Currently reading: Hidden Gaming Gems – Mad Max
Hidden Gaming Gems – Mad Max
Posted on 3rd December, 2017 - By Jonathan Brindle
You’d be MAD to Miss this One
Every year we as gamers look through the upcoming releases list and decide which games will be worth our time and effort. Now and then though we spot one that peaks our interest more than it should. Back in 2015 for me that game was Mad Max.
Every year we know that there is always going to be the usual releases of the big sports games from EA. Like FIFA, NHL, NBA, and UFC – which has just been thrown into the mix. Then there’s the first person shooter franchise games like Call Of Duty and Battlefield.
Along with those you have the yearly released franchises like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed. For many gamers these are must-have games that you just have to buy; no matter what the quality is like.
Apart from these big releases there’s always that little game that gets people talking. That game that might have just slid under the radar for most gamers these are the hidden gems!
Now these might not always be the most technically perfect games out there. They might have the initial launch day flaws. Once the inevitable 60GB patch has been released and installed. Everything should work the way it’s meant to then it’s game on.
Back in 2015 a large amount of first class titles released. Some were great like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Some were OK, that could have been better – Batman Arkham Knight. Then there were some classed as an absolute letdown like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 – but that’s a story for another time.
The list of games released that year was absolutely fantastic. I must have spent a small fortune on games that year. I’m still trying to complete a few of them today. However there was a game that crept up on me that year and blew me away, far more than I expected it to. The game as I mentioned before was Mad Max and this is why I rate it so highly.
Taking it to the MAX!
The Mad Max game had been in production for quite a few years. It was originally planned to be a multi-platform release towards the back end of 2013. However, due to the limitations of last generation consoles as they were reaching the end of their lifespans; and with the prospect of the next generation consoles on the horizon, the release of the game was put on hold for the foreseeable future.
At E3 2014 Avalanche Studios revealed that the game that had been planned for a multi-generation release; had been rebuilt from from scratch to be a next generation release only. This was the right decision for this game in my opinion due to the power of the superior next-gen consoles.
After playing the game for hours I might add, I can see why the production took so long to come to life. While not directly linked to the 2015 reboot film Mad Max: Fury Road; starring Tom Hardy as Max. The game is set within that world. It is down to the player’s interpretation as to whether the game comes before or after the film.
This actually helps from a story perspective as the story is a stand-alone adventure; set within a larger universe. Anyway lets discuss the reasons as to why this – for me – was one of the best game’s of 2015 that just slipped under the radar.
World of MADness & Mayhem
Firstly the fact that this game was developed by Avalanche Studios was a huge thumbs up. Anyone who has played any of the titles in the Just Cause franchise will understand what i’m talking about. Similar to Rockstar Games, Avalanche Studios know what it takes to craft an outstanding open-world game. These two companies might have possibly taken the crown of “king of the open world adventure” game. That is a subject still up for debate though.
While the narrative story of the game is nothing more than an elaborate revenge story, this isn’t really a downside as anyone familiar with the film franchise will know that in this world, everyone is out for themselves. The plot follows Max who is left for dead by a Wasteland Warlord who goes by the terrifying but equally hilarious name of Scabrous Scrotus. Now you tell me that isn’t a stroke of misguided genius?!
So with his trademark interceptor stolen from him and left on deaths-door, Max has to find ways to survive, rebuild from scratch and liberate the Wasteland from the tyranny of Lord Scrotus. Okay, so the story isn’t revolutionary or anything that hasn’t been done before, never the less it’s the subtle little gameplay additions that make this a truly rewarding experience.
Firstly lets talk about the car! Well this is a driving open world game after all. Seem as the interceptor has been stolen, you’re gonna need a new ride. Just go and steal one like in Grand Theft Auto I hear you say. Well yes you can do that; sure, but why not build your very own four wheeled death machine? Ah… so now your interested.
The game gives you quite a lot of customisation options for building your new car. The available range varies from car bodies and hood ornaments to flamethrowers and harpoons.
