Preview

Mad Max

Building Up Mad Max's Magnum Opus, The Four-Wheeled Heart Of His Wasteland
by Kimberley Wallace on May 26, 2015 at 03:01 AM
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Release:
Rating: Mature
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

I ventured into the heart of wasteland with the upcoming Mad Max game at a recent press event in Santa Monica. To stand a chance in this harsh atmosphere, you need to build up Max's Magnum Opus, his main source of transportation. Here's what I did to survive with my time in the crazy world, which was full of close calls and satisfying victories.

Collecting Scrap For Car Upgrades
Scrap is the wasteland's treasure. It can used for upgrades to Max's Magnum Opus, making it the top priority. I went to a scrap-collecting mission, where I was instructed to find three pieces. While the first two were easy enough to find, the third one poses a bigger challenge, as it's locked in a container. Luckily, I have a harpoon on my car. I aim and release it at the container to pull off the front portion. I now have what I need to obtain a new car body. Going into the upgrade screen, I can select the new body, but I also have even more options for customization with color and design. Using additional scrap, I upgrade the car's armor to give it some extra protection. Who knows what the open road will bring?

Fist-Fights Galore
I'm surprised at just how much the battle system in Mad Max mimics the awesome combat from Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham franchise. Max can throw a mean punch and combat is extremely responsive and fluid. Like the Arkham games, Max needs to tap a button to counterattack at the right time, and can land some brutal takedowns. Max's approach is messier than the finesse exhibited by the caped crusader. Max might not have the training, but he does have brass knuckles. Alternating between light and heavy attacks helps fill up Max's fury meter. Activating this meter, throws Max into adrenaline mode where deals more damage. The way he pummels through guys just makes you feel all the more badass.

Joyriding And Car Chases
The open road may just be a wasteland, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun in it. During my time, I encountered some intense high-speed chases that I won't soon forget. You can go after convoys, which usually have about a dozen vehicles that guard a truck containing valuable items. Max's car is loaded with weapons, and all are at his disposal. These can also be upgraded throughout the game. You can use your harpoon to take the armor off the vehicles, light them on fire, get close and shred their tires with your spiked rims, or use your mounted guns.

At first I try to damage cars by keeping up with them and using my tire-shredding rims, but it's not nearly as effective or gratifying as using the flamethrowers at them. The car is pretty easy to handle, with the ability to nitro boost for higher speeds. Aiming your guns at explosive barrels on enemy cars is also an easy way to make them go boom. As I watch the explosions happen, I start to feel the adrenaline rush of the chaos. Soon I find myself with just the truck with the goodies left. The only way to defeat it is to whip out the harpoon and pull off its armor. I do this a few times before I'm finally rewarded, unlocking a new hood ornament for my troubles. The hood ornament adds a nifty speed upgrade to my Magnum Opus.

Destroying An Enemy Outpost
The enemy outposts are one of the most involved tasks you can undertake in the wasteland. Max must use the environment to his advantage to get by. I use my car to infiltrate the outpost, using my mounted guns to shoot the guards above me. Once I break in, I must abandon my car to get through the tight spaces. Enemies are often in large groups, so it's good to aim at explosive barrels to take them down fast. I take fuel and throw it at every flammable object possible. Ammo can be scarce, so it's important to look at what's to your advantage in the environment before running and gunning. One bullet can take out a bevy of enemies if you hit something flammable, and some enemies are suspended in the air, meaning your bullets are the only way to destroy them. Unfortunately, my demo ends before I'm able to complete the outpost. That being said, I had fun trying to think my way through the area and maximize my explosions.

Final Takeaways
A lot of emphasis is being placed on your ability to build up your car, so if you enjoy ruling the road, you'll be right at home here. As I searched the world, I noticed tons of tasks on the map, but most seem repetitive. You can either collect scrap, chase down convoys, or destroy enemy outposts. I'm worried I'll get sick of this side content after doing a few, but the combat and driving were fun enough to keep me interested. I just hope the main storyline also holds enough appeal.

Be sure to check out the latest trailer below for your own glimpse into the game. 

Want more on Mad Max? Check out our exclusive online coverage from our cover story.