I’ve decided to talk about Mad Max once again. Last time, we covered a fan theory regarding Mad Max: Fury Road, which could legitimately be considered one of the best movies of the last 20 years.
Small side track, if I may take this rare opportunity to gush about a movie for a moment, I personally consider Fury Road about as close to a perfect movie you can get. The story is simple, but extremely well told, the characters are interesting and overall, the movie is amazingly well-made. You can tell that the people behind it knew what they were doing and were dedicated to doing it well.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I cannot recommend it enough.
Now, with the random gushing done with, let’s move onto today’s subject. This article concerns the 2015 video game Mad Max. This is a very good game, letting you (as Max) explore the vast desert wasteland left behind from the end of the world.
The reason I am writing about it is that, as I have often made clear, no game is perfect. It’s an inescapable fact of games. Now, I should clarify that the game is not bad. Like I said, it’s very good, but there are minor issues with it that stand out to me.
So let’s get started. Beware of spoilers.
My first issue is a matter of programming. The game has a story, of course, which has you travelling across the wasteland, together with a hunchbacked mechanic named Chumbucket, who believes you to be the “Saint” of his god, the Angel Combustion. Together, you work to finish his life’s work, the “Magnum Opus”, a custom built car meant to replace your lost car, the iconic Interceptor.
Over the course of the story, you also come across side characters, most notably the concubine Hope and her daughter Glory. Both become a focus of the story, since they remind Max of his own wife and child, and how he failed to protect them.
You also face off against the mad warlord Scaborus Scrotus, son of Immortan Joe, the main antagonist from Fury Road.
The story actually takes elements from all four movies and blend them, creating a kind of microcosm of the movies.
But I’m getting off track. What is my issue with the story?
It’s actually the same problem I have with the legendary ships in Assassin’s Creed IV and Rogue. Namely that, despite giving you a detailed list of the story missions and the different objectives, as well as side quests, you cannot replay missions.
If you want to play a specific mission again, you have no choice but to start a new game. This is a bit of a shame to me, since some missions were really fun, but others, not so much. I wouldn’t mind replaying the final mission again, but that means playing through everything from the beginning.
If you had the option to replay the missions, you could add a medal system, maybe additional optional objectives and earn extra scrap rewards. As it is, the big list of story missions serves absolutely no purpose other than remind you that “Hey, this mission was fun, but you have to do these tedious things if you want to do it again”.
My other issue with the game concerns the “Top Dogs”, Scrotus’ war chiefs. The individual Top Dogs are actually granted their own Bio entries, which is reserved for unique characters such as Max, Hope, Chumbucket, Pink Eye or Scrotus.
So what’s the problem?
The Top Dogs are ALL THE SAME!
The ONLY thing that sets them apart is what paint they’re covered in. Beyond that, they’re the same hulking goon, carrying the same mace-like weapon and the same leather bondage gear.
And I’m sorry, but that is fucking BORING!
They made the effort to give each Top Dog his own bio, his own weaknesses and quirks. One is a eunuch, another is almost impervious to pain thanks to his addiction to inhalants and yet another likes to slice people open and use their guts as makeshift nooses.
Does anything about them reflect these traits? No, they don’t.
So what was the fucking point of giving them unique bios?!
If you’re going to go the route with unique Top Dogs, don’t just half ass it. Fucking go with it! You have the Bio, so use that as a starting point for the design. One top dog is described as having earned his name “Pig’N’Sticker” from torturing people with a big knife.
SO AT LEAST GIVE HIM A BIG KNIFE, INSTEAD OF THE SAME FUCKING MACE AS THE OTHERS!
That way, fighting them feels more unique and special! Instead, we get the same animation for all of them, disguised by the fact that their masks mean you’re not showing their mouths! Same thing with their death animations!
If you’re not going to care about them, I’d rather you didn’t put them in the game at all. It’s not like they’re critical to the plot! The only purpose they serve is to unlock paint jobs. Does that really warrant a unique boss fight? Why not just have you search for it, or maybe win it in Death Runs, or scavenge it in special location, as you do with the car bodies?
And if you MUST have the whole big goon fight, then just don’t bother with the unique bios. There aren’t unique characters bios or fight scenes for the equivalent Top Dogs from other factions, so why bother with Scrotus’ goons?
Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got. My other issues are small and barely worth mentioning. Overall, it’s a good game, and I don’t regret playing it. One massive positive I will give to the game is that once you finish the game, you’re not only rewarded with the Interceptor, but also Max’s iconic apparel and shotgun, which offers the highest defence and damage in the game. That is a very nice detail, which means that there is no drawback to wearing the iconic stuff.
So that is the Mad Max video game. If they ever make a sequel, here’s hoping that A: you can replay missions and B: You can build and drive the Gigahorse.