This time last year, we predicted Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor would be the dark-horse for GOTY. We were right. This year, WB Interactive Entertainment are back with MAD MAX, and we reckon it’s seriously one to watch…
The first two Mad Max films (the eponymous Mad Max and its sequel The Road Warrior) are amongst the finest action films ever created. In fact, The Road Warrior is a staggering achievement – hi-octane vehicular combat and a shoe-string budget, boasting spectacular stunts (with no CGI) and launching the career of Mel Gibson. Happily, this year since a new instalment in the Max saga called Fury Road, and is hotly anticipated.
There’s never been a good Mad Max game, though. But Avalanche, best known for its Just Cause series, is here to change that. Backed by WB Interactive Entertainment (the publishers of the Arkham series, Shadow of Mordor and Mortal Kombat X), MAD MAX isn’t a film tie-in and has been developed independently from the upcoming movie. It’s based instead on the series as a whole, telling its own story. And it looks freakin’ fantastic.
Max, after having his car stolen and being left for dead in the post-apocalyptic Australian outback, is out for revenge. MAD MAX is all about exploration, car plus hand-to-hand combat and extensive customisation. It’s up to you to create Max’s Magnum Opus – a fully kitted out car made from scratch and exactly to your specifications to help unleash your wrath on the gangs, freaks and geeks of the desert.
The Wasteland is really something to behold. Looking like a new-generation, HD Fallout (Fallout 4, eh? EH!?) the Wasteland is split into regions and areas which are uniqely different a la Mordor in Monolith’s Shadow of Mordor. Excitingly, Avalanche are doing away with “invisible walls” that blight open-world games – you can explore beyond the map, and go into an area called “The Big Nothing”. Conditions there are harsh and your life-expectancy shortens excessively. However, extremely rare loot can be found there for you to customise your car, weapons or Max himself. It’s up to you to decide if the risk is worth the reward.
Combat is looking appropriately brutal. Taking a cue from WB’s Arkham and Mordor’s excellent fighting mechanism (why not be inspired by the best?), there’s an emphasis on hand-to-hand and melee and, although Max’s trusty shotgun is an option, ammo is rare. The combat looks solid though not particularly fresh – however, MAD MAX has another card up its sleeve; the movies much loved car combat is present, correct and exhilarating.
Max’s Magnum Opus has a powerful ramming ability to destroy enemies’ vehicles and weaponry. Weapons, such as flamethrowers and a mounted cannon, can also be added to the Magnum Opus – but the same can be said for your adversaries rides. When simultaneously driving and aiming, the game enters slow-motion and allows you to toggle between targets to make things a little less hectic and manageable. You can switch to first-person view when the player is engaging in combat with enemies while driving, if that floats your boat. Enemies are inventive too, sometimes they’ll on top of the Magnum Opus to cause it damage or to get at Max but the player can avoid that by adding spikes around the car, and making your car a literal death-trap on wheels. Take a look at the video above to get your blood pumping.
We’re not guaranteeing that MAD MAX is going to be GOTY (especially with competition from Witcher 3, Arkham Knight, Halo 5 et al) but we’ve a feeling it’s going to be a bit special. Avalanche are a developer with pedigree and publishers WB seem to give its developers the tools they need to succeed. We’ll find out when MAD MAX releases on PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 4th.
– Dave Green @davidpgreen83