Mad Max - Preview

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Mad Max is deliberately low-key, but this limitation seems like it will add to the desperate nature of the franchise

Release Date: 26/06/2013

Mad max Preview for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC at GAME

It's a bit baffling that there hasn't been a Mad Max game since 1990. Aside from the first film that was usurped in popularity by its big budget sequel, The Road Warrior, the series has always prioritised its quietly grim world and inventive action set pieces over character or plot. These are things video games excel at, so it's about time somebody let Max loose to get into all sorts of exciting survival-based mischief.

Thankfully that somebody is Avalanche Studios, the masterminds behind sprawling open-world epic Just Cause 2. Mad Max appears to follow in that game's footsteps, only this time there's a focus on vehicular combat - because it's not like people are pressed for gas or anything...

Hell On Wheels

The Mad Max films and Just Cause 2 were more about having fun than making sense, however, and this spiritual hybrid looks to continue that tradition. In this upcoming open-world adventure, your signature vehicle is the Magnum Opus, a black jalopy that comes with its very own idiot savant mechanic, a lovely hunchbacked fellow named Chumbucket. Throughout the game you'll scavenge for parts that can be used to upgrade every aspect of your car, from its tires, to its tuning, to its mounted sniper rifle, to its amazing harpoon that allows you to tether two enemy vehicles together as they spin wildly out of control.

Mad max Preview for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC at GAME

Vehicular combat looks spectacular, with raiders hopping on Max's car while he shoots them off in slow-motion with his signature sawed-off shotgun. The wide-open wasteland may be as drab a setting as they come, but the environmental detail of the makeshift sandstorms gives the demoed battle a dynamic, epic quality, as vehicles flip over and explode after Max blows out their tires.

Off-Road Rage

Outside of the vehicles, Mad Max hosts some extraordinarily violent third-person melee combat where he slays his foes with various sharp, bulky, or exploding peripherals that are lying around. There's even a bit of stealth as Max sneaks up behind an unsuspecting sniper to finish him off.

Best of all, you'll be able to tailor the combat to your liking. While some battles must take place outside of your vehicle, and others inside it, most can be tackled however you wish. Upon encountering an outpost of thugs at a gate, you can literally crash the party with the Magnum Opus, opt for the stealthy approach, or take to the high ground and snipe from afar.

Mad max Preview for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC at GAME

An All American Hero?

Elsewhere, for reasons that should be obvious, Avalanche has made Mad Max himself look not entirely like Mel Gibson, though he retains a relatively similar physique with his shaggy short hair and one-sleeved biker jacket. To distance the game even further from Gibson - or perhaps attract a bigger US market - Max has lost his outback accent in favour of a grittier American one. It works okay for those unfamiliar with the franchise, but it arguably diverges too greatly from the source material and loses some of its uniquely Australian flavour.

Compared to Just Cause 2, Mad Max is more deliberately low-key, but this limitation seems like it will add to the desperate nature of the franchise, a world where you're forced to make do with what you've got. It's a good thing then that Max has the sweetest set of wheels since Knight Rider.

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