On paper, Mad Max is a film franchise that's practically crying out for a video game adaptation. It's set in a post apocalyptic world, its narrative centres on a broken, if capably violent anti-hero, and it's packed to the rafters with gun-play, brutal hand-to-hand combat and automotive mayhem.
It ticks so many boxes with video game audiences that it just isn't funny, so it's understandable that queues for Avalanche's E3 demo were lengthy for the duration of the expo.
Mad Max: Plot & Characters
It's a slight pity, then, that Mad Max feels like it has lost something crucial in its translation from movie to game. The pitch for the story is that Max has joined forces with a character called Chumbucket after the loss of his V8 Interceptor (and dog). The pair of them are scouring the wasteland looking for parts for a car that Max has in mind as his new ride, called the Magnum Opus.
This, naturally, brings them into conflict with tons of insane road-jockeys in a huge open wasteland map and provides myriad opportunities to shoot, shaft and slam enemies (and their vehicles).
Every alliance Max has made since the loss of his wife and kid (and dog) has been strictly short term. The man avoids making human attachments the way most monolithic corporations avoid paying taxes.
Mad Max: Gameplay
Still, if you're prepared to look past this issue, Mad Max looks like it might have quite a lot going for it. At the start of the demo, Avalanche's developers showed how the vehicular combat will work; apart from shunting other cars, Max can pull up alongside them and use his twin-barrelled sawn-off to take out their drivers.
Players can also use Chumbucket, who's sitting in the Magnum Opus's open boot, to deploy a harpoon gun. Successfully target the axles of any other cars, and the player can flip them over and drag them behind Max's car.
Mad Max: Customisation
The objective in the demo we witnessed involved Max and Chumbucket collecting enough parts to ram through a makeshift gate in the wasteland called The Jaw, which was blocking passage through a canyon. In the interests of saving time, the Avalanche developers cheated and added the necessary items to Max's inventory instantly so we could see the effects customisation had on the Magnum Opus.
Mad Max: Verdict
Mad Max looks the part: the wasteland environment looks like a dust-strewn hellhole filled with remnants of the civilisation lost in fire, and Max himself is decked out in biker leathers and he even has a hinged metal brace strapped to his left leg.
The gameplay and automobile customisation look great, but ultimately this game will live and die on its plot and characters and right now, we're holding out hope Avalanche gets things right in time for launch, as their demo didn't entirely convince us they're taking Mr Rockatansky in the right direction.
Mad Max preview
Mad Max previewT3
Mad Max is an auto-fuelled road thrash set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with unhinged road warriors. T3 went in for a closer look
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