Mad Max, Cheevos and me

I’m still playing Mad Max, that game I snagged during a sale back in June. I finished the ‘story’ a long time ago (on July 4th) but now I’m chasing Trophies.

I used to hate Achievements/Trophies (which, tongue firmly-in-cheek, I will refer to collectively as CHEEVOS from here on out). I felt like they were intrusive and as a gaming ‘purist’ I felt like you should play games because they’re fun, not to get some arbitrary bragging points. But I mellowed over the years and finally my buddy Talyn converted me to a CHEEVO fan.

In particular I appreciate them in open world games since so often you’ll finish the story and have a ton of content left untouched. CHEEVOS give that post-story playtime a bit of structure and a way to track what is left to do and even when you can finally say you’ve ‘finished’ a game. Now mind you I’ve NEVER gotten all the CHEEVOS in a full-sized game, though check back in 6 months and I should have them all in Microsoft Solitaire (I need 6 more Bronze medals and you can only earn 1/month).

In the case of Mad Max there was a TON left to do after the story finished. I’ve been vacillating between uninstalling the game and trophy hunting for a week or so, mostly because even after 3 weeks of play the game still makes me sick thanks to a camera that lags a little and adjusts itself constantly. Makes my head throbs and my stomach churn whenever I’m on-foot in an enclosed area. After the story was done one of the biggest goals I had left was taking out camps that had me, yup, on foot in enclosed areas. So on the one hand, my stomach said “Ditch it!.”

On the other hand, as a single-player title I feel like I COULD get all the CHEEVOS if I just stick with the game. I pretty much suck at playing games so almost any MP CHEEVO is out of reach because they expect me to not-suck. Mad Max’s CHEEVOS are more or less based on putting in lots of time with the game.

Last night I finished the last camp though, so from here to the 100% complete line is mostly car combat (by far the best part of the game) and clearing out a lot of little on-foot bits. But there are 190 of the latter! Damn that sounds like a job. I’m at 66% complete now, CHEEVO-wise but there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit I’ll be knocking out in the next day or two. Then we’ll see. In my mind I see myself getting all the CHEEVOS then uninstalling the game to free up some drive space.

I dunno how well Mad Max did but I hope they make another one and take into account feedback from the first game. They did a great job of capturing the feel of the Road Warrior movies when it comes to the car stuff and the setting. The first part of the game takes place in a desert that is actually the bottom of a sea that somehow drained, so its full of white salt dust and crazy coral formations that splinter wonderfully when you lose control and smash one. Tracking a convoy by following it’s dust cloud feels really authentic. Very fun.

But when you get out of the car things are less good. First there’re the camera issues, but then there’s the requirement that you go into hideouts and find a bunch of collectibles. That’s just tedious. The combat is pretty fun but gets super easy once you power up Max a bit. The boss fights are all very easy. They charge, you roll to avoid then punch them in the back a couple times and roll away. Repeat until they’re dead.

All-in-all I’d give the car parts an A and the on-foot parts a B-. I’d love to see a sequel that improves the weaker areas of the game while retaining the fun car combat.

Quickie, time sensitive post about Mad Max on PS4

This weekend I felt like I needed a break from The Elder Scrolls Online (it was starting to feel like a job rather than a game) and Sony is running one of their “Flash Sales” and have last year’s Mad Max on sale for $15, so I snagged it.

So far (3-4 hours in) I’m really enjoying it. It definitely captures the desperate, kind of insane feel of the Mad Max movies and it looks really good. You spend a lot of time in your car racing back and forth over desert roads. You can drive most anywhere but you’re much slower off-road. Combat tends to be “ram the other guy” at low levels since ammo is scarce. On foot combat tends to be fisticuffs for the same reason.

It’s one of these “open world but not really a sandbox” games, kind of like Assassin’s Creed. You have story missions that advance the plot but you can also go around doing lots of side missions and stuff. As you gain wealth and progress through the story you can upgrade both your character and his car.

It’s not perfect and you can tell it was rushed to meet some arbitrary deadline. For example you’ll come upon remnants of what was probably going to be a morality system. (NPC’s will say something like “You going to help me recover this scrap and we’ll split it, or are you going to kill me and take it all for yourself?” but you don’t actually make a choice, you just automatically go the good-guy route.) Probably scrapped in order to make a deadline. The controls are kind of odd at times too and they definitely could’ve used more polish and more customizability.

Anyway, I don’t have screenshots ready or anything but since it’s a Flash Sale I assume it ends Sunday night or Monday, so I just wanted to mention it. I’m certainly getting (have already gotten, really) $15 worth of fun out of this title and if you like the IP you probably will too. If you’re not a fan of Mad Max’s filthy, brutal world, though, maybe give it a pass.

I looked at ~gasp~ MetaCritic and it got pretty awful reviews but I haven’t read any of them to see why. All I can say is I’m having fun so far. Maybe it gets repetitive or something but again, for $15 I won’t feel bad if I never finish it. For now I gotta get back to playing…