Mad Max - Appropriately Infuriating Review

QUICK GLANCE:

  • Platform: PC, XBOX ONE, PS4
  • Players – 1
  • Achievements – Yes
  • Steam Trading Cards - Yes
  • Controller Support - Yes
  • Retail Price - $49.49 on Steam, $59.99 on XBOX ONE and PS4

High Level Premise – Action/adventure sandbox in the world of Mad Max.

Graphics/Style – Top notch realistic looking graphics that capture the feel of the Mad Max world very well.

Music/Soundtrack – One of the best parts of the movie Mad Max: Fury Road was the excellent adrenaline pumping soundtrack. I was pretty disappointed when I found out the soundtrack for the game was pretty much stock action game soundtrack.

Story – Mad Max has had his car stolen by the desert warlord Scrotus and is forced to team up with the hermit mechanic Chum Bucket to build a new car and get revenge.

Replay-ability – After beating the game you can still drive around fighting random enemies and finishing any uncompleted quests Skyrim style, whether or not you'd want to is another matter.

Time Commitment – I imagine you can plow through the main game pretty quickly if you ignore the side quests, but as I'll talk about below, the game does everything it can to waste your time

Value – I got this one on sale for $12 (Humble Bundle Monthly) so I feel pretty satisfied with the value to experience ratio but if I paid full price I'd probably have chucked my controller out the window in a fit of rage.

Favorite Element – It's a tie between building and upgrading your car (the Magnum Opus) and the banter from your mechanic buddy Chum Bucket who rides around with you manning your harpoon gun and repair your car.

Mad Max - PlayStation 4
Warner Home Video - Games

Some games you love and some you hate, but I've never played a game that was as simultaneously rewarding and infuriating as Mad Max. This is a sandbox style game similar to something like GTA or Saints Row, only set in the Mad Max universe. You drive around the desert fighting roving war-bands in vehiclular combat as well as on foot, all the while collecting scrap to upgrade your car so you can eventually take on Lord Scrotus. Max has multiple ability tiers that you can level up to get better at scavenging and in combat and your car has a fantastic amount of options as well. Sound great, right? Well, not quite, let's talk flaws.

After playing for a couple hours you start to realize that the entire game boils down to that simple formula that you just repeat over and over again. You drive around the desert and fight some guys in cars until you reach some sort of outpost, then you get out and fight some guys on foot, then you drive around some more till you find another outpost full of meatbags to punch, and so on and so on. Now this may sound monotonous, and it is, but the gameplay itself is very fun and satisfying so you don't really mind too much. As it turns out, fighting endless hordes of desert dwelling, crazed bandits is pretty fun.

What is most definitely not fun about this game is how it nickel and dimes your time away just to have a longer play time. Everything you do from filling your canteen to kicking down doors has a little animation or mini cut scene that you are forced to endure. This is fine the first 10 times you see it, but at some point you get tired of waiting half a minute for Max to fill has car up. These little chunks of time start to add up in your head and you start to wonder how much of your life has been wasted holding a button down for 20 seconds to open a door. To add insult to injury these mechanics don't really add any value to the game. You have a pry bar and some boxes you can walk up to and open and some you need to use the pry bar on. Why? Who knows, it's not like the pry bar is hard to get, you can pick it as your first upgrade if you want. There's no challenge to opening something with your pry bar, it's really only there to incrementally add “play time” to the game.

Finally, the most rage inducing part of the game is Max himself. In the movies, Max was a reluctant hero and kind of a nut, but you liked him, you could relate to him. In the game, Max is just a jerk. Reluctant hero couldn't really be used as a descriptor here because Max only cares about himself. He does missions for slavers to get parts for his car, hates everyone he talks to, and constantly yells at poor lovable Chum Bucket. (SPOILERS AHEAD) This little guy thinks of you as a saint sent by the “Angel of Combustion” and bows to your every whim and demand for the entire game. Near the end of the game Max callously tells him that once he gets his V8 engine in the car, that Chum Bucket built mind you, he he's going to load it up with fuel and drive into the desert alone. Then in the game's most egregious moment, during the final battle, you are forced to ram Lord Scrotus' truck off a cliff while Chum Bucket, the only likable character in the game hangs onto the front of the car begging you not to do it. It doesn't even matter because Scrotus just drives a car out of the back of the truck before it falls off the cliff. So the game forces you to kill your sidekick for no reason at all. (END SPOILERS)

In spite of everything bad I've said, there is a good game in there somewhere. The gameplay is enjoyable, and while the side quests are repetitive they are still pretty addictive. I also love the upgrade system for your car and think it was well implemented. If you can get this game on sale I'd recommend it in spite of its flaws, just be aware it has flaws aplenty, but then again, maybe that's point. Maybe the developers implemented these flaws on purpose. Maybe the point is to drive you as mad as Mad Max himself, so at the end of the game when Max rides into the desert, you're right there with him, angry and driven to the point of insanity.

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