Mad Max Preview (X360/PS3)

Considering its cult status, post-apocalyptic setting and blend of action and cars, a proper Mad Max videogame is long overdue. Swedish studio Avalanche is now working on taking the Mad Max franchise and turning it into the open world experience that a game like this just had to have. So how is it shaping up? We witnessed an advance presentation during last month’s Gamescom and here’s what we saw.

We saw cars, cars and more cars. When the game starts, Max has lost his trusted car and has to find and assemble a suitable replacement in order to exact his revenge. In order to do this, he has to undertake missions in order to retrieve crucial parts or gain favors from local gangs. It’s here where the gameplay shifts, because you’re faced with a number of opportunities when you approach a settlement where they are closely guarding the component you’re looking for. Are you going to take out the first few guards with a sniper rifle, or will you drive your vehicle straight into harm’s way to battle it out there? Or will you mix both options up by getting closer with your car, attaching a grapple hook to the guard tower, and then backing up to take down both the tower and the guard?

It’s these missions that show the true potential for Mad Max, with plenty of opportunity for diverse, exciting and explosive gameplay. We also saw large portions of the driving sections, and this is where customizing your vehice comes into play. Load up your car with a heavy battering ram and you’ll pack quite the punch, but you’ll lose out on top speed and accelleration. It’s not all about car vs car combat though – you’ll have enemies jumping onto your vehice that you can either shake off or shoot, and you can also shoot at other vehicles.

MadMax_VehicularCombat

We walked away feeling like Avalance is doing a good job capturing the Mad Max vibe and that the missions feel like they will be a lot of fun, but we kept wondering what more there is to the game than the cars. From the main storyline revolving around finding a car to the missions that often present a car part as your goal to the car-based stretches in between…. something felt missing. What makes Mad Max such a classic is not just the atmosphere and the cars, it’s the personality and the characters in a post-apocalytic wasteland. Obviously we can’t see everything the game has to offer in a 30 minute presentaton, so perhaps we’ll be pleasantly surprised when the game comes out. A release date hasn’t been set, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it tied into the movie reboot that’s coming.

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