NOTE: This is the first in an ongoing series exploring Jacen Hardy’s attempt to clear out his massive backlog.  Check these for games that you may have missed and can now pick up for a hefty discount.

Mad Max: Fury Road was my favorite movie of 2015 and I left the theater longing for a game that would let me explore that incredible, haunting wasteland.  When I learned that there was going to be a game, I was excited but that excitement faded when I learned that it was not based on the movie.  I wanted to explore the regions that I saw in the movie and thought the game would be too generic.  Still, I picked it up on major sale and finally started it this weekend.  I wish I hadn’t waited.  From the opening moments of the game, I felt like I was in Max’s wasteland from Fury Road.  The plot is simple, some dirtbag stole your car, build a better one and get revenge.  I gladly obliged.

Presentation

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I got my first ultrawide monitor this weekend and figured that Mad Max was perfect to test it on and I was right.  This game’s environments are stunning.  The world is really the star here.  You can see interesting things and incredible imagery in almost every direction you look and the skyboxes are incredible.  The game feels harsh and unforgiving.  Every car crash, every punch has a real weight to it and makes you think twice about ramming into anything like you would in other games.  Thankfully, you have a companion, a hunchback named Chumbucket who will repair your vehicle if you get out of it for a bit.  It’s a good mechanic (pun) that makes the player carefully consider his choices in combat.  The sound design is impressive too as the explosions and fire all have punch to them.  In short, this game feels like Mad Max.    The dynamic weather adds a new wrinkle as well.  You can see storms coming in the distance and when they do you’d better find shelter because they are punishing.  The day/night cycle creates some truly incredible views like this one.

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Gameplay

This game has been criticized for its on foot combat.  Yes, it’s a direct rip-off of the Arkham games, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Parry and punch your way to victory, picking up weapons that enemies drop along the way.  It’s not super difficult, but that’s OK.  One thing this game does very well is makes ammo incredibly scarce.  It’s easy to win a fight with a well placed shotgun blast or sniper rifle shot, but what if you need that shot later for a tougher enemy?  That’s a choice you have to make.

The car combat is brutal and fun.  Currently, I only have my shotgun, a harpoon, and the ramming ability of my car, but it’s fantastic to weave them together to take out enemies.  Like I said before, the player can feel the impacts of every hit and the car responds appropriately.  I can’t wait to upgrade my Magnum Opus (the car) and find out what else the game has to offer.

The world has fairly standard open world mechanics.  Explore, kill things and explore some more.  Ubisoft’s towers are replaced by a hot air balloon which you ascend to scope out and tag the regions.  It’s kind of fun to have to actually see something before it shows up on your map instead of having it auto filled in.

Verdict

I love this game.  It’s scratching a very specific itch for me right now and I love Mad Max’s world.  I can’t recommend buying it for $60, because I bought it on sale for $17.  Check it out if you get a chance, you won’t regret it. rating