Mad Max has a harder grip on me than I have on the controller. I just don’t know why.
I’ve played a lot of games this year – some for longer than others – but there has only been a handful of games that have kept me wrapped around their finger as tight as Mad Max.
My expectations for the game prior to the release were nonexistent. As review scores popped up, they ranged from sixes to nines, calling the game everything from ‘bland’ to ‘phenomenal.’ I wouldn’t place myself in either of those camps, but that hasn’t stopped me from spending hours upon hours inside of its world.
That world isn’t particularly interesting (it is the apocalypse in the desert after all), the story doesn’t ever really captivate you, and the game is terribly repetitive in its tasks and its side quests. There are a multitude of other open world games released within the past year that have succeeded in the places where Mad Max fails.
But what Mad Max does right is create addictive gameplay that makes a few hours pass by like mere minutes. The entire game is a completionist’s dream.
Each region of the game comes with a list of tasks to complete for that area: defeat snipers, destroy scarecrows, or find and eliminate convoys. The more you do, the more scrap you earn (as the game’s currency) and the more you can upgrade both Max as a character and the Magnum Opus, the car you use to traverse and battle through the wasteland.
The (surprisingly) large map offers a clear list of how many of each task are left to find and conquer in that particular region and reveals a green check mark when its fully finished, which is a sight of beauty for completionists everywhere.
I love The Witcher 3, but as a completionist, the game became overwhelming, and it’s next to impossible to keep up with all there is to do as it verges on daunting. Mad Max makes it clear and easy to know what I do and don’t have to do, and I love that.
Beyond just these tasks, there are hundreds of challenges included in the game that are checked off as you complete certain tasks: eat five cans of dog food, destroy 20 enemies with the car, complete 10 camps to 100%. As more are completed, Max levels up at a pretty steady rate, creating those “just one more” moments that result in you somehow staying up til 2 a.m., wondering what it is you even got accomplished.
It’s this back and forth and rinse and repeat that have been Mad Max’s greatest gift and its biggest downfall. I don’t particularly enjoy the tasks that I’m doing while I am doing them, but the feeling of conquering an area, seeing it turn green, and moving onto the next one is a feeling that doesn’t seem to ever stop. And maybe I don’t want it to.
This is not a review. You can read our entire review for Mad Max here.