Mad Max on the PlayStation 4 is about open world exploration on a planet that has gone to hell. Fully recreated is the Wasteland that is so full of tired death and destruction. Post nuclear fall out is everywhere around us and the need to always be pushing, away from a natural death or a homicide, is always at your heels. Max himself is fully realized in his classic leather jacket, death dealing car, and sawed off shotgun.
Required Disk Space:
- 30.9GB Minimum
Supported Video Output:
- Blu-ray Disc
Average Playing Time:
- 55 Hours
Mad Max has existed in the pop culture lexicon for almost three decades, ever since Mel Gibson dawned the leather outfit and started busting heads in an apocalyptic wasteland. Through three movies, the franchise was able to spawn a huge fanbase that hungrily gobbled up anything related to the series. For the past decade or so another film, Fury Road, was in production. Many never thought that it would ever come to life but George Miller, the man behind the franchise, made it happen with Tom Hardy at the helm. The release stoked the fires of passion that the franchise had created with full throttle action and mechanical blood lust. The film was an overnight hit and a video game was always going to be waiting in the wings. Mad Max was released for the PS4 and Xbox One following the success of Fury Road and we found ourselves eagerly itching to get our hands on the title. Here is our experience in the waste land.
While the Mad Max video game doesn’t tie directly into any of the existing films it does seek to build and expand upon the world that Miller has so capably been crafting for the past thirty years. While the Mad Max property has been rock solid ever since its inception we have always been worried about movie to video game adaptations. Very rarely does a film based video game do well on any front, be it financial or critical. We appreciate this title’s attempt to tie into the universe without being an adaptation and thus not relying on any already existing characters from the latest film, Fury Road.
At face value what Mad Max as a video game is, is a title about open world exploration on a planet that has gone to hell. Fully recreated is the Wasteland that is so full of tired death and destruction. Post nuclear fall out is everywhere around us and the need to always be pushing, away from a natural death or a homicide, is always at your heels. Max himself is fully realized in his classic leather jacket, death dealing car, and sawed off shotgun. Max is still struggling to come to grips with his own madness and he has to deal with it as he simultaneously struggles to survive in a world meant to kill any inhabitants.
What we have always loved about the cinematic world of Mad Max is the pacing and the constant push of the story. Rarely do you get a chance to rest on your laurels while immersed in the film. You are always one flicker away from the next great action scene, adrenaline pumping, and palms sweating. Fury Road is the perfect example of a two hour thrill ride that only has lulls long enough to pump up the next sequence. In short, the Mad Max films are borderline addictive. That is definitely missing from this title. Going to an open world, non linear narrative was always going to bust the pacing but it is particularly devastating here as the depth of gameplay in the Wastelands isn’t as deep as, say, the Elder Scrolls series.
Still there are great tie ins to the cinematic films that bring some flourishes of life to the game. We get to see Gas Town, fight off the chrome addled War Boys, and follow along the legendary roads of this world. Fury Road built up so much of George Miller’s lore without ever really diving into the details that this video game has been given some room to world build without being destructive to the source. The focus on survival is particularly interesting, as well, though some gamers will likely look at it as a potential game ruiner and we aren’t sure that we disagree.
In the world of Mad Max the very act of survival is a full time job. Whether you are coping with radiation fall out or merely trying to keep hydrated, there is always something trying to get you dead. In Mad Max you have to collect gas cans constantly in order to keep your car fueled up. You also have to keep an eye out for water in order to keep Max’s canteen full. This canteen acts as a health restorative and is one of the bigger gameplay mechanics in the game. You can also collect scrap medal that you can use to trade and barter with. We liked these simulation type aspects of the game but found that they slowed down the pace to an almost unwieldly degree. The developers at WB Games called their Mad Max title a 'vehicle combat driven' experience. When you are spending so much time out of your car collecting scraps it really seems to take away from what makes the series so special to begin with.
When you are playing Mad Max you’ll be tasked with several different tasks all at the same time. There is the primary campaign thread that will lead you through the original story. As you play you’ll also experience side mission, called Wasteland Missions, which have you do any number of tasks for any number of rewards. Sometime’s you chase down enemies, other times you be looking for loot or vehicles, or you might even be told to kill someone. Doing these missions allows you to work toward unlocking upgrades in order to keep your car in mint condition and ready to deal out death. You do have to look out for your progression speed. Enemies are not scaled to your level and you can quickly find yourself outclassed and killed, no doubt about it.
Driving makes up the core of Mad Max and for the most part the experience is well done. The controls aren’t too tight and the sloppy feel that some vehicles imbue upon you seems realistic for the world and the setting. The overall look of the game is excellent and the survival aspects are definitely a lot of fun, even if they slow down the pace. On the whole Mad Max delivers the goods, albeit with the caveat that they could have been delivered fresher.