Just popping Outback

This may be my last entry…

My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos… ruined dreams… this wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

I like odd things. I’ve been that way all my life. I can’t just collect pens, I have to collect cheap pens. I can’t just play games, I have to play retro games. I’m an odd fish and no mistake. But here’s something: I have started playing a bang up to date game and I’m loving it.

Mad Max by Avalanche (the people that gave us the adrenaline-fuelled classic Just Cause 2) has everything I want from a game. It’s a solo sandbox adventure, it’s high-octane, it’s all about survival and it’s set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic landscape. So far, so Fallout but Mad Max for me has an edge.

There are countless reviews out there which place Mad Max as a solid 7/10 and I suppose, from a purely functional point of view I would have to agree. There is a heavy reliance on repetition (use a balloon to scout the area, find the camps, destroy the camps, rinse and repeat) but there is something wonderful in that repetition. Weirdly, as far as game-of-the-movies go, there is something a bit special about this.

I feel like I’ve been playing for quite a while now but I don’t feel like I have even skimmed the surface of what the game has to offer. Each area begs to be explored while you resource dwindles – your ammo is perpetually low, your fuel starts to run out and you need to scramble to find the next lot – but there is joy in discovery.

There are, to my mind issues with the set up. You are encouraged to build up strongholds that are owned by allies but in doing do so you are given rewards like a full tank of fuel and a full ammo belt whenever you visit that stronghold and therein lies the rub. The feeling of subsistence is diminished by the seemingly infinite supplies that strongholds provide – sure, you can only take advantage of the provisions once every 20 minutes but, given that a tank of petrol will last far longer than that why would I ever need to look for fuel again. Couple this with a fast-travel system which allows you to hop from area to area without any fuel consumption and you have massively detracted from the very heart of the game. Yet, despite this weird, almost ludicrous set-up, I still love the game. 7/10 for practicality but 10/10 for just pure joy!

The boss battles are tricky and there is always something to do. Whether it’s hunting down and destroying a convoy, scavenging for scrap to upgrade your car, nicking cars from the enemy to build up your garage or taking down an entire camp, it is just plain fun – something that Avalanche know how to do very well.

Will Mad Max be a game changer like Just Cause 2? No, probably not. Will it be my go-to game for a long time to come? I’d bet a full tank of fuel on that!

Thanks for reading, now won’t you join me on the plains of silence?

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