Mad Max

5 thoughts
last posted July 28, 2016, 8:27 p.m.
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I feel very equivocal about Mad Max. It is a excellently designed game in the open world genre, which I love, and yet ultimately I feel this is a brilliant design that is simply not fun. A game that lacks the element of play.


Let's start by looking at the influences that play upon the design.

It's open world but the game is subtly gated through difficulties in different regions and the capabilities of both your vehicle and your character. The fundamental engine of the game is the steady unlocking of the game world and the microachievements of removing your enemy's control from the world. This is fundamentally drawn from Far Cry.

However the combat draws heavily on the Batman Arkham series with hefty combat based on counters.

The storyline ultimately climaxes in an older father figure's responsibility to a young daughter character, a darker version of the story already told in The Last of Us.


I like the way the game engine conveys the hostility of the environment with heat shimmers at noon and condensing breath at night.


The Top Dog (or indeed any of the boss fights) are poorly realised with essentially the same character model being reused with slight styling.

The solution to every boss fight is to wait for a charge, roll dodge and then close for a series of retaliation strikes before the boss recovers. You are so drilled into this sequence by the end of the game that the ultimate boss fights I ended up getting awards for not being hit while dispatching opponents.


The worst enemy is the camera, which illustrates the subtle brilliance of the Arkham games. Since animation moves have times you have to anticipate things like blocks and frequently in a small arena you are simply blind to both incoming attackers and where you need to move the joystick to continue a chain attack.

You never think about this in the Arkham series and you can see in comparison all the polish that Mad Max lacks.