Mad Max is an enjoyable game so far

Mad Max balloon

Avalanche Studios and Warner Bros.’ Mad Max game finally saw its release last week, and so far the general consensus seems to be that it’s rather mediocre (it currently has a 70/100 on Metacritic). I’ve played just over two hours of Mad Max and have had an enjoyable time with it so far.

The game takes place in a gritty wasteland atmosphere filled with fire, dirt and grungy cars driven by post-apocalyptic mad men, but otherwise has little to do with the Fury Road movie. That said, the game does have enough personality of its own to make it enjoyable whether or not you’ve seen the films.

Mad Max (2)

Mad Max features plenty of open world activities to keep you occupied outside (or even during) the story missions. Invading strongholds is a blast, as you either ram down the base’s defenses or attempt to sneak in unnoticed in order to complete an objective. Most strongholds seem to feature an open area near the middle which acts as a fighting arena of sorts, complete with a war crier banging a drum in order to rally the fighters.

I’ve found myself detouring several times during missions in order to tear down scarecrows (towers of bloody bodies and fire that increase enemies’ influence in an area), take out compounds or to just chase down enemies in order to scrap their cars.

The combat is solid, but nothing new to anyone who has played a Batman game or Shadow of Mordor. Despite being recycled, it still feels awesome to pull off counters and explosive combos, especially when fueled by Max’s fury.

Car combat is also enjoyable, although so far I feel  a little underpowered. It’s often best to try to harpoon the enemy out of their car instead of trying to engage in vehicular combat. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it’s incredibly satisfying to watch the enemy fly out of their car and into the wasteland.

The characters of the world are unique, but not exactly on par with those of the films. Chumbucket feels too much like Gollum to me, though he plays a vital role by constantly repairing Max’s ride, the Magnum Opus. This mechanic ensures you’re never left with an inoperable vehicle which is convenient, and adds an important reason for Max to carry Chum around wherever he goes.

The story so far isn’t anything special, but the world itself is the enjoyable part. There’s some sort of drive to constantly complete activities and collect scrap to improve Max’s abilities and that of the Magnum Opus.

Unfortunately, Mad Max ended up releasing the same day as the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The game has been largely overshadowed by MGSV, and that’s a shame. Had it released a few weeks earlier I’m sure many more people would be playing it. In fact, I’d like to play it more, but even I find myself wanting to return to Metal Gear, before I get left behind.

If Metal Gear isn’t up your alley, I definitely recommend Mad Max, especially if you’re into the Batman / Shadow of Mordor open world formula. There’s plenty to enjoy!


My time so far with Metal Gear Solid V

mgsv cover

I’ve never really gotten into the Metal Gear series, however everything I saw about MGSV looked intriguing. I liked the idea of trying to sneak into bases and take out a target or rescue a hostage. I also liked that MGSV would provide players with plenty of firepower and the option to go in guns blazing if they so choose. This sounded appealing, because I’m terribly impatient and am horrible at stealth missions in games. I decided I’d purchase Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

I should note that my only experience with the Metal Gear series comes from watching someone play the first Metal Gear Solid back in 1998. I remember trying to play it, however my eleven year old self couldn’t handle the sneaking and I would always get angry when I got spotted and panic. I also played Metal Gear Solid 2 on the Xbox, but remember very little from it besides getting so frustrated with the underwater section that I nearly quit. I played around with Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, but never really got too far in it.

Because of my lack of knowledge of the Metal Gear series, the opening of MGSV left me dumbfounded. Not only did I not know what was going on with the characters (or who any of them really were), but the incredibly strange nature of everything that was happening caught me off guard. I expected Metal Gear to be something of a serious game, not quite as sci-fi and nonsensical. I’m still uncertain if the opening sequence was some sort of dream or hallucination. Everything seemed so normal at the start and before I knew it I was being chased from characters out of a comic book movie. This all put me off, and I thought for awhile I may have made a mistake by trying to jump in with the fifth game.

The opening sequence is long, and the player has very little agency. I almost would have preferred to have it all be one long cutscene, because every time the game gives control to the player there’s quite literally nothing to do but look around or press forward. In fact, the opening bored me so much that by the end of it I had fallen asleep (I was playing after work) and I awoke to a mission complete screen. I’m not sure what I missed but it probably doesn’t matter.


Once I got into the game proper, I finally started to enjoy myself. The game looks great and controls very well. Everything Snake does feels just right. The sneaking isn’t too difficult, but I still always find myself getting spotted. Luckily once you’re spotted the game provides you with a reaction moment where you can save yourself by either pulling off a headshot with a tranquilizer round or by knocking the enemy out with a close quarters combat maneuver. I haven’t failed a mission yet, however I have been downed by a flurry of enemy fire, but was able to heal myself and get out of the situation. I’m not sure if there’s a limitation on healing, but when you’re badly injured you can hold ‘Y’ to get yourself back in the action. In this case I switched to a rifle and just blasted everyone dead before sprinting out of the complex and to the helicopter without ever turning back.

Shooting myself out of bad situations hasn’t always been helpful, however. I was on a side ops mission and ended up shooting the person I was supposed to extract, thus failing the mission. Luckily the game doesn’t greet you with a fail screen, but rather leaves you in the open world with a ‘side ops cancelled’ message.

I’m not quite certain how I should be managing the Mother Base, but I’ve been having a blast fultoning any knocked out enemy back to my base to be one of my new “employees”.


I’ve only completed two missions in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but I’m certainly looking forward to diving deeper into the game. I’m not sure if I’ll ever understand the game, but at least the gameplay is a blast!