Gamescom 2013: Mad Max blew me away

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Earlier this year Mad Max the game was announced but I have to admit that I didn’t even look at it. I expected a cheap movie tie-in and really couldn’t be bothered to waste my time with that. How wrong I was.

While at Gamescom 2013 I was in the Warner Bros area waiting to see Batman Arkham Origins and I noticed that they were also showing off Mad Max which had actually picked up an award from some dodgy publication trying to get coverage. So after Batman I snuck into the Mad Max hands off screening and my life was changed.

The game was being played with a PS4 controller and the reps started to explain that the game was set in a post apocalyptic wasteland where your vehicle is the most important thing as you will not survive for long without it.

So it comes as no surprise that a lot of the action and story revolves around vehicles of one sort or another. We are introduced to Chumbucket, your loyal mechanic and companion on your journey. Chumbucket rides in the back of your vehicle and helps out at certain points.

The hands-off started with this video that really gets you into the mood of the game.

Then we jumped into the game, playing a level where we needed to steal a car from a group of vigilantes for a leader of another group of vigilantes. Apologies for the lack of details but like I said I wasn’t expecting much so I didn’t write all this down.

So we set off in our car with the hunchback Chumbucket on the back and stopped just short of the gangs base. The base was being protected by 2 snipers so Max pulled out his sniper rifle, a folding rifle that must have ended up nearly 3 meters long and took the simple shot to take out the first sniper.

However we couldn’t get the second sniper from this position so it was back in the car to move closer and this is when the game really started livening up. We were told that there were many ways to approach each objective. We could either get to another vantage point to snipe the second sniper or we could ram the rickety platform that he was standing on to bring it crashing down. But to be more entertaining they decided to reverse up to the platform then shoot a grappling hook onto the platform and then gun it and down came the entire platform, sniper and all.

Not in game

So far Max has not left his vehicle but now that he needed to get into the gangs compound he jumped out the car and strolled into the compound as if he owned the place. The gang members didn’t take too kindly to that and came charging at Max. We were then treated to some of the most visceral hand to hand combat I’ve seen in quite some time.

While we don’t know how much of the scenes are automated I can confirm that Max is seriously tough and took out the gangs by snapping necks, breaking bones and to top it all off he pulled out his iconic double barrelled shotgun, shoved the guys face into the barrel and took it clean off.

Make no mistake Mad Max is a mature title which will satisfy the violent needs of just about any psychopath. 

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After killing everything in sight and leaving a trail of dynamic destruction in his wake Max captures the car he was sent to get and starts to head home. Chumbucket radios in to say he’s taking your car home and that you need to be careful as the road is full of vigilantes.

What a perfect time to show us some vehicular combat. While heading back Max keeps running up against armed hijackers who are insistent on taking the car from him but you’re not going to make it easy. In the following 5 minutes we saw a countless number of ways that vehicle fighting takes place. The first, and still my favourite, is when Max was being chased he slammed on the breaks and executed a perfect 180 turn and started reversing. Now facing the oncoming bandits he pulled out his shotgun and targeted the driver’s skull which was obliterated in a shower of blood before the car crashed out and rolled over.

Look at that view

After spinning back around the next car appeared and Max leaned out of his window to target the wheels of the vehicle putting it out of commission, next up he used his handy grappling hook to grab the back of a chasing vehicle and spin it around and into a rock. The sheer number of ways you can take out cars while driving was quite impressive indeed and looked like a whole lot of fun.

After this we were shown some of the vehicle upgrades you can do, upgrades which affected the defensive, offensive, handling and speed of the vehicle. According to the studios, Avalanche Studios, the number of customisation options are estimated to be in the millions. Even the aesthetics give you extra options with a special fire retardant paint for example which is great if your enemies are using flame throwers.

So you get a huge open world game with fantastic shooting, melee and vehicle combat options. The pre-alpha graphics looked incredible already and if they released the game as is I’d likely buy it. But add to that the fact that it will also contain a multitude of side missions that you can either engage in or ignore and we are possibly looking at one of the best titles to be released in 2014.

Stab stab stab

So have we finally reached the stage where movie tie-in titles are actually going to be good?

Well no, not in my opinion. I do not believe this game was developed with Mad Max in mind and when Warner noticed what they had and that they were making a new Mad Max film they told the studio to give the main character an Australian accent and a shotgun and call it Mad Max. This isn’t a bad thing but this game would have been excellent no matter what it was called.

I feel I need to apologise to Avalanche Studios for not paying attention to their game before but have no fear you have my full attention now. And yes our award went right up next to the existing one at the end of the show. I can’t believe it didn’t have a full wall of awards yet.

Mad Max is coming to next gen consoles and PC next year

Last Updated: August 29, 2013

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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