. Heavier armor and rams seriously affect your handling and acceleration, as does your choice of tires. I was rocking the 2nd best V8 in the game by the end, and my acceleration still wasn't that great because my car was so heavy.

The melee combat is enjoyable at best, and serviceable at worst. It's also pretty goddamned easy, if you're a veteran of the Batman series.

If you have SweetFX and own this game on PC, I suggest finding some of the profiles for this game, that saturate the colours more, and make it look visually similar to Fury Road.

If this game focused more on the car combat, and gave you more to do in the wasteland, it could have been legitimately great. As it is, I think I'd give it a 7 or 7.5.

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Posted By Efesell

Yeah sounds about right. This game is totally fuckin' 'Okay' and I'd be willing to spend a lot more time messing around with it if it had not been released alongside Metal Gear.

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Posted By Boss_Kowbel

I think this is the best review you've written, Alex. It just flows so damn well. Please tell me this took you 20 hours or so to write. I need to feel better about my Mad Max review in some area.

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Posted By plonkplonkplonk

omg i can't believe you only gave it three stars omg they weren't paying you i can't believe you weren't 100% objective in your review totalbuscuit get on the case #ethics omg

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Posted By hyst

@pmavers said:

Picked it up for $19 online, and had a good amount of fun with it. Great to just mess around with for a bit, especially since there's no other good games coming out for a while.

"Your Mileage May Vary" seems to be the mantra for it, really.

Heh never thought of using that line to describe it, nice :).

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