Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Genre: Open-World Adventure
Release Dates: September 1, 2015 (NA) / September 4, 2015 (EU)
Price: 54,99€ (Steam)
Released only a few months after the movie franchise reboot "Mad Max: Fury Road", Mad Max isn't just another one of those movie-adaptation video games to follow the same background and story, but instead it takes inspiration from the entire movie franchise to create a unique experience, as the game is more like prequel to Fury Road, introducing you to the world of Max Mad without the need for any prior knowledge about the series. Mad Max aims for a story about a pointless existence of murder and regret, which does have its moments in situations where your actions will end up messing other people's lives as well as your own, but just like many other games of its kind the stories that will stay with you afterwards are the ones you make yourself on the road to the finale.
The story follows Max, who is once again left with nothing after Scabrous Scrotus took his car, on his journey for revenge accompanied by Chumbucket, a lonely blackfinger whose only goal is to build to ultimate ride. Along this journey you will meet all different kinds of insane people, starting with the Stronghold leaders, which will give you different side quests to complete across the wasteland and ending with all the stranger encounters that will sometimes give you scrap as a token of their gratitude for your fight against Lord Scrotus or useful information to help you take over a camp, such as the location of a secret entrance or different weaknesses in the structure that you can take advantage of.
The story missions are only a small part of what Mad Max has to offer, as there are plenty of things to distract you along the way and on that side of things, the game gives you plenty of things to do to spice up your adventures, with camps to take over, scavenging locations to complete and many more; the order in which you complete those is totally up to you and completing different activities along the way is what makes Mad Max an enjoyable experience, even when it does come with its flaws.
If you have played some of the major open world games released in the past year such as Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, you will most likely find similarities in Mad Max's gameplay mechanics. On foot, the main combat element is brawling, as you will use simple attack and counter attack movements to defeat various types of enemies along the way, as the only weapon in your arsenal while on foot is your loyal shotgun, which does have limited ammo, so using it carefully between punches to defeat a more dangerous enemy approaching you is key. Driving your Magnum Opus things change, as the ultimate goal is upgrading your car to make it the best ride across the wastelands, as you will unlock new car bodies, engines, suspensions and many more customizable elements; with that being said, your Magnum Opus is equipped with a Harpoon that can be used to drag and pull different objects or structures, as well as a Thunderpoon and Side Burners.
In addition to the weapons that can be attached to the Magnum Opus, the car itself can be used as a weapon, as different upgrades such as Boarder Spikes, Armour or Boost will come in handy if you want to be more aggressive and slam into other vehicles. While the main missions will give you an idea of how harsh the world of Mad Max is and introduce you to different elements of the game, the best way to experience what Mad Max has to offer is by going out to explore the different events and locations on your own, as there are numerous races to complete, camps to take over and scavenging locations filled with scrap and upgrade parts for your projects in the Strongholds.
As large in scale as it is, Mad Max feels really limited when it comes to movement freedom, as you will often head for a cliff that looks easy to reach only to find out that there is no way for you to get there, as the movement mechanic only allows you to climb marked locations. On top of that, the game does come with the occasional bugs and glitches, but those are minor enough not to influence your experience too much.
For a deserted wasteland, the world of Mad Max is quite beautiful in its own gloomy way, with detailed locations and memorable places; contributing to that world are the insane characters you will meet along the way, each with its unique personality and level of madness. The weather effects have a significant impact on the world, as nights will make the desert look even more lonely and storms will reduce the visibility to a point where looking ahead of you will become your main objective. Animations can be a bit clunky at times and there are some texture popping issues, the number of them varying from one platform to another, but those are only minor issues that barely distract you from the massive world that lies ahead of you.
Bren Foster is the voice of Max and does a great job narrating every dramatic moment of Max's adventures, accompanied by other noted actors such as Travis Willingham voicing Lord Scrotus and Jason Spisak providing the voice of Chumbucket. The sound effects are okay and even though they can feel a bit repetitive at times, there is enough variety in action to make sounds feel distinct and take you on an emotional ride from one dramatic moment to the next one and straight back into the chaotic action afterwards.
You can probably finish the story within 15 hours if you go straight forward from one mission to the next one and complete only what is necessary, but with so many things around you that will probably not be the case, so with all the races, camps and locations to explore you can easily spend 50 hours with Mad Max, add even more if you're willing to complete every challenge.
Mad Max is an excellent open world adventure no matter if you're a fan of the movies or not, as the game does a great job introducing you to the world of the franchise and tell you an interesting story without sacrificing too much on the fun, chaotic gameplay that will keep you hooked for hours. If you want a game to keep you preoccupied for a long period of time, Mad Max is definitely a must try as it provides more than enough content and variety to entertaining you for a couple of days.