Mad Max is an open world action game, where you play as Max, a survivor in a desolate wasteland trying to survive. You do this by roaming the world in your car, the Magnum Opus. You collect scrap and use this currency to upgrade your vehicle, yourself, and purchase upgrades to strongholds throughout the maps.
There’s a lot of combat in this game and it’s all really fun. From watching gameplay, I was expecting that it was too slow. Max looked lumbering and clumsy. But let me tell you, this combat is incredibly satisfying. Yes, maybe it’s slow at times, but it works. Max isn’t a martial artist, he’s a desperate survivor that wraps nuts and bolts to his knuckles to knock people out. The combat system is reminiscent of the Batman games and Shadow of Mordor. Every once in awhile, there’d be a cheap shot that would hit me and ruin my combo, but most of the combo was really fluid and super fun to play. You can even add in melee weapons you can use, to give an extra boost to your damage output.
Usually these enemies are found in large battle areas, such as forts and outposts. There’s a cool dynamic of scouting out this base first and getting tips about how to handle it. You can then move in and systematically take out the entire group of enemies, which get progressively more difficult… and colorful.
When you’re not fighting, you’re going to be driving. When you begin, the Magnum Opus is a piece of trash, barely able to withstand a hit. But as you upgrade, this vehicle becomes amazing. My favorite piece was the harpoon, which you could use to take out large scarecrows in the environment, which lessens the enemy’s grip on the land. You could also use the harpoon to take out cars, by removing their armor or even taking out a wheel and leaving your enemy stranded. My favorite use though was to actually harpoon an enemy fighter directly and fling them across the screen by pulling the harpoon back.
The Magnum Opus feels like a dream, aside from occasional moments that it’s a little jerky and tends to drift off-course. It drives great on open roads but it also feels awesome to create your own road, wherever you want. The map is gigantic, but driving from place to place is incredibly satisfying luckily.
The other thing that that this game nailed is the tone of the world. You have to find water in the environment and fill up a canteen that you keep with you. You can eat dog food when your health is low. Aesthetically the world is gorgeous as well, in a dark tragic kind of way. You’ll often find yourself underground, including a beautiful sequence in an overrun airport. These sections are terrifying, as you only have a small flashlight to help you, but it reminded me of The Last of Us in the best possible ways. And these sections are often easy to miss, as only a ladder in the middle of the desert might be visible, but that might lead to a huge underground base.
Related to tone, the game implements random acts where a storm hits you out nowhere. I thought this would be gimmicky and wouldn’t impact the game, but these storms are crazy. Ravaging war boys come out and every time, I struggled to keep my car alive. If your car erupts, surviving on foot isn’t much easier, as flying debris and lightning will take you out quick. These storms are threatening in all the right ways.
While fighting the grunts, the combat is fantastic, but the bosses are a huge disappointment. They all look identical and, aside from some level design differences, they all fight the same way as well, much easier to take down than the hordes of war boys you’re used to fighting.
Some parts of car chases are amazing, like the huge convoys you have to takeout, but other times, the cars feel incredibly overpowered, where you can’t survive in your car but you also can’t survive on foot, unless you manage to get the driver out and fight them hand to hand. There were just a few frustrating moments like that.
Mad Max is an incredible game. I have a lot to do left, with so many icons left on the map for me to check off, but it’s a joy to do. Upgrading the Magnum Opus and customizing your look is a really easy to use but effective system. Taking out your enemies is the most rewarding part, be it sniping them from a distance or beating the hell out of them up close. The only disappointment there is the boss battles, which are unfortunately really easy and really repetitive, even in terms of looks. If you want an open world game that is full of amazing effects, fun characters, and some great combat, look no further. Mad Max will give you a ton of stuff to do, making sure you get your money’s worth from this game.