It is no secret that I'm a Mad Max fanboy, as I worship every single film (Except the third one. Not bad, just that it isn't up to most fans' expectation). While we all agreed that the recent Fury Road is one of the best action movies of all time (It surpassed The Road Warrior to me), we naturally were being aware on the adaptation game, even when it's developed by Avalanche Studios (Just Cause series). After reading some encouraging reviews (Not extremely positive), I decided to gamble my money and buy it at full price. And guess what? It's not even close to being the Game of the Year, but it sure is a lovely, lovely game.
The game starts off when Max Rockatansky was driving on his Interceptor/Black on Black to the Plains of Silence. He quickly dispatched a War Boy group chasing him before being captured by another, and being left to die by Scabrous Scrotus, the third son of Immortan Joe, who is oddly somehow not mentioned in the movie. After being awaken and failed to retrieve his stolen car back, he met a deformed, former Citadel "blackfinger" (mechanic) Chumbucket who somehow recognize Max as a saint sent by his so-called Angel Combustion to assist him in building his greatest vehicular creation, the Magnum Opus. And thus, it begins the adventure of two wasteland "buddies" who will free the place from the War Boys and make the most awesomest car ever, with their hands, bullets, and explosions. Especially explosions.
As director George Miller stated that the movies are not strictly bound to continuity and more like a series of legends, and Max being more of a mythological figure, you don't really need to be too concerned on where should the game set on the movie timeline.
This is a true love story about a badass and a mechanic.
As previously stated, you'll spend the majority of the game improving the Magnum Opus, your main vehicle for driving and combat for the rest of the game. The Magnum Opus can be customized at any time with various parts, from whether you want to alter its looks, to changing the parts and stats to suit a particular situation. There's also a nice addition in that you could change the car body appearance (For those who were despaired that you never get to drive the Interceptor, fear not, there's an Interceptor body for the Magnum Opus).
To unlock both the Magnum Opus car parts, and Max's arsenals and armors, you'll need to decrease the notoriety of three friendly territories controlled by War Boys. You'll soon gather various car parts such as front bumpers to increase ramming damage, tires for better traction, and of course engines if you need more speed or keep carrying heavier car parts. Do note that certain car parts need to be unlocked through various quests. Max also able to gain better clothings for better protection, and better fisticuffs for better damage. More often that not, I tend to keep Max's appearance as the iconic Road Warrior. No kevlar suit and no fancier fisticuffs, the way I like it and more often worth the risk.
The car combat is the main highlight of the game, as it managed to capture the car chases prevalent in the films. You can simply ram your car on another vehicle, get Chumbucket to use the Avalanche-trademark harpoon to tear off doors or throw people out, or use the Thunderpoon (Try not to cringe) to blew up anyone unfortunate to be caught in the explosion, or use your good ol' sawed off shotgun. It's even better when you're ran into a sandstorm as you're in the middle of a car chase, as you'll try to engage / escape from your captors while dodging debris and lightning.
Sucks to be a War Boy when Max's around.
A lot of time on Mad Max also requires you to engage in melee combat with various enemies. The combat system is pretty much akin to the Batman Arkham series, albeit slower and much more realistic. While Max is not as agile as the Dark Knight, he's quite brutal with his fists and certainly pulls no punches when it comes to using visceral combat techniques such as breaking an arm or doing a German Suplex on a poor mook. In addition, you can use your shotgun to kill someone and scared the others to back off momentarily, or shoot any War Criers (Enemy buffers) dares to interfere with your fistfights. Generally, I prefer to watch Max's slow wince-inducing moves than Batman's ballet kung fu.
The survival aspect of this game is all down to just regain your health instead of also fulfilling your stomach, which might or might not be a good thing, depending on how much you want out of a seemingly 'survival' game. You either eat dog food out of tin cans or maggots from corpses, or fill your canteen with water which you can replenish your health at anywhere.
There are various main and side quests throughout the Wasteland, which could varied from exhilarating to mundane. Any quests involving utilizing your Magnum Opus is the better parts of the game, while the others that consists of not using your car, they could have been better.
For some reason, Max looks like Rico Rodriguez at times.
In general the Wasteland is truly gorgeous to look at, what with all the colorful sands, the vibrant skies, and the various landmarks that are truly sights to behold. There are various people around the place that you could interact with that could offer you a bit of scraps, show you a location you haven't been on the map (Some of them need you to give out half the water on your canteen to quench their thirst), or giving you intel on War Boy-controlled camps. Around the Wasteland are also various side activities that help decreases the notorierty, and they're, for a lack of better words, competent. Not only you need to tore down various intimidating towers around the place, you'll also get to chase down various convoys driving around the Wasteland. The convoys are considered to be the best part of the game, and it's such a shame that when you eliminated the convoys, they're gone for good. For those who suggest that the game really needed the Shadow of Mordor's nemesis system, the convoys are undeniably the best choice to implement that system.
Storming the big camps are a bit of a mixed opinion for me. While all the camps' level design are varied enough to warrant exploration and mask repetition, sadly all the enemies are generally cookie cutter mooks that you'll face again and again at each encampments. Even the colourful small-time bosses are all the same in terms of their combat and tactics.
Unsurprisingly for a post-apocalyptic game, most of the characters in this game are jerks. Heck, even Max's quite an asshole here even if you count the movies, so it's kinda hard for anyone except fans of Mad Max who'll remotely feel for him. Chumbucket, apart from his obsession towards the Angel of Combustion, is pretty much one of the few nice people around the Wasteland.
The only one side activities I hated in this game is the Death Runs. Generally, they aren't important quests (Except one) and the tracks are all fine, but for the car collectors and completionists, those races unlocks all the enemy vehicles and they're necessary if you're too lazy to drive any of them back to a friendly fortress. No, the worst part of this is the AIs. While they are pretty good competitions in general, they more than often tend to try and ram me offroad instead of sensibly outrun me. As a result, they willingly throw me and themselves off numerous cliffs throughout the races just to not let me pass, and I've frustratingly restarted them hundreds of times just to find another way to not bump into them.
Despite having a lot of side activities that are as dry as the Wasteland, Mad Max is still a pretty good game on its own and a worthy entry to the franchise. Anyone who's a fan of Mad Max or the car combat genre would do well to pick it up, especially on a discount.
Oh, what a game. What a lovely game!
But still, fuck Death Runs.