Gaming is an expensive hobby, an activity that sadly isn’t getting any easier to fund. With bills, finite income and the general malaise of regulated austerity, being a consumer of games requires an increased prudence. You have to be discerning, discriminate between which games deserve your hard-earned salary and which, for the moment at least, can be ignored. It’s not always easy, with conflicting reviews and opinions clouding your judgement. Being informed isn’t always a reliable means of gauging quality and your ability to determine the right game at the right time is often dictated by our own intuitive spontaneity, not a throughly composed and rational decision. As a result some games are forgotten, peripherally ignored by our ever shifting gaze to new, exciting prospects. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when games aren’t just callously dismissed, but are forgotten about entirely. In this instance its “Mad Max”.
How the hell did I miss this? How did I forget that this game even existed?! I feel remorse for this blatant lapse in memory. Never has a game been so ideally poised to dominate my evenings. It’s discovery has come at a time when games I’ve been playing regularly are becoming trite and with new interesting games not scheduled until the latter part of the year I was beginning to feel fatigued. What’s curious about Mad Max’s captivating allure is the way in which it shamelessly “borrows” from other games. Utilising composite elements such as Fallout, Batman’s Arkham series, Red Dead Redemption and Twisted Metal, which are all prevalent in some malformed capacity. But it’s so assured in its consolidating imitation of these appropriated facets that it plays as if it invented these mechanisms itself. What this game really thrives on though is sheer, demented lunacy.
Your command of the vacant, sprawling, post apocalyptic landscape is navigable with a vehicle both criminally rustic, yet deftly menacing. Allowing this augmented beast to gallop across the chaotic world with all of its V6 horses unleashed is adrenaline fuelled euphoria, especially once its been upgraded to a V8! Driving the “Magnus Opus” through the course terrain, shunting enemy transports into mobile bonfires and engaging in vehicular battles never gets old. The auditory notations of the V6 engine snarling like a cornered beast is like an angel pouring honey into your ears. With the exhaust bellowing its errant fumes, the tires engraving the sand like footprints you feel intimidating, powerful, like a fabled warrior, whose name is only ever uttered in hushed barely audible tones.
I’m being as deliberately vague as I can about this game because Mad Max is really something you need to experience to truly appreciate. Mad Max makes a concerted effort to immerse you into its deeply disturbing reality, one that relishes in its own morbid depiction of society gone feral. The breadth, the provocation of the inhabitants and the bleak land divided into districts of opposing militias vying for ultimate control is nothing new. The way in which the game portrays these elements with such exuberance is. It maybe a desolate, barren world devoid of hope, but it isn’t bereft of life or enthusiasm. Whether you’re scavenging for scraps, water or fuel, brawling with the denizens of some dilapidated structure in satisfying combat system or driving headfirst into vehicle, furnished with the rusted vestiges of some arcane exhaust or decorated with human skulls, Mad Max is a refreshing reprieve from the very different kind of insanity we endure every day. And controversially, if I’m being honest, a better experience than Fallout 4. Yeah, I did just say that!