Mad Max is Mad Fun. AGE Review

When it comes to anything Australian, I dare say here at Aussie Gamers Express we just about qualify to have our opinion on the matter (it's kind of in the name). Growing up in this wonderful country are we are privileged to have a few things we can classify as dinky di, ridgy didge, true blue Australian commodities. Firstly there is Vegemite, Koalas and Crocodile Dundee but another that belongs in this upper echelon of true Australiana, is Mad Max. So it was with much anticipation and national pride that I looked forward to this game since it was announced. Did I mention that Mad Max was originally slated as a release title (for the PS4) and then it received a 2014 release date following a strong E3 showing to only be delayed again? Well it's fair to say I was anticipating it to the point of almost forgetting about it...until of course there was a release date set in stone, being the 2nd of September 2015.

Now some of you may read into my comments about its extreme and multiple delays as a negative but I must insist that this is possibly the best thing Avalanche Studios and  Warner Bros. could have done. Due to these delays and a better knowledge of what this generation of console is capable of we now have a more complete experience. It has also given the developers the chance to gain some inspiration for characters, weapons and cars from the latest movie released this year: Mad Max: Fury Road.

My first "wow" moment came just after an entertaining opening sequence of blood, dust and violence, when I took control of Max. The "wow" moment was due to the fact that I wasn't overly impressed with the graphics of the opening cut scene but upon taking control and beginning the game, the graphics increased in quality three fold. The lighting was sharper, detail greater and particle effects made for a more immersive arid wasteland feel. Mad Max really relied on the overall post apocalyptic feel and never failed to deliver with makeshift outposts, forts, underground caverns and railway tunnels all constructed from what was visible waste products. The barren desert was spotted with old decaying ship bodies and remnants of what was. This all added to a wasteland that offered little respite to survivors.

In true Mad Max form, Max's major lifeline is his vehicle the Magnum Opus. Along with the assistance from wasteland survivor come sidekick Chumbucket, we are able to upgrade the Magnum Opus with a variety of offensive and defensive counter measures. Ranging from spikes and a reinforced body to battering rams and a harpoon gun, Max's major mode of transport quickly becomes a major character in the game. Not unlike the delicacies found to fuel Max, the Magnum Opus also requires fuel in order to perform. Sometimes these fuel supplies can be quite sparse so diligent planning is heavily required early on, that is until you can help one of the many ally forts back to their somewhat former glory and have the likes of fuel and ammunition resupplied upon visiting. Max's health gauge can only be replenished by eating food (mainly consisting of maggots and dog food) or by drinking water which is carried on Max's belt in his water flask. Not unlike the fuel situation for the vehicles Max's water supply is not one of unlimited use, only being able to be replenished by one of the few water supplies you come across.

There are 2 main currencies in the game, the most abundant being salvage. Salvage can be found at all encampments and from all destroyed structures and cars. This is used to upgrade Max's abilities, ally forts and the Magnum Opus. The second is Griffa points which are used more solely for levelling Max's survival abilities. The Griffa points are spent with the character Griffa (go figure). Griffa comes across somewhat like a witch doctor with some form of psychic ability, often knowing more about Max than we do.

As a middle aged male, one of the most exciting aspects of this game is of course the brutal hand to hand combat. It is not unlike that of the  Batman (Arkham) games and  Shadow of Mordor, a true hallmark of Warner Bros. games. Combat basically consists of a quick attack, a charged attack and a parry, although this may seem like a simple combination that would quickly become boring but it is anything but boring. The amount of different animations and combinations thrown in with environmental considerations and the rare ability to use a shotgun and shiv ultimately leads to some very powerful combat sequences. The combat often has a side effect of making the player feel like a boss. Speaking of bosses, Mad Max is littered with boss style battles where different approaches need to be taken into consideration. Hands down and fists up isn't always the correct approach. Fair to say though Max is one bad ass scrapper.

Those of you that are accustom to us here at AGE you would be aware of "Red Mode", which has been named after my play style in regards to an open world game of this variety. In a nut shell Red Mode is where I will go  around and collect everything and do all the side quests before completing too much of the campaign. So Mad Max was no different but it was at this moment I truly got a scope of how much content is crammed into this game. There is always something to do or collect to help level up Max and all his gear if the campaign becomes somewhat difficult. This coupled with a lust to have the fiercest car and a fearful combat presence is sufficient drive to do everything, in essence stretching an approximately 20 hour story into a 70 - 80 hour experience.

With a lot more boxes that requires a tick in order to obtain the platinum trophy on offer in Mad Max, I will be returning to the wasteland and fire up the trusty Magnum Opus and continue forging my name into the road warrior history book. In order to stay up to date on all things Mad Max and games in general be sure to head across to our Facebook and give us a like and join in with all our gaming conversations and feel free to have your opinion in the comment section below. I give Mad Max an 8/10. Thank you for your time.

Cheers Red

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