First Impressions: Mad Max – Explore the Wasteland, Throw Your Controller

First Impressions: Mad Max – Explore the Wasteland, Throw Your Controller

At a little less than two hours into Mad Max, early impressions are a bit of a mixed bag. The wasteland is big and beautiful with tons to explore and enemy strongholds to raid. Despite not being the most visually polished game, kicking up sand in your custom-built and upgradable Magnum Opus, charging into enemy convoys and braving city-sized sand storms is exhilarating.

Speaking of exhilarating, melee combat is a real standout – as has been showcased in nearly every promotional video for Mad Max – but suffers serious button-mapping issues. Like last year’s Shadow of Mordor, Mad Max borrows freely from the Batman: Arkham series’ apparently-not-patented brand of free-flowing punch-and-counter fisticuffs… with a few weird alterations.

The shotgun is treated more like a gadget in Max’s arsenal rather than a weapon – similar to Batman’s electric charge or glue grenade. So, rather than left trigger aiming max down the sights and right trigger pulling the trigger, the “B” button (we played with a 360 controller) produces a mid-combo quick-fire and left bumper serves to alternatively aim Max’s sights down the barrel. It’s an odd choice but it’s manageable. What’s far more confounding is the decision to make the “A” button a context-sensitive jack-of-all-trades. “A” to pick up gasoline canister, “A” to drop said canister, “A” to climb ladder. So… good luck climbing that ladder without accidentally dropping that gas canister first. Over and over again.


I’m still waiting for Mad Max to truly grab me the way Shadow of Mordor or the Arkham series did, but I find myself compelled to deliver my own mad method of road rage across this dusty wasteland. Ugh, that just makes me sound like a first-year Destiny fan…

Check out our first hour with the game:

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