Unfortunately, the release of Mad Max by Warner Bros. on September 1st 2015 was utterly eclipsed by Hideo Kojimas incomplete MGS 5. "What fuck-wits were responsible for slating the release date for this game?" I caught myself muttering after picking up copies of both games the same day. Mad Max is by no means a terrible game at all, so which marketing muppet at Avalanche Studios felt it was a fantastic idea to directly compete with one of the biggest game franchises existing today?! I'm sure they no longer have a job now. Or maybe Warner Bros felt that the incredible hype from the film earlier in the summer would be a grand enough pedestal for the game to sit on top of- waving solid gold scepters indignantly at established IP.

I dipped my toes in the tepid and murky waters of Mad Max out of respect for the doomed release date before i sunk my teeth into MGS5 and ended up with some sort of food poisoning or stomach virus. So it had been a few months of neglect since i played it last and was anxious to give it some attention. It found its way back into the digital bowels of my PS4 and i have been absolutely enamored with one thing in particular.

Look at this fucking sky!

Point form review of the game below the screen caps.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on a summer's day, listening to the wind, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” 
― John Lubbock 

That goes doubly so for a simulated version of the horizon. I suppose the Devs felt that the barren wasteland needed something beautiful to contrast the hoplessness of a dystopia. But man did they ever outdo themselves. Every games sky from now on will be compared to this in my mind. Once you see something great its really hard to un-see it.

SO there i stood, which is something  i very seldom do in a game. Totally ignoring the mission prompts. Protesting the list of tasks before me to stare at this incredibly dynamic, show stopping sky Avalanche Studios has created. i left Max standing in one place and took screen caps every 5 min or so as i replied to emails over the course of about an hour and a half.

...and my view came to an extremely abrupt and violent end my friends.

Suddenly a 'mighty duster' tossed me like a cobb salad, to and fro. The car also landed onto of me.

I was attempting to not write a review of the game and simply show off some of the compelling eye candy it had to offer but i do have to share a few thoughts about the gameplay and the state of open world games lately. Point form i think would be appropriate here.

  • The game ties in with the film quite well. keeping certain themes while creating a stand alone story which is where most movie based games go wrong. Its been a long time since a video game/ movie crossover impressed me as much as Mad Max did.
  • There are War-boys and they do scream 'Valhalla' as they roll up on you. There are thundersticks and they are really fun to play with. Gas town is in the game as well.
  • i never felt without in the game. There were too many resources littered throughout the game. i always had water, Dinkie-D dog food, and gazzoline so the mechanic of looting and pillaging fell a bit flat since the scarcity of essentials is the primary theme of the franchise.
  • You'll do lots of driving and the cars feel awesome to handle. The customization and vehicle variety will keep you busy and hungry for upgrades. The trouble is the commerce system doesn't give you enough parts to upgrade much at all. You will find yourself a bit frustrated that you cant have the cool cars until you complete a lot of the mostly cookie-cutter side quests. 
  • The first person view in the vehicle is my favorite part of driving. Shooting a War-boy off the hood of your car with the shotgun from a first person perspective...fergetaboutit! The engine is roaring away and the dust is kicking up everywhere, when you aim your shotty you can barely see the barrel in view but its there! 
  • The major problem with open world games for me is the fetch questing. i know that's what most, if not all open world/ RPG games utilize and it would be very hard to subtract them entirely. But they all just feel the same to me and i've been loosing patience over the years, probably because they are the same. Fuck, our lives are a fetch quest so i understand the necessity. I would just like to see more variety and story behind the mundane tasks. That would require a lot more work but would hold any game that does this way higher and keep the audience captivated longer. Needles to say Mad Max suffers from this 'go fetch doggie' style. So i lost motivation to build my car collection because to get them you have to do the boring shit. Maybe have a few ways of approaching the commerce side of the game itself?
  • The narrative is kinda forgettable. 
  • The bosses in the strongholds throughout the wasteland are identical. Big dudes that look like Lord Humungus from 'The Road Warrior.' Pretty lame. Gives us no insentive as a gamer for variety.
  • All that i was really looking for is for Avalanche to capture the feel of Mad Max and they did an outstanding job of that. So i would endorse spending about 15hrs with the thing. If you saw Mad Max last summer and loved it youll really enjoy yourself.


Clearly, with games as large and involved as they are now, us older folks must pick and choose what to play and when- very carefully or else end up with an incredible museum of untouched Relics. Unfortunately, the idealist in most of us is merely a high pitched 'urkelish'  voice that we stamp out so we can continue purchasing games well never-ever finish. Have any of you ever played a game for 10 minutes just because you bought it and, maybe, feel guilty for not ever experiencing someone else's hard work that you paid for?

