Mad Max: Fury Road was one of my favorite movies of the last year and it sticks in my top ten list of all time favorites. It hit all the right buttons for me. And yeah, I get it if you’re a cool kid and didn’t enjoy it, whatever. The point is, having been previously disposed to liking the world of Mad Max and really enjoying the hell out of Fury Road, I was a lot more excited for a tie in game than I normally would have. Don’t get me wrong, I would have played a Mad Max game regardless, but I’ve driven down the fury road of shitty tie in games my whole life. I’ve become grizzled and jaded towards these types of games and would have reluctantly purchased it when it hit 10 bucks for the XBox One. Lucky for me, it really helped that I got it for over half off on a Black Friday sale.
Thankfully, the developers of Mad Max didn’t just cash in, they really tried and it really shows. Let’s break this into scanable chunks though. I don’t want you to read too much on the internet!
The Good Stuff
The game pretty much covers anything I’d want in a Mad Max game. You play as Max, there’s car fighting, and fist fighting. You blow a lot of stuff up. It’s hard not to like that.
The world of Mad Max is one of these newfangled open world types. The map is large enough to feel big, though as you progress in the game you may find yourself wishing it was larger.
This being my first “current generation” game, I’m pretty impressed by the graphics. The cars look amazing and the environment is freaking fantastic. Sand, dust clouds, and all that jazz look great. Explosions and fire look even better.
The plot? Max’s car is taken away and he wants it back. I think. Look, I wasn’t really paying attention at that point and it’s not really that important. Max makes friends with a little mutant dude named Chumbucket who is both funny and annoying. When you meet him, he’s in the middle of building his dream car, The Magnum Opus. And by building, he’s got a frame, tires, and engine. Throughout the course of the game you get to upgrade the car with the most major component/quest being the V8 engine.
During your adventures, you’re accompanied by Chumbucket who operates the vehicles weapons (technically). He’s a great character who is more the voice of the game, since Max doesn’t say a ton. I found him humorous, but he is a chatty Cathy who repeats himself a lot. I could see where players might find him irritating.
Max stumbles upon several fortresses populated by losers who aren’t complete psychopathic maniacs, therefore they are the good guys by default. Max helps them out by building up their fortresses and doing chores for them before moving on. It’s kind of funny how Max is a relatively selfish hero, but he ends up completely improving the lives of thousands.
The car action is fantastic. Driving around and smashing into cars is extremely satisfying. Harpooning the wheels off of enemy cars is super fun and then later you get to simply blow them up with what is effectively a missile launcher. The best of the car combat is taking down convoys, which are simply groups of cars that drive around in a preset area until you decide to take them on. While some of the convoy battles get rather large, I wish they had one big one that circled the whole map, one the size of one of the movie convoys.
Mad Max’s ground combat is surprisingly satisfying. While it is rather simple, it works for the game. In many ways it’s a lot like the Arkham Asylum type of combat, except dumbed down a bit.
The Bad Stuff
Mad Max is a very repetitive game, especially if you’re the type that needs to complete every extra objective. While there are different communities to help in the wasteland, they all have the exact same projects that need to be completed to buff them up.
While the performance of the game was adequate most of the time I did occasionally experience massive slow downs where the XBox One couldn’t keep up with the demands of Mad Max.
The other big problem is that when fighting indoors the camera can be a real pain in the ass. It should zoom out more automatically, because there are plenty of times where the bad guys can get some cheap shots in due not the inability to see them.
One huge problem for me was that there’s one critical mission that you have to win via a race. I’m terrible at racing and the car you build isn’t that great at handling. This mission was brutal for me and it pissed me off that I was stuck having to win a race in a game that’s 99% combat, not racing. However, going back after my car was upgraded a lot more I had a much easier time. I was thankful that 99% of the races in the game are optional.
The mini bosses in the game are the same. And by that, I mean they all look exactly the same and they all have the same pattern of attacks. They have different “weaknesses”, but you can do the same actions for all of them and you’d beat them. It would have been a lot cooler (and realistic) if each of the mini bosses was more visually distinct.
What it’s Missing
The major element missing is innocent people. Sure, there are some thirsty wanderers occasionally and there’s the people that live in the good guy strongholds, but otherwise the non murdering freaks are non existent. It would have been nice to experience some more random encounters in the wasteland where you can save people from marauders (like in Red Dead Redemption). Likewise, it would have been nice to find survivors in the War Boy strongholds and send them on their way to the good guy fortresses.
Mad Max is a fun game, despite it being repetitive. As a brand new, 60 buck game it’s a bit over priced. As a 30 to 40 dollar game it is amazing. It’s too bad they didn’t have more variety like random wasteland missions, varied mini bosses, and those other small touches that mark the difference between a fun game and an epic game.
Final Score: 3 Road Warriors out of 5