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Preview: Mad Max

Mad Max went missing for years but this year he finally returned to our world. With the release of the new and successful movie, there’s no doubt about it; Mad Max still kicks ass. Warner Brothers is currently developing the Mad Max game and before your start worrying, there’s no real connection to the movie at all. The Mad Max game goes its own way but still needs some work in order to become as good as the movie.

Tune your car

Right at the start of our demo it was clear that the game doesn’t have real connections with the movie. It has its own story and the characters are casted by different people. The same goes for your iconic car. You’re not driving the infamous Interceptor but a car that was molded by a post-apocalyptic world. Don’t be disappointed by this; the new car opens a lot of possibilities and at the end of the game it will truly become your personal favorite killing machine.

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Before we entered the open sandbox, we had some time to make changes to our car. Collecting scrap metal in the world can make these changes happen. To make things a little easier, the developers already collected some scrap for us.

The fun part about customization is that you can really change about everything. You can change your engine to go faster, change your grill to bump enemies, change your side-weapons such as flamethrowers or make some cosmetic changes such as new colors and decals. There are a total of eighteen different categories to change your car. Creating your perfect car will take a lot of your time but once you use it on the field, it’s worth every second you’ve invested in it.

Hit the road Max

After the customization we were dropped in the open sandbox of Mad Max. The developers shared we were somewhere in the middle of the game, meaning that the enemies are a bit more aggressive. This wasn’t an understatement, right after we jumped into the sandbox, enemies attacked us. This left us little room to learn the controls. When you’re driving, there are a lot of controls you need master. First of all you use your shoulder buttons to drive and brake but also to use your shotgun. The D-pad is used to switch between your weapons and by a push on the triangle; sidekick Chumbucket can quickly repair your ride.

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For us, it all felt a little too much and defeating the enemies didn’t go easy. We really had to stop our vehicle, aim for the enemy and take them down. We simply couldn’t handle fast driving combat yet since the controls ask a lot of the gamer. We’re sure this is something you’ll get used to once you have more time to master the controls but for the hands-on session we couldn’t shake the feeling that the controls aren’t mapped out that good. Perhaps mapping some of the actions to the extra buttons of the Xbox Elite Controller would really help? That being said, we did have a lot of fun on the road.

Use your horsepower

The open world featured a lot of side-missions. The most popular ones were the weather balloons. Using these you could rise high in the sky and spot several missions. We didn’t go for that approach but went straight for the main mission. The goal was to enter the dungeon of the enemy. Before we could do this, we had to take down three catapults by harpooning the structures and pulling them down with both shotgun and car. These actions resulted in kick-ass explosions and the brutal Mad Max feeling we all love. After taking them down I had to leave my Magnus Opus behind and advance on foot.

You are the Arkham Knight 

Once you leave your car, the game changes into a brawler similar to the Arkham-games. The combat is based on one-on-one battle with the enemies. There are three important buttons to remember, the light and heavy attack and of course the blocking. Just like in the Batman games, you need to block the enemies at the right time to escape danger. If the attack of the enemy is too strong, you can also jump out of the way. The system works great and we managed to create combos minutes after our first fight. It feels very natural and works incredibly well. Max can also use tools in the environment to his advantage to make the combat even more brutal. If you manage to successfully create some combos, you enter the Fury Mode. Once in this mode, you’ll deal a lot more damage to your enemies. Everything about the combat felt right and we enjoyed fighting the enemies a lot.

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More than just combat

The world of Mad Max offers way more than just combat. During our mission on foot we found important scrap metal and hidden treasures that are needed to improve your car. Aside of that you’ll also need to search for water. Water is used as health and without it, you won’t last long in the brutal world of Mad Max. Aside of these collectibles, the segments on foot also featured some rather easy environmental puzzles such as blowing up the bridge with an explosive arrow; but these are fun nevertheless. It really feels like you’re playing two separate games. There’s the open world driver on one hand and the brawler on the other.

Early conclusion:

Since the game is releasing in less than a month, it’s safe to say that we’ve played a nearly final version of the game. This was reflected in the gorgeous graphics and the gameplay that felt rather finished. We liked the segments on foot a little more than the driving segments because we need more time to master the controls. We think fans of the Mad Max universe will definitely enjoy the game and we do hope that the controls won’t form a problem while driving, that’s the only thing holding us back from really being excited.

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.