Xbox One Review: Mad Max

The Road Warrior returns!

Mad Max: Fury Road brought fresh life to the film series that last saw an entry with Beyond Thunderdome. It had a new star behind Max, no Mel Gibson but Tom Hardy instead. It received fairly positive reviews, so I was surprised to see a game in the pipeline for the series that actually had no ties with the new film. You would imagine a cheap film cash-in would be on the cards, but Avalanche Studios has a different agenda.
The story follows Mad Max as he is ambushed by a fuel overlord called Scrotus (Seriously, that’s his name!) and his crew who steal Max’s pride and joy, his car. Max then comes across a crazy hunchback called Chumbucket (Yup, you read that right too!) who helps Max construct a new car known as the Magnum Opus to drive around the Wasteland. Fuel, water and scrap metal are all things you will need to keep gathering to keep your engine running, Max healthy and to construct new gadgets/weapons for both Max and the Magnum Opus, including a harpoon to pull down defences and symbolic statues, as well as sniper rifles/shotguns to use while driving and so on.

The gameplay is open world, mixed with the combat from Rocksteady’s Batman series, although it isn’t quite as fluid or refined as that. It actually seems to be more luck generated than skilled sometimes when you win a fight. Being Mad Max you’d expect car battles and you’d be right to do so…they essentially end up in side-ramming, boosting into the enemy and if you can….shotgun the driver to bring the car to a stop. At first I felt a little out of my depth with the car battles, but that too felt a little clunky…especially when compared to the vehicle combat of Arkham Knight.
Collectables are scattered around the wasteland, as well as air balloons to enter to get a overview of what to expect like Assassin’s Creed’s “synchronising” , you can also go to specific areas and run a bit of recon on enemy bases, all of which will need to be taken over for you completionists. The Wasteland is devoid of anything, it’s barren and as a result isn’t particularly striking. It doesn’t quite have the level of detail as other open world games and it does feel a bit bland at times. Essentially it does everything you would expect of an open world game…but without the charm of GTA or even MGS V.

Voice-acting is a mixed bag, Max is your stereotypical sounding Aussie, while characters like Chumbucket sound completely insane and inbred. The music is pretty decent though and while the game is glitchy at times with enemies seemingly disappearing into thin air and the finishing move animations sometimes not perfect, the overall game isn’t too bad to look at…it just doesn’t have the visual charm of other open world games. It almost feels like a “by the numbers” type of game, it works for the most part, but it doesn’t seem to have its own identity.

The Verdict

Mad Max isn’t the car crash I imagined it would be. It’s actually a pretty decent open world game with a fairly enjoyable story too, it just lacks originality and charm of other open world games to stand out from the crowd. If however, you are craving a trip down the Wasteland in Max’s Magnum Opus instead of the Batmobile, then this is one journey worth taking.

Score: 8.0