As well as a high emphasis on vehicular homicide, there is still a large focus on ground combat. Max himself also has a generous amount of customisation. This helps when invading different camps and settlements or just when exploring the many scavenger locations around the world. Which actually brings me to my next point; as to why this title stands out as something a bit special.
Scavenging is the where the heart of the game lies. Unlike most other games where the main focus is put on a vehicle you always seem to have unlimited fuel, which allows you to drive forever. Not this time!
Mad Max introduces a fuel system which – that’s right you guessed it – makes you have to search for fuel supplies. The last thing you want to do is set off on a long journey to the other side of the map and run out a fuel while in the middle of a battle with Scrotus’s war boys.
While some might have called the scavenging mechanic a hinderance. Personally I really enjoyed the idea that you could only go so far before you were forced to take stock of your supplies. you actually have to plan your journey more carefully. As you progress through the game and with Max‘s increased level; there are perks that allow you to use your fuel more efficiently. But, you still need to scavenge for more as some of your more powerful weapons consume fuel fast.
As well as searching for fuel you also need to search for food and water to use as health for Max. There is no regenerating health system like in most games. This feature didn’t really diminish any of the enjoyment I had while playing. More important than food and water is scrap. Scrap is your currency within the game. Max uses this to buy new weapons, and to help improve your car and the strongholds you visit on your travels.
To be completely honest the Wasteland is the real star of the show here. The way the map is spilt-up into territories with each having a central hub or stronghold. The strongholds I mentioned before; aren’t just there to be used as fast travel locations – in fact they become valuable resources.
Each stronghold offers projects that need to be completed so that you may use that particular resource. The resources vary from an ammo manufacturer to water purifier all of which have there uses. While again this is nothing that hasn’t been done before but I honestly can’t remember the last time it was done with such charm.
Each stronghold also has a variety of different missions issued to you by the stronghold commander. while not always imperative that you complete them, I strongly suggest that you do. You never know what you might discover about the backstory of the commander and the stronghold itself.
MAD as a Hatter
While the missions do end up feeling a little bit repetitive, it’s the characters you meet along the way that make things more entertaining. They range from a damsel-in-distress in the form of Hope; to the weird and wonderful Chum-bucket.
As well as being the Hunchback of Notre Dame’s more disfigured cousin. Chum also serves as your mechanic and guide as he rides on the back of your car, offering you advice on which activity to do next.
Now I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you that everything here is perfect, because it isn’t. While the game has had a lot of time spent making it look absolutely gorgeous, the graphics here are first-rate – which might also be one of the flaws.
The frame-rate does seem to struggle sometimes; trying to keep-up with all the mayhem and explosions that take place on-screen. Occasionally the burning wreck of a destroyed Scrotus war party will just disappear when the camera is moved in a different direction.
This is not good, as sometimes I just want to bask in the warm glow of the burning wreck and scorched corpse’s of my latest piece of handy work.
Not Quite Beyond Thunderdome
As I mentioned there are some other little issues that make you scratch your head and ask yourself why has that been included? So with that said, here is my biggest issue with this for the most part excellent title. The jump ability!
The jump ability given to Max in this game has got to be by far the worst given to a character in gaming history. If I’m wrong I will hold my hand up on this. But, I can’t honestly remember a more useless movement feature in a game for a very long time.
It has absolutely no point to it what-so-ever. If it was part of another feature; like the stationary jump in the original Assassin’s Creed, I could accept it. But alas; it does not. There is no parkour feature that it is included in. It doesn’t even help you to climb anywhere, as there is already a feature that allows you to do that. I just don’t understand it’s purpose. Avalanche Studios really dropped the ball on this part of the game.
Oh What A Lovely Game
Mad Max was a criminally under promoted video game release from 2015. It looked fantastic. The story was well put together with some insane characters that you will both love and hate at the same time. It had so much to offer – enough to possibly still keep you busy today – mostly because you could go back again and again; to try out the different combinations of car customisation.
Basically if you haven’t played it and would like to try something different, then I highly recommend you give Mad Max a chance.
Did you love Mad Max as much as I did?
Would you like to see a sequel?
Are there any other Hidden Gems you would like us to cover?
Let us know in the comments section below.
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