Some great vehicle combat and a huge open world make up for the lack of Aussie accent.
By Patrick Stafford on June 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm
When an open-world Mad Max game was teased last week (watch the trailer here), the Australian journalists wondered among themselves whether the game’s main character would actually feature an Aussie accent.
There’s no real surprise here: no. He doesn’t. Mad Max has a grizzled, American tone. Thankfully, it was the only real disappointment of a behind-the-scenes demo shown to games.on.net on the E3 show floor.
Creative director Frank Rooke showed off the gameplay to us, although kept much of the story under wraps. The game is focused on having the player build and “ultimate war machine”, called the Magnum Opus. Yes, it’s a car.
In fact, car-based combat makes up a large portion of the game’s battles. Rooke was keen to point out this is a physics based system, “so the player does not use or rely on animations to do what they need to do”.
As a result, each car-based battle will play out differently each time. One particular skirmish we saw featured the player attempting to take down a convoy. Along the way, he was able to use a shotgun to shoot drivers out of their cars, or use a harpoon to rip off tires and force them into the dust. It was lovely.
This is an open-world game, and the map is huge. A quick glance at the map screen showed a massive world reminiscent of Red Dead Redemption, although Rooke wasn’t revealing any world comparisons. However, this is Avalanche, the team behind Just Cause. One would expect a sizeable in-game world, and Rooke did say the game will feature “hundreds” of random encounters.
Due to most major combat sessions occurring in cars, upgrading your transport is a major feature of the game. We were shown different ways to add new bumpers, tires or other features, all of which will affect the physical properties of the car — add a heavier grill, you’ll drive slower.
But not everything is done on the road. “Max is a capable fighter by himself,” Rooke said, showing off a brutal melee combat system. There are plenty of knife slashes and punches, along with some interesting combat tools. One in particular, the “stunner stick”, is used to stab an enemy, then explodes a few seconds later.
Like any decent open-world game, the player is given plenty of autonomy. One particular mission in the demo saw the player given the task of infiltrating a guarded area. Max scouted the area, then used a sniper rifle to take out enemies one by one. However, as Rooke pointed out, Max was free to roam the area and find the best way to go about his mission. While there isn’t a lot of stealth gameplay, he was able to sneak up on an outpost, kill some enemies silently and then snipe the base from a higher position.
As with most games at E3, it’s difficult to tell how polished they are or even predict how they will play when released. But given what we’ve seen, Mad Max is shaping up nicely to be an excellent on-road adventure. The car combat sets it apart from other games of its ilk – if that works, there could be enough here for a very decent game indeed.