Game review: Why Mad Max fails to impress

Mad Max recreates the crazy beautiful post-apocalyptic desert wasteland of its franchise, only to be let down by the pace of the gameplay

If there was an award for the most complete title at launch produced in the last five years, it would go to Mad Max, no questions asked. It is by far the most polished game we’ve seen on the PC yet. It works like a dream with all settings on the highest level even on a gaming PC that’s over two years old.

The game looks flawless, everything from the vast wasteland to the deadly dust storms has received the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, that’s where the good part ends.

Mad Max also happens to be one of the most boring games we’ve played in the last five years. The story mode crawls at the pace of a zombie chained to an anvil, going nowhere fast. There is no sense of speed and even the thrill of the movies is woefully missing in action.

The story is simple: a crew belonging to the creatively named Scabrous Scrotus steals your car and destroys it for parts, leaving you to die in the desert. As is with everything to do with Max, you are out to seek revenge, picking up a rather useless dog and a very useful mechanic called Chumbucket along the way.

Chum will build you a new car, piece by piece, depending on the number of missions you finish. It’s a painful and slow process that will have you pulling out your hair by the end of it.

Driving through the game is one of the few things that’s been done right
Driving through the game is one of the few things that’s been done right

Hand-to-hand combat and talking to people, even some of the side optional missions feel like a punishment dished out for thinking this game would be brilliant.

Max’s controls are mechanical, and there doesn’t seem to be the adequate amount of flow required for an action game. They also have useless buttons like jump — he literally jumps like a toddler, probably a foot off the ground, and where you really need to jump or climb over something, a prompt appears telling you which key to use and it isn’t the jump key.

Driving in the game is probably the one thing that’s done somewhat right. It works as it should and harpooning people from their cars and blowing up cars is fun. We found playing with a controller, rather than a keyboard mouse, more satisfying for the driving bits. Going into a storm with your car is also something fun you can do, but this works better when both Max and the car are sufficiently upgraded, else you will just end up dead in a matter of minutes.

However, you can’t just drive around without a care in the world, as fuel is limited and you need to keep making stops to raid enemy outposts for fuel.

Yes, it makes sense in a post-apocalyptic world where resources are scarce, but it is annoying when all you want to do is drive.

Your car can also easily be damaged from something as simple as jumping off a cliff or ramming into some lowly rocks. You have to stop your car to get Chumbucket to repair it, which, depending on your upgrade level, can take a while.

This lack of resources also extends to bullets, water and food, making some parts of your journey and combat rather cumbersome. It feels like the developers just extended the hours required to finish the game so no one could complain about it being short, but somehow went overboard.

While the developers managed to recreate the enormity of the wasteland and the beauty of the post-apocalyptic world, they failed to match the pace and the action levels the Mad Max franchise is known for, getting stuck in the nitty-gritty of Max’s sucky daily life. We’d give this particular title a miss.

Developer: Avalanche Studios
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBox One
Rating: 2/3
Price: PC: Rs 999;
Consoles: Rs 3,599

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