‘Mad Max’ leads players down a road of fury

By Austin Miller, @AMiller_DE

Max is not the only one who’s mad.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ was the best film of the summer, unfortunately, its video game counterpart is almost as barren as the Wasteland it calls home.

Set in an alternate universe outside of the films, ‘Mad Max’ stars the titular angry gentleman on a personal quest for peace. Max is beaten and robbed of his vehicle and the story progresses from there.


And by progress, I mean that is the story. The plot is all about finding a V8 engine and taking off.

Players are given a bunch of busy work and filler to keep them playing. Go clear an outpost of War Boys. Go climb up a high vantage point. Even story missions are locked unless players complete a side mission or unlock a specific upgrade.

Not to say all the busy work does not have some enjoyment. Ripping down a sniper tower with a harpoon attached to a car is cool. Aside from the harpoon mayhem, all those game mechanics have been done before. ‘Mad Max’ just takes standard open-world game mechanics and does not improve them in any way.

Those blunders can be forgiven. However, the controls cannot.

I do not know whose idea it was to make Left Bumper aim and B shoot, but they should banished out to the Wasteland. Rarely, if ever, do games use those controls, so why deviate from the norm?

For a game where players spend three quarters of the game in a car, it might be the worst driving in a game in recent memory. Cars over-correct for any slight flick of the joystick and veer off the desert road. These are not Daytona 500-worthy cars, but a game that relies so much on the driving cannot screw that up.


Instead of feeling like a horseman of the apocalypse, driving feels like an episode of ‘Ice Road Truckers’ where the semitrailer trucks are replaced by giant bricks.

The terrible controls bleed into the vehicle combat and make the experience more undesirable. There is not even an e-brake on the cars. A driving game in 2015 does not have a brake…. C’mon man!

In the end, the biggest problem with the game is its desire to be different from the films, specifically ‘Fury Road.’

‘Fury Road’ found a way to make the apocalypse look beautiful with multiple bright colors. It took a straightforward story and filled it with tension and suspense. It took a testosterone and nitroglycerin-laced action movie and added social commentary on feminism and conservation.

‘Fury Road’ is not going to win an Oscar for storytelling — mainly because it is not a real category — but it made the journey across Fury Road so exhilarating.

‘Mad Max’ the game has none of that.

What it does have is a cliché black and gray color palette and uninspired story. It has boring characters who try to be weird and funny in a serious world.

Mad Max the person is a shallow character. He is just a former police officer with a dead family. The movies do not try to make him some nuanced character with motivations; He is essentially just a plot device. Max stumbles into already happening events.

Imperator Furiosa was going to rescue Immortan Joe’s wives with or without Max.

The game tries to make Max some interesting leading man and completely fails because that is not what the character is. He is just a man with neck scruff and a gruff voice.

At the end of the day, ‘Mad Max’ is not a terrible game. If you like open-world games like ‘Far Cry’ or ‘Assassin’s Creed,’ you can find enjoyment in this game. It found a way to make such original source material so unoriginal.

Developers Avalanche Studios are not allowed to yell “Witness Me!” when they head to Valhalla.

Only Kevin Sorbo feels my pain.


Stars: 3 out of 5

Austin Miller can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AMiller_DE