George Miller’s ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ was an undisputed masterpiece. So when the video game was announced, naturally we couldn’t wait for the opportunity to get behind the wheel of Max’s iconic car and tear into the barren wasteland. But can the game possibly live up to the expectations set by the blockbuster movie? TGM’s game guru is here to find out.
Max’s journey begins with him losing the only thing that really matters to him: his iconic V8 Interceptor. The rest of the game sees you braving the wasteland to build your new car: the Magnum Opus. Customisation is key as you purchase upgrades with collected scrap to build your ideal mayhem machine. The car combat is extremely fun, especially with the quick switching between firing shotguns, harpoons and explosive ‘thunder sticks’ at enemies.
But the best thing about the Magnum Opus is that it can never be truly perfect. If you choose a bigger engine, you sacrifice some handling. Adding extra armour slows you down but may help you live longer. By doing this, the game encourages you to build a car that suits your playing style, which is very cool.
Hand-to-hand combat play utilises the same systems we’ve seen in the Batman Arkham series and Shadow of Mordor, but instead of a fast flowing, almost ninja-like fighter, you’re a brute who hits more wildly with massive power.
Avalanche Studios has perfectly encapsulated the world that surrounds Max: bleak and faded. The landscape feels barren and unfamiliar with giant, ugly metal structures jutting over the wasteland. The emptiness fuels the idea that gas and water are precious and the need for the bombastic cars the roam this dried up ocean bed. Similarly, the characters mirror the landscape; Max is his usual stoic self while loud and peculiar side characters drive his story.
The problem with building your Magnum Opus is the need for scrap, of which collecting can be tedious and after a few hours of gameplay, very repetitive. There are certain story moments and missions that have all the rage and excitement of Fury Road (especially towards the end), but the majority of missions drag on and feel more like a means to an end rather than building to something meaningful.
Between destroying enemy refineries, killing lieutenants, burning fuel depots, toppling intimidating totems and raiding camps for scrap you’ll have a fantastic time exploring the world, but they begin to suffer from diminishing returns after hours of playtime.
Fury Road proved that you don’t need the strongest of stories to tell adventure. However, the Mad Max video game misses this, taking what’s unique about the game and then making you retread the territory repeatedly. It’s still a blast to play, but it’s unlikely to hold your attention for long.
Mad Max does get bonus points for making your car right-hand drive and using an Australian voice actor for Max. He is an Australian character afterall.