If you referred to the Mad Max game as “the post-apocalyptic Shadow of Mordor” after seeing the title’s first gameplay trailer, you’ll be happy to know that you aren’t far off-base with your observation. It actually adapts several elements from your favorite Warner Bros. Interactive titles and mixes them in a pot with the dry, carnage-filled world of the Mad Max franchise. We’ve got our first hands-on impressions of the game right here, but first, take a look above at the newest trailer for the game titled “Savage Road”.
If it wasn’t obvious already: this game has no association with Mad Max: Fury Road outside of being a part of the same intellectual property, so don’t expect to be doing dirt road donuts with Furiosa any time soon. This is a standalone Mad Max experience, and we were lucky enough to get hands-on time with it during a press event last week in Santa Monica. It’s been a tough, thirsty road to finally seeing this game in action – a highly appropriate pun for this occasion, wouldn’t you say? That said, here are five reasons why you need to keep a close eye on Warner Bros. Interactive and Avalanche Studios’ upcoming title, Mad Max.
Mad Max’s vehicular combat will make you want to blast Chamillionaire’s “Riding Dirty”
This game’s vehicular combat was far more enjoyable than I expected it to be. I was met with a pleasant number of choices when running into convoys or random packs of marauders. Do I want to ram these pests’ obviously inferior vehicles until they combust into a cloud of fiery scrap metal? Or, should I target the driver and leave his passenger scampering away like the “Ricky!” scene from Boyz n the Hood? How about I just fire my “Carpoon” at my target’s vehicle, pull down the barrier hiding the bed of his truck, and aim at that red barrel sitting in the back. That’s simple video game arithmetic : gun + barrel = duh.
I found myself more often going with option one, as it appeared to be the quickest way to dispatch of any road nuisances, and I tend to prefer brevity over style. But the option to make a bigger, more movie-like explosion out of confrontations was a laudable addition by Avalanche Studios. I definitely found myself making a Twisted Metal example out of any enemies that pushed back on their imminent destruction.
The WB brand of beat ’em up is addictive.
Surely, the Batman: Arkham series wasn’t the first place we saw the pop-up counter combat system, but it was the first to truly nail the fluidity of how beat ’em up games should play in 3D spaces. There’s a state of gratification that comes from walking into a crowd of enemies and stylishly dispatching the entire group. We saw this fashion of combat bode well in the Lord of the Rings universe with Shadow of Mordor, and it holds up just as well in the Mad Max realm.
The game’s combat system is another unique take on the WB beat ‘em up formula. Upon landing critical blows or well-timed counters, players can perform executions on their enemies by mashing the action button quickly. Of course, just as with Batman: Arkham and Shadows of Mordor, different enemy types require different combat tactics to defeat. You’ll find that the assortment of weapons–from lead pipes to sniper rifles–at your disposal should keep you covered for encounters with the varying enemy types.
Check out what Magnus Nedfors (Designer, Avalanche Studios) and Martin Bergquist (Art Designer, Avalanche Studios) had to say about their upcoming Mad Max game.
The Magnum Opus is a cool ass co-op companion.
Do you honestly believe you can travel through the wastelands by foot? I actually attempted to take stroll from one enemy camp to another, and ended up as a road pancake after being spotted by a roaming pack of bandits. I was slightly stunned by the A.I.’s tenacity to commit a hit and run – perhaps I was expecting the enemies to park their cars and fire weapons at me, just like the police in Grand Theft Auto. Thankfully, the bandits acted as you would expect bandits in the Mad Max universe to react when seeing a lone straggler–viciously attempting to turn me into roadkill. That said, you’ll need to stay close to your Magnum Opus as all times if you want to keep breathing.
As a means of survival in the Wasteland, it’s important that you keep your Magnum Opus upgraded and stacked with all of the weapons necessary to keep opposing forces off of your back. You can also make customizations to your vehicle’s appearance all the way down to the engine inside of it, making for a more personal connection with your hunk of metal. Make a tank-ish death machine or buff your vehicle more so for the speed, the choice it 100% yours.
By the maker’s of the Just Cause franchise. ‘Nuff Said.
This is the year that people are going to know about Avalanche Studios. Outside of their continued success with the Just Cause series–the latest of which is due out this fall and being worked on by a separate team in New York–the studio has also been taking its time working on Mad Max for the last three years. Chances are, this will be the AAA title that the studio truly makes mainstream waves with.
I noticed some of Avalanche Studios’ centerpieces at play, like the harpoon equipped on your car and the physics of anything you decide to destroy using the harpoon. This is not to say that you will enjoy Mad Max if you enjoy Just Cause, because they’re totally different experiences. But the game definitely is chocked full of Avalanche open-world charm, and nonetheless serves as a sufficient introduction into the world of Avalanche games.
Create your own Mad Max adventure
The object of the game: control the wasteland. You do this by taking over the tons of enemy camps spread across the game’s map. It’s your choice to pick and choose how you go about Encounters with bandits happen at random, adding a prodding sensation to keep progressing through the Wasteland with limited stoppage. During my entire hands-on, I felt as if I was getting chased and this provided me with an unsettling urge to watch my back.
The game is similar to Shadow of Mordor in that it gives you a robust amount of ways to interact with its environment. Even with titles like Rage and Borderlands borrowing the post-apocalyptic imagery of Mad Max, this has been the first game to really encompass the spirit of the franchise, and if you love the world of Mad Max, then you’ll find this game pleasantly atmospheric.
My reservations with the game began with the controls–which felt a bit on the clunky side and took a little bit more time than I would’ve desired spending getting acclimated to them. I also felt that the game was missing a touch of personality, leaving me in a soulless sandbox without any legitimate purpose for me to continue on my quest. I’m hoping this will be remedied by becoming engrossed within the game’s story. My hands-on demo of the game focused specifically on Mad Max‘s gameplay elements, with very little light shed in terms of plot. We won’t know whether the game will deliver on level similar to Fury Road narratively until September 1st. But if anything, we can at least say that the game is, thus far, looking absolutely glorious from a gameplay standpoint.
Mad Max is set to hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC platforms on September 1st. How does this game look to you so far? Drive your thoughts on down to the comments below.