Is Mad Max the Wasteland Match for Fallout 4?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Is Mad Max the Wasteland Match for Fallout 4?

With Labor Day weekend now one for the books, I can safely talk about how I spent a healthy dollop of it. Indeed, with September 1 recently arriving, so too did "Mad Max" arrive, and give us our first look at a wasteland that didn't have the word "Fallout" attached to it. But how did it turn out? Will it be anything against the might of the "Fallout" juggernaut? The answer? More complex than expected.

First, I certainly did enjoy my time in the wasteland of "Mad Max," even when I discovered I could only drive the car from the rightmost front seat, which really should have been the passenger seat. But bombing around the desert waste--which was apparently formerly a seabed and occasional port communities given what I could piece together--was surprisingly compelling, and led me to put quite a few hours into it.

I admit that, toward the end of the first couple of days, it was starting to get a bit old. The dynamics were shockingly similar most anywhere I went: drive here, punch them, occasionally shoot things. Some things just didn't make sense, at least in the beginning. If I already jammed a short chainsaw into Scabrous Scrotus' skull, why am I bothering taking down his various insignia? Who's going to follow the guy with the chainsaw in his skull? Even if he survived it--and I admit it would be a Jason Voorhees-level feat to survive woodcutting equipment to the cranium--wouldn't you rather follow the guy who performed the insertion, rather than the now-clearly brain-damaged monstrousity that could actually survive that kind of thing? And the ending--now publicly available on YouTube--is the saddest sort of cheat I've seen in quite some time.

However, there is no denying that the game is fun. Driving around at breakneck speeds, firing missiles into those cars that offend you in some way whilst traveling the sandy was fun. And frankly, I may well come back. But as open world wasteland games go, it's a good thing this came out when it did.

Why? Because if it had come out any time after November 10, it would have been swallowed whole by "Fallout 4." Seriously, as fun as "Mad Max" was, it was basically two games: one huge driving game, and one very tiny punching game. Both are fun, of course, but there's absolutely nothing to hold a candle to the sheer level of variety we're set to see in "Fallout 4". Now, if I could have built settlements out of ruins in the wastes, customized my car's weapons to the point that it would have made the car from "Spy Hunter" look like a sad little joke by comparison and just in general done a whole lot more, then it would have been a serious "Fallout 4" contender. Now, it's an appetizer.

That's not to take anything away from "Mad Max." It was, indeed, fun. Sufficiently fun that it took most of my Labor Day weekend and I was not at all unhappy about this. The history relics added a nifty component to things, and made it shockingly worthwhile to add one more Macguffin-driven fetch quest to the game. It was a great game, but a great game that will be all but forgotten when "Fallout 4" hits and wipes the floor with it.

Still, for a while, it will make a fine evening's gaming session, or a marathon weekend run. With summer on the wane and the buttoning-up needs of fall to be seen to, we'll be able to get properly ready for late fall and "Fallout 4." But in the meantime, we'll have Max, and a few others, to keep us company until then.

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