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Buttonmashing with Butterfield: Mad Max

A derivative, but good action game by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
A derivative, but good action game
by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Mad Max: the game: the review

Author: Ethan Butterfield – Contributor

With the Oscars on the way and Mad Max: Fury Road heading into the nominations with a head of steam, it seems only appropriate to review the new Mad Max video game.

So, yes, Mad Max, the tragic story of a lone ranger wandering the wasteland in search of something that he may never find… a reason to go on. I must say, as far as games that are released alongside movies go, this one is definitely in the upper tier. From the opening cinematic onward, I was 100 per cent invested. The game begins with Max Rockatansky speeding away from a gang of bandits as they try to steal his legendary car (the V8 Interceptor) and leave him for dead. They succeed in the first objective, but the second one… well you can’t have a Mad Max game without the man himself.

To shed more light on it, the opening montage is really something. Set beautifully to Steven Stern’s version of ‘Soul of a Man,’ it does a great job of setting up the villains for the journey ahead. This is actually quite nice, due to the fact that lately this is something that a lot of games have struggled with; creating a clear villain that you love to hate or hate to love. Also (switching gears here) Max as a video game protagonist works just as well as he would in film. Sometimes, the transition from the big screen to the gaming scene can be tricky for movie protagonists (see E.T. on the Atari for details). But the character of Max pulls it off very well.

What about the gameplay, though? Well, I’ll be honest, it was a little bit of a bumpy ride before I got used to the controls. There were a couple of moments in game were I would randomly use my shotgun when I thought I was hitting the melee button, which of course, cost me precious ammo. Speaking of ammo, the survivalist aspect of the game is something I really enjoyed. Since the game is set in The Wasteland and your fuel and resources are quite limited, if you run out of firepower you instead have to strategize your movements rather than running in and then immediately running out due to your lack of any and all ammo.

Driving is another gameplay mechanic that is really fun and easy to get into. I like the way the car handles at the start. It isn’t perfect right off the bat; it takes time and scrap (the currency in Mad Max) before you can get a decent ride to roll out in.

Lastly, I’ll mention the fight mechanics. This one’s a little lazy because it’s basically just copy pasted from Batman: Arkham Asylum. Still fun, though, just no real big changes on that front, but hey, don’t fix what isn’t broken, right?

So the last thing to talk about is the overall story. Does the game do the Mad Max franchise justice? As far as I can tell, it does. I really liked the story arc in this game, playing as a character that’s lost everything, only to find purpose when a purpose finds him. It’s not one of those stories where the game tries to twist the player’s mind on if the hero is justifiable in his actions or if the villain is actually doing things for the right reasons. Nope, this story boils down to the classic hero vs. villain battle, although I will admit there were a few moments that caught me off guard. You’ll have to play it through to figure it out yourself.

So, do I recommend Mad Max: The Game? Yes, I really enjoyed this game and I think that it adds more depth to an already well-explored franchise. The only big issue I would point out is that it does take a bit before Max starts getting some of his cooler gear, but for the way the game is structured, you don’t really notice until you get further in-game. So there you have it, ‘oh what a day… what a lovely day!’

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