INTRO & STORY
Mad Max is a post-apocalyptic open world 3rd person perspective action game that feels like a cross between Grand Theft Auto and Fallout. The main story of the game all starts with Max taking a chainsaw to the head of a warlord named Scrotus, being captured by his marauders and left in the desert to die. Max is on a mission to reach “The Plains of Silence”, but the marauders have stolen and striped his car. Lucky for him, he meets a Quazimoto-esque blackfinger (mechanic) named Chumbucket who decides it is his holy mission to build Max a new car, the Magnum Opus so Max may complete his holy mission. He just needs to get Chumbucket the parts, thus beings the journey.
The world of Mad Max is sand, oil, steel and death. Though one would expect that a desert only game might get a little boring to look at after a while, each of the territories of the map are beautifully rendered and have their own unique character. All signs of civilization has been wiped away with the exceptions of the bones, rusting steel, cracked wood, torn and tattered cloth, the scraps of the past. Instead of me trying to poorly craft descriptions of how it looks, check out these screenshots.
Along with the sand dune sunsets, you will find a variety of camps and forts cobbled together with rusty steel plates, leftover cars, crashed planes and boats. These locations will definitely have a number of enemies, things you can blow up, scrap to collect and resources such as food and water.
MISSIONS & LEVELING
Ever since Max gave Scrotus a lobotomy, a number of the smaller warlords are looking for help in reducing the influence of the dead man’s faction that is still running things. Territories have a threat score that starts at 5 and decreases as you complete missions. Decreasing the threat level unlocks new quests from the faction leader, upgrades for the Magnum Opus and reduces the number of marauders patrolling the area. The more missions you complete raises Max’s legend (his level) in the wasteland, which corresponds to which combat/survival abilities are unlocked and how many Griffa tokens you can spend to improve their effectiveness. Like most open world games there are a number of repetitive mission types which you encounter in each area, along with an Assassin Creed-type, top of the tower, bird-eye view balloon ride in each area to locate and set missions on the map.
These camps are usually deserted, but there can sometimes be one or two marauders guarding them. You will find a hot air balloon at each of these camps which you can go up in to scout the area. This lets you mark you map with the local missions.
These giant metal totem poles with fire represent markers of Scrotus’s territory. You can destroy them in a number of fun ways such as crashing your car into them, pulling them down with a grappling hook or blowing them up.
Watch out, they have a gun. These are basically like Scarecrows but with a guy that can shoot you from a few hundred meters away. You know there’s one nearby when you start seeing J. J. Abrams lens flares on the screen.
In each territory there is one or two convoy’s, it’s a fuel truck carrying crude oil with between 2 and 5 guard vehicles. Your mission if you choose to accept is to bash, crash and grind the fuel truck into scrap. The reward is a cool hood ornament which enhances the Magnum Opus.
There are a number of minefields in each territory, if you use Chumbucket’s buggy and the dog you found you can scout and disarm the minefield to complete these missions.
The death race is pretty much what it sounds like, you enter a race, they strap explosives to your car, if you don’t win the race, and they blow you up.
Oil Pump Camp
These are slightly larger camps, they generally have several encounters with half a dozzen marauders. The goal is to destroy the oil pumps at the location, cutting into Scrotus’s oil production.
Transfer Tank Camp
These are mid-sized campus, generally with a few encounters with marauders. The goal is to destroy all of the oil tanks, cutting into Scrotus’s oil reserves.
Top Dog Camp
These are fairly large camps, usually large structures with multiple encounters and then a boss encounter at the end. Sadly, it’s almost always the same looking guy with a big maul like weapon and the same fighting style.
These missions usually entail a small camp site with 1 to 3 average level enemies and 1 to 3 scrap pickups.
The last thing to know about finishing missions in the wasteland, this is how you get scrap. Scrap is the currency of the game, and is used to pay for upgrades to Max, the Magnum Opus and to the Strongholds in each area. This includes some special scrap for Stronghold upgrades. Collect it all, you’ll need it.
FISTS OF FURY
There are two ways to fight in Mad Max, with your fists and with your car, lets talk fists. Don’t get me wrong there are knives, clubs, guns and other weapons but they are window dressing. Most of the time you are using your fists to communicate. The hand to hand combat in the game is similar to the Batman Arkham games. You are punching and blocking, blocks can turn into counters. You have a shotgun but it has limited ammo and you usually want to save those bullets to destroy specific out of reach items on the missions. You can also carry a number of shivs based on your level which will allow you to do quick kills and finsih moves, useful when fighting a whole bunch of guys at the same time to thin the heard. As you fight it tracks your hit count, if you attempt to block when there is no attack it will reset your hit counter so make sure you don’t just mash your block button. If your hit count gets high you’ll go into fury mode more often. When this happens, time slows down, your attacks do more damage and you can do special finish moves. As you level Max up you can unlock finish moves and increase the amount of time he can wield weapons he picks up before they break from use.
MAGNUM OPUS & THE ROAD WARRIOR
The other main character in our story is the Magnum Opus, Max’s car. As you help the smaller warlords to reduce the threat in their territories and increase Max’s legend you will unlock upgrades for Chumbucket’s masterpiece. Improvements such as engine power, traction, suspension, armor, defenses, weapon systems and appearance will allow you to customize your car. Some of the challenges such as the Convoy missions will become difficult if you don’t keep on top of your upgrades as enemy vehicles start getting armor and increasing in numbers. Car combat is fairly strait forward, if you smash into them they take damage, if they smash into you, you take damage. So the faster and more maneuverable you are, the greater your advantage. One of the most rewarding moments in the game is when you pull off your first full speed head-on collision with a nitro boost and you watch the car you hit deteriorate in a fireball of destruction.
I’ve successfully cleared all the missions, convoy’s, scarecrow, sniper and scrap locations in Jeet’s (the first) territory and started working my way through Gutgash’s. With those territories cleared I will have eliminated Scrotus’s influence from The Great White and I will have Pink-Eye’s territory in the Dead Barren’s to look forward to next. I grew up with the original three Mad Max films, and driving around in this game and getting my fists dirty fighting with the filth of the wasteland has its nostalgia. The game is well executed, it faces all the same challenges of open world games like quest repetition and a limited variety of enemies but does so in a way that is still enjoyable. It has a criss cross of different game play mechanics from a number of popular games and captures the essence of George Miller’s world. If your a fan of open world, or just Mad Max, this is a game to consider.
Video Snippets from Convoy Hunt