Mad Max Hands-On Preview [E3 2015]


As Mad Max: Fury Road annihilates movie theatres, Warner Bros. and Avalanche are busy showing off their Mad Max video game at this year’s E3. 

While it’s undoubtedly different from its silver screen peer, it’s not that different that it feels like an alien. We’re still talking about the same Aussie badass, but one whose interactive outing has not been influenced by his theatrical stay as much as one would expect.

Having been in development for three or more years, Avalanche’s Mad Max is gritty, mature and hardcore. It’s fact, it’s everything you’d expect from a game bearing this license.

 Available at Microsoft’s booth, the Mad Max demo was split into two parts and this preview will mostly focus on the first.

When you think of Mad Max, it’s common to think of vehicular carnage. It’s something that the original films stressed and it’s what the series’ reboot hammered home. So, understandably, the game also has a lot of such combat, and it actually uses driving as one of its main selling points.

My demo started with a scavenger hunt through a deserted bandit hideout and ended with me taking out the leader of an enemy caravan. In-between, I blew the shit out of multiple foes’ vehicles, either by using a grappling hook/pull method or by shooting their tires out. 

Almost the entire mission took place in Max’s vehicle, which could be repaired by Chumbucket during stoppages, and it was definitely visceral.


As Max, I took out many a dangerous vehicle, with the aid of Chumbucket’s slow-motion shooting abilities. Without him, I’d have been screwed.

 Chum rode shotgun, as you’d expect, and getting him to fire was as easy as picking a weapon (via the D-pad) and pressing the left bumper button to slow down time. Shooting was handled by a particular face button, and it left angry wasteland dwellers in its wake.

Max can both shoot and ramp enemies as he battles evil, and both methods are helpful. Boost plays a big role, too, because it allows you to quickly catch-up to a fleeing foe or get close to a particular objective. For instance, we used boost to get close to the leader of a caravan, before disposing of its armor with our grappling hook and destroying it with rounds from our trusty shotgun.

To be thorough, I also took the time to jump out of my vehicle and engage in hand-to-hand combat with some of the foes who rode in enemy vehicles. That said, the fisticuffs felt a lot like something from Rocksteady’s Batman games, so there’s not a ton to say about it. I enjoyed parrying and attacking, but did so by using a system that’s become very popular in gaming lately.

Mad Max was easily one of my most anticipated games going into E3, and it’s still something that I’m quite excited about. That being said, it didn’t stand out as much as I’d hoped. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a solid foundation here, and definite glimpses of promise, but I can’t say that I was ever wow’d by anything I saw in the demo. But then again, this was just that, a demo, and I’m still hopeful that the full thing will deliver once it releases this fall.