Watching Mad Max Fury Road was akin to high fiving an explosion. Popping seemingly out of nowhere in May this year, it mean taut and aggressive action flick wowing audiences with its physical storytelling, strong feminist subtext and OTT action. It was original, it was unexpected, it reminded you of what could be achieved when you just let talented people get on with storytelling, rather than get bogged down in exposition.
Set just before the events of Fury Road, the game sees Max beefing with a Wasteland chief called Scabrous Scrotus (snigger), the son of Fury Road baddie Immortan Joe. After teaming up with a slight weird mechanic named Chumbucket (think Shadow of Mordor’s ‘Ratbag’ character), it’s up to you to put the boot to Scrotus rule, by liberating outposts, gaining resources and building the greatest car the Wasteland has ever seen.
Appropriately for a game set in the Mad Max universe, about 60% of your time in Mad Max the game will be spent at the wheel of the "Magnum Opus", a custom vehicle you slowly develop and pimp out with weaponry and spoilers to take on the War Boys of the Wasteland. Vehicular combat in the game is pretty robust, allowing you to shunt, smash and shoot at rival cars. An early weapon addition of a harpoon to the Magnum Opus turns Mad Max into one of the best fishing games out there. Only instead of going piking for carp, you're ripping enemies straight from their drivers’ seats. Bliss.
The game suffers, however, when Max has to get out of his car. Fury Road was a juggernaut of a film, always committed to forward momentum, Mad Max the Game is hamstrung by back and forth fetch quests and repetitive outpost liberation tasks. You'll frequently find yourself taking out snipers, hunting for scrap and putting boots to faces in a hand to hand combat system that's akin to Batman Arkham's system. But while Fury Road left the explanations to the fight scenes and dragged its audience along for a rip roaring ride, Mad Max the game is bogged down in pause menu exposition and needless dicking around to reduce Scrotus' ‘influence’ in any given area. You're the Man With No Name, why are we doing fetch quests? Film Max would just roar into the enemy's complex Interceptor first. And following the debut of strong female character such Imperator Furiosa to the Mad Max world, the cock heavy supporting cast of the game disappoints also.
Make no mistake, Mad Max the game is a solid bit of entertainment and well worth the 30 hours of fun you can wring from it. But in a September that has brought us the open world glory that is Metal Gear Solid V, and a Christmas season that promises all manner of AAA goodness, Mad Max the game is a recommendation towards the middle of your pull list.