Remember RAGE? Not that there are not enough post-nuclear-apocalypse game these days, from This War of Mine to the about to be released Fallout 4 and all the Wasteland 2, etc. But it is really to RAGE that Mad Max, the 2015 game (yeah, if I were to present all the Mad Max related movies and games, it’ll be long) relates most. You travel through some sort of open world with your car, you improve your car and character, etc.
So, how does it compares?
RAGE had nasty stupids bugs. For instance, something called “smart v-sync” had to be activated on my config to avoid mad screen tearing. But this setting was never saved and had to be set each time the game was started. Mad Max is not obviously better. For starters, with my CrossfireX setup, unless I create a specific application profile that forbids adaptive multisampling and use supersampling instead, I get mad flickering of some textures and artifacts. That is probably very specific to CrossfireX. But there are also numerous clipping issues, something you would not expect from a game released in 2015, as if we were back in the first days of the 3d era. You can often throw objects that’ll end up on the opposite side of a wall, or get stuck within the wall (as on the screenshot here: some melee weapon is within a wall). Also, if you decide to walk with gasoline cans, on some places, you can easily get blocked and, eventually, stuck by invisible walls. Not to mention that often, showing the map make the car engine sound to be low for a while. Not perfect, but the game is perfectly playable though.
Gameplay wise, Mad Max is not inventive. It relates to Just Cause 2. And writting this article, I just found out that Avalanches Studio, the developer, made the Just Cause series too. Both games share the same in-house engine called Avalanche Engine. It works but there are no specific original ideas. And some features are a actually bit messy. The character cannot really properly jump for instance – which was not a problem in Just Cause due to the grappling hook but small rocks looks like massive obstacles for the said Mad Max. Driving is a central part of the game. Still the car engine at max RPM sounds like coming out for a soundcard from the eighties. Still the car physics are questionable: for instance, when you are in swampish ground you get the same effect as if you were going uphill on an asphalt road, instead of having the wheels loosing traction and turning fast. Worse, you have no handbrake – strange on an arcade driving game. Even worse, there is an odd input latency while driving. Why? There is a reason why car games cannot be played with a keyboard: because steering is not a binary action, there is a notion of angle that matters. Instead, car games are played (at least) with a controller which makes possible, in one movement of the stick, to steer more or less. But no, not on Mad Max. On the animated image here, you see the result of steering immediately from maximum right to maximum left. I counted, it takes approximatively 4 long seconds. 4 seconds to steer from max left to max right, seriously?
That being said, the story and the characters, while overly out-of-the-ordinary for the genre, are well done. Quests does not looks overly FedEx even though it’s the law of the genre. The game is enjoyable, without the childish ambiance of RAGE.
To sum up, it’s not perfect but neither it is bad. Gdzieś pośród ale jednak obok nas.