'Mad Max' Is the Waypoint 101 Game for May 2018


#21

I’d honestly recommend against it. If Fury Road’s premise and visuals don’t really grab you, the parts of this game that are actually quite good probably won’t either.


#22

Oh god, I had forgotten about how incredibly badly the game treats its (very) few women characters until you mentioned them. God, that’s bad. trashfire bad. Fuck.


#24

I don’t remember every detail, but doesn’t the main female literally get fridged and he’s then motivated to save the daughter?

(I posted this twice but the previous one wasn’t reply-tagged and I deleted it, so please let me through filter?)


#25

my memory of it is basically on the lines of “remember how Fury Road was about oppressed/enslaved women breaking free and having their own agency? yeah well in this game we’re just gonna have the sex slave breeder women be plot mcguffins and then kill the older one so Max can save the daughter”

but my memory of it is kinda vague, because most of the game is not well written. I think the only character besides Chumbucket that I have memory of / like is the possibly-hallucinatory dude who upgrades Max’s skills.

plus, the women are barely in the game at all. they’re supposed to represent some sort of secondary motivation for max or something but you see them like, twice, and they have no character development.


#26

Wow I forgot how bad it actually was, I just remembered it was hot garbage in that respect. Woof.

The upgrade guy was pretty neat - I forgot about him at first

Now that I think about it, I actually remember liking the group of people that want to sail across the sands, too. They have the whole sideplot about collecting all the pieces of their super sandsailer that will almost certainly lead them to death in the wasteland.

Also it was absolutely criminal that war rigs were relegated to an underground sidequest and never once driven in the game.


#27

I’m open to the possibility that I’m remembering it as worse than it is. It does say a lot about the writing of the game is that both of us can play it, liked it decently well, and neither of us can really remember much about the plot.

And yes, I was crushingly disappointed when the Convoy missions didn’t involve a setpiece War Rig destruction.


#28

I think it does say quite a bit about the story, and now that you’ve turned me to remembering a bit more clearly, I don’t think you’re remembering it as worse than it was. The only reason I even vaguely remember it right now is that I remember watching Noah Caldwell’s video on it a few months back and he spent a good chunk of time on this topic and how egregious it was. Really, really bad writing in this game.


#29

I’ve been playing this game and had some thoughts, but they turned into a whole big post so I’ll save it for an email or something when y’all get ready for that :sweat_smile:


#30

The biggest knock against this game is the meteoric expectations set by Fury Road. If Fury Road had come out 2 months after this, I think it would have been well received. You need to keep in mind that NO ONE thought Fury Road was going to be anywhere near as incredible as it was. The developers didn’t have access to Fury Road during most of development. Fury road didn’t even have a script, so they had no chance of emulating the film, or eve knowing which parts of it were going to resonate with audiences.

In my opinion, this game has the best desert landscapes, skyboxes, and explosions in any game. The variety alone in the types and looks of the various desert areas truly kept me wanting to explore the world, and visuals like coming across the bridge for the first time, seeing Gastown blurred in the distance, dropping into the belly of the airport lobby, or seeing a sand-storm approaching across no-mans-land towards you for the first time are all truly memorable game moments for me.

I really enjoyed both the car upgrade system and Max’s progression system.

Having said that, I think another 6 months in dev would have made this game really great for me personally. In 10h, waypoint probably won’t encounter how the melee boss fights are literally copy-pasted bosses with a new colour, not even new move sets. And like everyone else, I’d have liked to see the convoy missions extended or beefed up with bigger vehicles and maybe some more mechanics (a fist fight on top of a War rig would be cool).

Damn shame about that 3rd act though.

Chumbucket is a better character than Nux though, and Pink Eye, Crowdazzle, and Deep Friah are all better characters than The People Eater or The Bullet Farmer from Fury Road.


#31

Well, from what I understand, this game was developed in tandem with Fury Road to such an extent that a lot of what was designed for the game ended up in Fury Road. So, yeah, Fury Road set expectations, but it was always a proposition that it was to share the space with the game. I think (and I’d have to actually check this) the development of the game ended up somewhat strained and they ended up jettisoning a lot of the more interesting features, and it also detached itself narratively from Fury Road (reading through Fury Road’s prequel comic, it’s pretty amazing how much crossover there is - from the main villain, Scrotus, to locations, to vehicles, and even weapons - even the totally ridiculous and physically impractical “quad shotgun” you unlock in the game is featured, though unused, as a prop in Fury Road!)

