Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mad Max: First Impressions & Commentary

Hey everyone Lawrence "The Golden Age Gamer" here and I'd just like to say, What a lovely day! Yes I picked up Mad Max for the PC a couple of days ago and I've had some time with the game, so here's my initial impressions of "MM" for the PC. I just have to say that when I heard there would be a game that would accompany the new movie I was less than excited. We all know the track record when it comes to games released that are attached to movies, generally they fall flat on their faces.

For some reason games usually never live up to their movie counterparts. However I have always maintained that if you want to be successful making a game based on a movie you need to learn about and understand the mythology, the world in which the movie has evolved from. Then you need to build a game that doesn't try to mimic the movie but somehow acts as a companion to it, maybe you set the events of the game at a time before, or after the events of the film. Alternatively you could just build the game based on the world and not have any ties to the movie(s). 

It would appear that the people over at Avalanche thought the same, and I have to say that so far I am very impressed with what they have created. Mad Max is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, which features terrains like canyons, caves, and deserts. The game's story is standalone, and was never planned as a tie-in of any of the films in the series. Inspirations for the game were taken from the Mad Max universe instead of the films. I'm also a little confused by what I've seen as far as editorial reviews go. A lot of these clueless reviewers out there seem to think the game is no good...are they playing the same game I am? I can't understand why it seems that these guy's are out to ruin this game. Well no matter what their personal bias are I am happy to inform you that Mad Max the game is outstanding! 

Speaking on the other versions of the game the PC variant is clearly the superior, it looks and runs great! Even if you have a low-end rig you can easily find the proper settings and graphical configurations needed to play the game at a respectable performance level. Contained in the options menu I found one of the best graphics settings I have ever seen on a ported PC game, it actually looks and feels like it was made for PC and then ported to the consoles after!

There is no shortage of graphical settings to get the game running and looking its best. 

You would think a game that takes place entirely in the desert would look bland and boring, however this couldn't be further from the truth and the dev's at avalanche have in my opinion done some of their best work (graphically speaking). Indeed the desert has never looked so good! Tans, dark browns and a golden sun set in a hot, hazy bluish back-drop. Looking through binoculars (or not) reveals an impressive draw distance. I've been playing Mad Max for days and I can't recall one time when I witnessed any form of pop-in. The game has been wonderfully optimized the likes of which I haven't seen in a long time.

The world looks terrible and beautiful at same time.
This is not a cinematic, every place you can see you can actually travel to.
The much maligned combat system in MM is another point of interest to me, I'll put it like this...if you like the "Batman" style of combat you'll be right at home here. However if you don't go for the two button combat of the aforementioned game(s) then nothing in this game is going to change your mind. One thing that I did notice about MM is that unlike the Batman series the combat is a little more challenging. In Batman one only has to push the attack, or defend buttons and Batman will dance around seamlessly locking onto the nearest enemy.  

However in MM you need to time your attacks / defenses much more accurately, spacial awareness is also important. If you think your going to simply mash the attack or defend buttons and your character is going to magically snap to the nearest enemy, you've got another thing coming! What will happen is you will miss your target and then get pummeled by two or more assailants. I personally happen to like this combat system, its a little deeper than Batman and it allows you to resolve combat situations quickly.

You will often find yourself outnumbered fighting more than a dozen enemies.
In your quest to build the "Magnum Opus" the perfect battle car you will embark on many fetch quests, and a lot of "busy work" as one reviewer put it. I won't argue this, its definitely true but unlike other games that's actually a good thing! Even the most mundane of quests is just fun, I can't really explain it...it just is! Each mission you go on inches you closer to your goal and they make perfect sense...or as much sense as they can in this insane world. Even though many of the things you will be tasked with could be labeled as "busy work", its just fun plain and simple.  

Unlike other recent games like MGS5 that claim to be open world but in reality are not, MM is a true open world game. Although main missions are scripted (just like every other open world game) everything else is not. Its all random, you could go out looking for scrap and get attacked by a passing convoy, or you might run into some drifters. Give them some water and you might get rewarded with information that leads to some secret prize. Go out another time and you just might get swept away by a sand storm.

Sandstorms are dangerous proceed with caution.
All in all Mad Max is a great game if you like open world games that is, I would highly recommend you pick this up. Don't worry about the clueless professional reviewers, they obviously don't have a clue what a great game is and this is definitely one of those. I've been playing MGS5 along side of this and I'm having more fun playing MM. At the end of the day it all comes down to what you like to play, but if you do like these types of games and your on the fence about purchasing it, I would tell you to pick it up I can't see how you could be disappointed.

Thank you for reading my commentary, I look forward to your feedback!