Warner Bros. is coming off of releasing two enormous hits over the past handful of months, with games like Mortal Kombat X, The Witcher 3 and Batman Arkham Knight all receiving enormous praise and commercial success. Mad Max is the next major game for Warner Bros. and with its Sept. 1 release date upcoming, I was able to get some quality hands-on time with the open-world game.
Getting straight into Mad Max’s combat, it certainly has some tones and notes that players of the Batman Arkham series will recognize, however, Mad Max’s style is a bit more gritty in that the fluidity differs from Batman. This works just fine considering the context in which Mad Max is set in.
The world is a gritty, dirty, bare knuckles type of universe, so having his movements and combat mechanics being free-flowing wouldn’t exactly make the most sense, contextually speaking. I enjoyed the combat as it was challenging, but it did a nice job of enabling me to string together multiple kills in a row.
Countering an incoming enemy attack feels great and Avalanche Studios has done a nice job of creating that feeling of being a badass when you successfully counter and takedown an enemy. Finally, timing and precision are of great demand when it comes to striking an enemy as well as countering one. Combat is more brutal and impactful than previous Warner games I’ve seen, and it’ll be interesting to see how it evolves as you progress.
Avalanche Studios had previously stated that shotgun and other sorts of gun ammo would be scarce throughout the world of Mad Max and from what I saw, that holds true. Players will need to be smart when using their ammo because not only does it come into play when taking out enemies, but it also does when trying to complete a mission or task.
Whimsically firing off round after round of ammo will earn you steep frustration when you can’t take out more difficult enemies or complete a mission. In the scope of the game’s combat, gunfire is more of a dessert with the main course being hand-to-hand combat more times than not. Additionally, combat with the Magnum Opus was a big part of my time with the game and Avalanche has done some fun things to make driving combat enjoyable.
As enemies try to run you off the road, you can resort to lethal tactics such as crashing into their vehicles, pulling up along side them and using a flamethrower to blow up their cars or having Chumbucket fire a harpoon that then rips apart pieces of their car; such as bumpers, armor and tires. These things all make driving combat extremely fun, fast-paced and intense.
Maintaining your car is an important part of the experience since your car will take damage resulting in a need to repair it with car scraps and parts you’ve collected. Liberating certain areas of the Wasteland or eliminating threats can yield car parts, such as a more powerful engine, which in turn helps upgrade your Magnus Opus.
As Max lost health, I was able to restore it by drinking water or eating food, such as, brace yourself, maggots. I enjoyed the latter mechanic for increasing health since it fits very well with the grim, desolate setting because let’s face it, Max isn’t going to find any juicy flank steaks lying around in the desert.
Side quests are everywhere throughout the desert wasteland, with certain missions like destroying an enemy camp popping up as you drive along. Succeeding in taking out a camp will reward players with additional weapons, resources and car parts. Resources can range from anything like food or water to gas for your Magnum Opus. Gas can be used to refill for your car or as a weapon.
Mad Max is quickly approaching its Sept. 1 release date and could be one of the year’s surprise open-world games. Warner Bros. and Avalanche Studios will launch the game for PS4, Xbox One and PC.