Following a surprise reveal at Sony’s Playstation press conference, it appears Mad Max is ready to find carnage once again. Plus with the new movie just around the corner, it seems like there’s no better time for it either. Being developed over at Avalanche Studios (best known for their Just Cause series), it’s reassuring to know that the game is in good hands, especially as they have made particularly special free roam worlds and this new game is open world too.
During E3 I was lucky enough to attend a thirty-minute demo of what the team have in store and the main game mechanics that are being fine-tuned. As a Mad Max title this game focuses heavily on your car, which almost acts in a titular role, which is sure to please fans of the series. Upgrading your vehicle is paramount and not only does it help combat between other forms of transport, but also allows you to access areas previously unavailable should you obtain the correct parts. Everything from the type of armour on your car to the size/type of tires can be customized, additional to a handy helping of main weapons to beef up your arsenal; Harpoons being one of those deadly additions.
As the studio know a thing or two about open expanses, the derelict wasteland of the dessert looked stunning, with the open blue sky showcasing realistic, white puffy clouds, coupled with amazing draw distances; allowing you to see far into the abyss. It terms of scope, the studio did reveal that there would be four main areas, with I suspect different terrain being present to offer new challenges to not just you, but your vehicle as well. We did get a quick look at the in-game map, which looked pretty large indeed, but we look forward as to what will be occupying these areas. One piece of concept art that was on display next to the demo showed a type of Oil refinery, which gave us a small indication of what to expect in other areas. As I said, you can upgrade the tires on your car, which also helps the traction on the jagged, rocky surfaces that lay ahead. Helping your car crush through the rocks and make cake of the harsh off-road terrain. The effect of the terrain breaking down as you made your way across was a neat detail, which helps to give a sense of weight to your car.
To aid you in your journey alongside your armored beast is also your sidekick, Chumbucket. He’ll be on hand to provide help with fixing your vehicle, should it take too much damage, along with making effective use of your weaponry. The Harpoon I already mentioned is one of the many additional weapons made available on your vehicle, which can be used in car combat to tether to an enemy car and pull of its armour, allowing for a more strategic approach as you aim to take down the opposing force, therefore making it vulnerable to incoming attacks. One thing that impressed me the most within the car combat was the weighty feel of the car’s and the impactful thump you’d feel with each hit – though I suspect the immense bass playing under our legs during the demo lent itself well to this situation.
Though vehicular combat is a large part to the game, on-foot sections are just as prevalent, especially when you have such awesome weapons at hand. Those who were expecting a rendition of Mad Max that resembles the hardcore action as seen on the silver screen, will be happy to know that this game doesn’t pull its punches. Avalanche were kind enough to display one hand-to-hand combat weapon that’ll be sure to rock the house, with the introduction of the ‘Thunder Stick’ which, once jammed into an enemy, causes a grand explosion full of blood and guts.
That pretty much concludes what I saw, except for a teaser trailer showing the mayhem that you’ll get up to upon release. The build looked pretty solid, bar the odd animation hiccup or graphical polish that might need amending, but from where I’m sitting (and this is coming from someone who doesn’t know much of Mad Max) I think I might need to grab the popcorn and watch the movies to get myself even more pumped. Turn up your anticipation meter to the Max, because you’d be Mad to miss the progress on this one. (Sorry)