On the road again
Walking really should be obsolete in 2015. We might as well just snap our legs off now and be done with it. Developer Avalanche clearly agrees: a good 90% of Mad Max is spent behind the wheel, as Max and freakish sidekick Chumbucket ( less Charlize Theron in Fury Road, more Charlize Theron in Monster) work together to build the “Magnum Opus”, a car capable of crushing all competitors.
The frequent car combat starts rough and intense as you crudely bash rivals off the roads, and gets better with each new tool you unlock, from barbed spikes to the satisfying harpoon gun. And before you get bored, you’ll be dragged back in with a sniper rifle, or a flamethrower, or a mine- detecting dog. Blow up your car and you’re forced out on foot, exposed to the elements and the bad guys while Chumbucket slowly repairs it – a brilliant gameplay mechanic.
The environment looks great: the sunrise over the desert, the ships and cars you see buried in the desert, the er… nightfall. Over the desert. Okay, variety isn’t a strong point, but the Mad Max universe is mostly sand and death and that’s captured well. The quotable lunacy of the world doesn’t fare as well; story- wise the game devolves to endless philosophising about cars, like the world’s most pretentious Top Gear episode.
There is at least plenty to do, with oil rigs to blow up, watchtowers to knock down and thirsty moochers begging for your precious water. These tasks can get a little repetitive, but obsessive collector- types will be in heaven, with a staggering amount of extras to seek and destroy. And Mad Max gets a lot right. When you’re roaring through the desert, shooting thugs and smashing cars aside, it’s hard not to start cheering “witness me!” while humming the Fury Road theme ( you’ll have to do it yourself, as neither appears in the game). Seeing some of the average scores it’s received elsewhere surprised us – we wish this is what an average game played like. Ignore the walking and keep Max behind the wheel, and this is as good a licensed adventure as you could ask for. Tom Stone
Ignore the walking and keep Max behind the wheel
Never borrow Max’s spanner without asking first.