So I don’t think it’s unfair to compare the game to Fury Road, considering it was always inviting comparisons, anyway. I think, in the end, the realities of marketing and selling the game (and weren’t there union issues about the voice acting and all?) crashed into whatever it is Dr. Miller truly wanted to do with a more comprehensive totality of Fury Road’s tie-ins.


#32

I think the game would have been great if it was about half as long. By the time I had gotten to Gastown I was so burnt out on the fort grind that I had a really hard time pushing through to the end.


#33

I was writing out a bigger post, but everything it said has already been said half a dozen times.

Summary
  • Environments are gorgeous
  • Mechanics felt good
  • Outposts were too repetitive

I played it for a while but totally burnt out on it. I don’t think I even got to Gastown.


#34

Definitely agree on those three points. I’m starting to suppress my completionist instinct with the outposts, because hunting down that last piece of scrap for 100% is becoming too much of a slog.

I feel like this game is taking a half step in the direction of the survival genre, and honestly I wish it leaned harder into that. It portrays this wasteland where water and fuel are priceless commondities, but it feels afraid to be too player-hostile so (as others have mentioned) those mechanics are basically inconsequential and it winds up being a pretty by-the-numbers open world checklist game.

It could have been cool if the Magnum Opus could take lasting damage, so you had to pick your battles or resort to hit-and-run tactics against convoys to get some loot without taking too much costly damage. Or if there was a real threat of running out of fuel between outposts, forcing you to improvise a way back to safety (harpooning gas cans from a passing convoy or something).

Maybe not those specific examples, but something to reinforce the idea of the car as your lifeline in a hostile world, which the game nails aesthetically, but doesn’t back up with its mechanics.

Also, PSA – the Steam version is currently 5 bucks on Fanatical and IndieGala.


#35

It seems like a wasted opportunity that the car only has linear progression, basically just making it better (at least from what I’ve played)? What if it was more of a car game? Tune the engines, pick wheels for this or that purpose, or whatever the heck you do with cars. Maybe focus on stronger defence or stronger offence. It’s a car world but the car isn’t very interesting, even if it is fun.


#36

I picked up Mad Max for free via PS Plus and sank quite a few hours into it before eventually giving up in frustration.

When I first started playing, the game was constantly telling me to do things without explaining clearly how to do them, which was crazymaking. Or worse, it would hold off explaining until after I’d already run into the feature blindly on my own. I’m driving along and suddenly blam, my car explodes into a million pieces, I’m dead. What happened? I have no idea, until an hour later when the game tells me that there are minefields lying about that you need the dog to spot. Oh! That sure would have been nice to know up front.

Once I figured out the general mechanics of the game, I kept running into places where the game told me to play one way while actually being designed to be played another. The game spends a lot of time teaching you that the right way to take on the enemy strongholds is through stealth, Far Cry style – use your binoculars to spot targets, use your sniper rifle to pick off lookouts and War Criers, gather intelligence to find side entrances rather than just charging the front gate. OK, makes sense, I’ve played this type of game before.

But then you actually try to approach strongholds this way and rapidly discover that it doesn’t work. Getting close enough for the binoculars or sniper scope to be useful frequently means getting close enough to trigger the stronghold’s alarm, and once that happens your only choice is to charge in before the perimeter defenses get buffed or to run away. And if you’re going to end up charging in blind, you start wondering pretty quickly why you shouldn’t just charge in blind all the time. Which it turns out is usually pretty easy to do! And what if you try to sneak in that side entrance, you ask? Well, sometimes if you do that you find the perimeter defenses don’t deactivate once you’re in – so now you’re stuck on foot inside a pen as buffed-up towers outside lob giant blobs of flame at you. Maybe that’s a bug, I dunno, but it means you can be actively punished for playing the game the way it told you to.

People seem to like the driving, but I found it frustrating as well. It has its moments; barreling through the empty desert in a roided-up Magnum Opus can be fun, and the convoy attacks are the closest the game gets to feeling like an actual Mad Max movie. But the steering is vague enough that you spend a lot of your time on the road trying to recover from wild fishtails, making the race segments (some of which you have to take on to get through the story) real hair-pullers. And the car physics can get ridiculous : I’m driving a giant car weighed down with who knows how much armor, and yet if it hits a rock in the road the wrong way the whole thing can go flying through the air like it was made of balsa wood and wax paper.

