It has been quite the year for big budget video games. We have been graced with new entries in the Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Fallout, and Witcher series. These high-profile games have kept the open world genre rolling with amazing graphics, unique quests, and entertaining action. Honestly, it’s impossible to argue with the sheer fun and quality of these games, so I won’t. Instead, I will spend two articles focusing on two under-the-radar games that provided a lot of unexpected fun. Part one revolves around the Australian apocalypse and really cool cars.
Mad Max made little noise when released, and I’m assuming that MGS V is the main reason why. Both games were released on September 1, but Kojima’s game understandably received all of the attention. It also didn’t help that a lot of people mistakenly assumed that Mad Max was a rushed tie-in for Fury Road. Sure, there are references to that fantastic movie, but it’s quite easy to miss them. Furiousa doesn’t appear, and Immortan Joe is only vaguely referenced. Instead, Max is roaming around the wasteland trying to get revenge on a villain named Scrotus who stole his car and left him for dead. Oh, and there is a weird little man named Chmbucket who serves as a mechanic and companion for Max.
The story of Mad Max isn’t amazing, but that doesn’t really matter because it only serves as an excuse to blow stuff up and upgrade your ride. Like many other games, there is a path of progression for both Max and his car, and finding scrap just makes upgrading that much easier. You can buy new armor and tools for Max using the scrap, but most of the currency is spent on new engines and suspension for your car.
Upgrading your car and putting leather jackets on Max is cool, but what actually makes Mad Max so entertaining? Well, Andrew Reiner from Game Informer compared the post-apocalyptic adventure to 2009’s The Saboteur because you can roam around the wasteland, destroying watchtowers and lowering threat levels. I will check out any game if it’s compared to The Saboteur, and Reiner was absolutely correct. Not only does Mad Max include the watchtowers and threat levels of The Saboteur, but it also includes the entertaining hand-to-hand combat and stealth kills. Sean Devlin of The Saboteur had a brutal fighting style that relied on quick punches and kicks, but he also had a handy stealth attack. Max is very similar with his knife-reliant stealth attacks, but his combat style is more entertaining. You start off with basic punches and kicks and upgrade your fighting style to the point that you can shove enemies off of cliffs and utilize ridiculous wrestling moves. Thank goodness because there aren’t many weapons in Mad Max beyond a shotgun, some exploding harpoons, and a few blades.
The fights against War Boy hordes are entertaining, but they are only part of the essential Mad Max experience. Desert-based car combat makes up a good majority of the game as you drive around the post-apocalyptic wasteland just blowing up stuff. Max can use his car to tear down or blow up almost anything, and he takes full advantage of that ability during big battles. The hook is especially handy because Max can use it to rip tires off opposing cars or pull snipers out of towers. This works as an amazing method for turning battles in your favor and weakening encampments before attacking. There is also nothing better than grabbing a guard with a hook and flinging him across the gorgeous landscape.
Avalanche has an ability to create beautiful games, and Mad Max is no exception. Sometimes, I would just sit next to my car staring at the wasteland, at least until a crazy sandstorm appeared and caused all manner of havoc. Even then the game was still beautiful but in a much different way as sand blew around and lightning struck random spots on the ground.
Mad Max may not be perfect or reach the heights of Metal Gear Solid V, but it’s still a pretty fun game. Driving around is surprisingly entertaining, the combat is vicious and ridiculous, and the progression path is more in-depth than you would expect. Finally, what other game lets you unlock different beards based on your level? That’s really dumb, and I love it.