Warner Bros. has been on a streak revitalizing many of their IPs. Batman finally got the games he deserved with the Arkham franchise, The Lord of the Rings finally got its first great title since EA handed over the reins back in 2009 and the Justice League kicked some butt in Injustice: Gods Among Us. In less than a month, Warner Bros. will launch Mad Max and attempt to establish a new gaming franchise based on the IP.
Mad Max is out September 1 on PS4, Xbox One and PC. With the date is fast-approaching, here are a few things you should know about Mad Max before deciding whether to purchase or not:
No, you do not play as Tom Hardy’s Max Rockatansky, nor will you get to interact with Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa. There’s no race across the Wasteland to save five wives from Immortan Joe. Instead, Mad Max is an original take on the Mad Max IP with its own version of Rockatansky.
In this story, Max is ambushed in the Plains of Silence by a pack of War Boys. Led by Scabrous Scrotus, a son of Immortan Joe, the War Boys steal all his possessions and leave him for dead. Max survives and meets Chumbucket, a hunchbacked mechanic who agrees to aide you so long as you help him create the Magnum Opus, the perfect vehicle. From here begins Max’s tale of revenge as he seeks to end Scrotus’ life and reclaim his prized Interceptor.
Much like the Batman Arkham and Middle-Earth games, Mad Max features a large open-world to explore. The Plains of Silence is a vast, unforgiving land divided into several regions, each with its own backstory and unique landscape. There are canyons, caves and deserts to explore, and plenty of side activities to partake in. Successfully invading forts, destroying enemy convoys, and completing races and time trials will lower the ‘threat level’ of a region and make it a bit friendlier towards Max. Friendly strongholds provide Max with new quests and rewards. Finally, every region will have its own boss who must be defeated to progress the story.
If it sounds anything like a Batman Arkham game or Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, that’s because it is. Mad Max’s world and activities take heavy inspiration from these games. This is a continuing theme throughout the entire game, and could pre-emptively determine whether you’ll enjoy Mad Max or not.
Mad Max is more than just a driving and hand-to-hand combat game, it’s also a survival game. It may not be as hardcore as Don’t Starve, but players will need to keep track of Max’s vitals and collect food and water. There are small rodents that can be found and eaten if you run out of supplies. The Magnum Opus also needs fuel. Fuel is rare, and you’ll only be able to store one jerrycan in the back at any given time. Thankfully, areas with supplies have crows flying around them making them easy to find.
You’ll need these supplies as the Wasteland will throw everything it has at you. Mad Max features a dynamic day-and-night cycle and weather system that drastically affects the game’s terrain. Then there’s “The Big Nothing,” an unmapped volatile area filled with dangerous sandstorms and absolutely zero supplies. This is where you’ll find the game’s best parts for the Magnum Opus, so make sure you’re well prepared before going in.
Mad Max places a heavy emphasis on driving and vehicular combat. According to developer Avalanche Studios, about 60% of the game will require players to drive. It’s a good thing that the driving is solid. As Max, you drive the Magnum Opus, a fully customizable vehicle of Chum’s construction. You’ll have access to the Garage straight from the main menu where you can modify the engine, chassis, wheels, paint job and even the car’s shell. These changes not only change the look of the car cosmetically, but can also have certain effects on the Magnum Opus’ stats. An upgraded engine will increase speed, but will decrease handling.
This is Mad Max, which means you’ll be getting into a lot of vehicular combat and Avalanche provides the right set of tools to get the job done. Max can use his vehicle as a weapon by equipping sharp barbs that cut through enemy steel, shooting flames out of the exhaust, or equipping a ram to the hood. There are also hand weapons that can be whipped out at a moment’s notice. See an exposed engine? Shoot it with the shotgun. Does the enemy car have armor? Rip it off with the grappling hook. You’ll also be able to use the dynamic weather systems to defeat enemies, but make sure you also don’t destroy yourself.
5. …and the Arkham freeflow combat
Warner Bros. has a killer gameplay system with the freeflow combat. First introduced in Batman: Arkham Asylum, freeflow combat allows players to easily chain together attacks, combos, counter-attacks, and finishers. Rocksteady has continued to refine the combat system throughout the years, with Monolith incorporating it into Shadow of Mordor. Now, it is being incorporated into Mad Max with a few changes.
For one, Mad Max brings its own form of visceral brutality to the table. Mordor was all about chopping off enemy’s heads and limbs and Mad Max is about beating the living snot out of them. Kill them with your fists, various weapons, or force their bodies to combust with the ‘Thunderstick.’ Secondly, Max is not as physically capable as Batman, as such the combat is slower-paced. What the game lacks in speed, it more than makes up in brutality. Finally, when an enemy attacks, a small circle begins to enclose around the Y/Triangle button. Press at the right time and you’ll really brutalize them.