These choices can become strangely overwhelming. Buying the thing is the easy part. Getting excited about playing them is also the easy part. Scheduling in the time is the quasi challenging adulty part i don't think ill ever fully master.  But choosing something from the expanding library, well, it can be a bit of a motherfucker. Just the other night i had a half bottle of Whisky and some designated game time. I was ready to zone out and play something for a few hours. That didn't happen. In fact not much happened at all. I got the 'fear' you see. The enormous amount of choice before me caused a mental 'GAME OVER' for me before i even picked something out to play. Distantly i  swear i heard a slide whistle being slowly drawn out foir me and my sad attempt. I went through the backlog out loud. By myself. Which i seem to do often now.

This would not make me a happy man

This would not make me a happy man

In this case, on this particular evening i chose non-wisely.

"Metal Gear!?- Yeah, i'm only 10 main missions in. I should catch up a bit..Quiets boobs are awesome. WTF was Kojima thinking?...maybe..."

"Witcher 3?!- SURE! wait....where was i? I'm only 25 hrs in, i should really put in some time here. Nurture it a bit. Give it some attention But then ill run out of money or my sword will break or ill get distracted and start doing shit in the fuck it."

"Dont Starve Together?!- TOTALLY! Such an adorably charming little game, and my Bro just put a new computer together maybe i should call him? "In an hour you can  play!? Sure ill just play something else while i wait....maybe."

"Heroes of the Storm!?- Haven't really go into this yet, I've heard great things, like its a lazy mans DOTA. Built by the actual company that inspired it. Cool, i have not the time nor the patience to DOTA. But wait maybe i should finish....."

"Wolfenstein- Its been a while hasn't it Wolfy? Now where was i here, almost at the end. Right. The hard part and the reason i let you sit on the shelf for too long. Kind of like..."

"Hotline Miami 2- Hrm. Well- i don't know if i'm up for a super unforgiving, intense game. But a friend suggested 'Pillars of Eternity.' Oh shit, 50 bucks! Man, well maybe...But thats another time sink. Oh my bro just got back to me. He can't play."

Aaaaaand now i'm lost and somehow very confused. 

So over about 2 hours i didn't play anything for a variety of different reasons. Something I've notice recently, and its not only to do with games, is the incredible, unfathomable amount of choices we have now for any given item. If your shopping for mustard and your indecisive i pity you. There's like 50 different kinds of mustard out there! Usually i notice my wife trying to make an entree choice at a restaurant. We no longer visit the cheesecake factory for this very reason. She'll spend most of our time there reading through the bible of food and choose nothing. Or choose something thats just 'ok' and spend her meal feeling disappointed that she's missing out on everything else. It's a sickness, you see.  A fear of missing out or 'FOMO' which is a real thing that tends to creep on me with online games. I guess I was so worried about missing out on one particular experience that i chose exactly nothing to play. Under acute circumstances this is was a profound wake up call. PICK A GAME AND SHUT THE FUCK UP TRISTAN.  

At any given time I have about 12 games i really want to play. I'll complete maybe 6 games a year. So mostly i'm biding  my time until the next great game with arbitrary titles i have very little interest in. Out of pure habit i suppose. Maybe my friends are playing something online so ill jump in just for the social aspect and get a few laughs out of it (which is vital). But time is a fickle bitch and the best revenge, seemingly, is to get vigilant and only choose the games we really are interested in.



I think when i'm truly at my happiest with a game is when I've waited for a great one player experience to come out and just sit on the couch (still the best place to play games) and really tuck into it and see it through till the end; when the disk doesn't leave the console until its finished. All that's  important is that i get an enjoyable experience as a return for hours invested regardless of what could have been or what i could be playing instead.

I no longer find myself hunting for what i want to play. The more games we play the more defined our tastes become. That could be said for anything we spend quality time with. I know i love being scared, the methods may be cheap sometimes but i feel like i get my monies worth if my systolic blood pressure maintains a steady 150. I love a great story and atmosphere above all else. I'll dabble in online competitive gaming but i find i soon become frustrated and consumed with self doubt quite quickly. And the time involved to become better is just a chore for me now.  I gravitate towards a certain type of game, so i  read and research release dates for titles and publishers i respect and make very rudimentary plans about what order what game should be played in. If i have a choice of 5 games to play right now ill go straight for what i know and like vs something completely new. Which now that i think about it creates a very boring image of myself. 

First world problems right!? So choose wisely my friends, time is an diminishing investment. Don't settle for the mundane, be productive and challenge yourself until that next game you want comes out. Then call in sick, ignore your wife and have a drink, heck, have 2.