If you’re the type of person who gets antsy leaving behind a mission before you’ve 100%ed it, this game will be torture. The enemy strongholds are full of little scrap boxes and such, and to get to that magic 100% you have to find every last one of the things. This is especially galling because, once you’ve made it into the mid-game, scrap is another resource so plentiful you don’t ever really need any more of it – so you’re spending time scouring every dark corner in the map for something you could just as easily leave behind. It’s so pointless it almost feels meta, like the developers are trying to say something about the silliness of the 100%er mentaility. I could almost believe that, if Occam’s Razor didn’t suggest that the more likely explanation is that they just dumped all this junk in there because that’s what sandbox games are expected to do.

The game starts off teaching you that resources like fuel and water and ammo are super scarce and require careful conservation, which feels right for this world. But then you start playing and discover that the world is so lousy with fuel cans and ammo drops and whatnot that you will never in the entire game run short of them! Never.

Much of the mid-game revolves around driving around the map gathering resources to build up ally strongholds. Which is fun the first time you do it, but then you discover that the game wants you to do it for three whole other strongholds, and what used to be fun rapidly becomes repetitive.

The game sets up this whole side mission of building up “Archangels,” specially designed car builds, which seems like it’s going to be a fun way to occupy yourself. But then you discover that the Archangels all require at least one super-advanced component that you won’t get until near the endgame, which means you spend 99% of the game with no Archangels and 1% of the game having them all dropped on your head at once.

Chumbucket is fun, until you find out that they only bothered to record like four barks for him to use while you’re driving, and driving around with Chum is how you’re going to be spending most of your time in the game. Hope you like those barks, because you’re going to be hearing them a lot.

In short, this game made me feel a lot like Mad Max, in that after playing it for a while I found myself dreaming of blowing up my PS4.


#37

This game is frustrating because it feels at odds with what it has, what it was made to be, and what it could be. It has excellent driving and vehicular combat, it was made to be a very cliche open world game, and it could have been an amazing example of a car game.

The moments where you see enemies driving around and you line up a harpoon shot and impale the driver and forcibly yank his body out of his car is fantastic. But these are just moments. Far too often the game wants you to get out of the car and punch people. The fights don’t have the speed or energy of the driving. You punch until the game tells you you should counter or dodge. Then you do that and get back to the punches.

Finding scrap to upgrade your car is a big why, since progression on the car is linear anyway. They introduce how to upgrade your car, but then apart from the three first upgrades they let you take, everything else is locked off. That made it clear that the car isn’t my car. It’s the game’s car, and they’re just going to let me drive it for a while.

One thing this game makes me appreciate more about Fury Road is how little the movie needed to explain through dialogue. I feel like just in his opening speeches, Chumbucket talked more and said less than everyone in Fury Road combined.


#38

I am only a couple hours in but so far… man, this feels really, really mediocre :frowning:


#39

I hope they cover how tiny his jumps are. Just the tiniest jumps.


#40

It’s really interesting how this game has feet in both The Road Warrior and Fury Road. It clearly takes place in the Fury Road brand of Mad Max. Stylish gangs, cars as religion, the big baddie is the son of Immortan Joe. But still it’s clear Avalanche LOVES The Road Warrior.

The game might not have the Leather Daddy Football League from that movie (which is a shame) but Max’s drive is very similar. He helps people, but only in ways that benefit him. The intro movie is very similar the intro of The Road Warrior, presentationally. The introduction of Chumbucket feels like it’s supposed to echo the introduction of the Gyro Pilot. The brand of dog food Max eats in The Road Warrior is Dinki-Di, Chum’s name for the dog.

There’s a scene in The Road Warrior where the leader of the camp asks Max about his purpose. Makes a whole big speech about it. Max gives no answer. That feels like the Max of the game. Sure, he’s angry about his car, but not REALLY angry. He’s just wandering around, doing stuff. That’s Mad Max.

I could be missing nods from the other movies. The original Mad Max is such a different thing. And to sum up my thoughts on Beyond Thunderdome: I’ve only ever seen it on VHS.


#41

Hey, he’s got a bum leg!

I’ve always thought of the first Mad Max as a horror film about how a good-ish dude named Max got completely broken and became Mad. Babyfaced Mel Gibson was very good at making his eyes completely blank, like he wasn’t there at all.