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When you’re first dropped into the world of Mad Max’s E3 demo, Avalanche Studios don’t make any apologies for leaving you in a harsh and barren world that’s every bit as hostile as the one in the original films felt.

As Max, you’ve got only one objective in this game, survive. In order to do this you’ll need to build the ultimate apocalypse perseverance vehicle, the Magnum Opus.  When you begin the game you’ll be rebuilding your version of the iconic car piece-by-piece as you defeat enemies, salvage scrap, and destroy marauder vehicles.

During our invited hands on session, we were given the option of testing the game’s on foot combat missions or what we really all came to see, vehicular mayhem. As the demo began a rusted halfway constructed vehicle begs to tear up the waterless surface of the the desolate planet. The only thing it needs is an engine. In this game there’s no vendors or shop to buy parts from. You will fight for everything! Five seconds into the demo I was fighting a gang of three marauders in brutal hand-to-hand combat that had me finish off one of these thugs by blowing a hole through one of them — barrel to chest–.

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Once I picked up the engine they guarded and somehow magically lifted it into the car single handedly; my mechanic and I were off. For the demo our single mission objective was to acquire a better V8 engine for the car by destroying a boss vehicle in convoy, but before you can fight it you’ll have to catch up with it. Fortunately, your vehicle is equipped with boost and special weapons for combat.

After catching up to the convoy the real mayhem commences. If you took the vehicular combat of a Twisted Metal and poured it into the open world of GTA, you’d only begin to describe what went down in this battle. Once you begin the attack, the shield cars will pull out all the stops in order to keep you from your objective. The enemy AI in vehicle combat is relentless. Even when the cars managed to knock me off they continued a brutal tactical assault. Max isn’t defenseless, his car has different ways of taking down vehicles and even combining attacks yields different satisfying effects. He can hop in the back of the car and use a sniper rifle to shoot at the enemy vehicle or the driver. If controlling the car and aiming a gun prove to challenging there’s always good old fashion smashing. In addition to building a vehicle, you’ll be able to customize it with heavy armor, spiked grills, tires, and custom paint jobs to name a few things. Maybe he’ll get an iPod connection, who knows the possibilities feel vast.

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The most satisfying part of vehicle combat was the ability to target specific parts of enemy cars with a harpoon. You can rip off a door or take out a tire with it. If you’ve got the targeting chops, you can even yank another driver out of their own car. Getting the hang of all this requires a bit of a learning curve so we took down the lead car by smashing it into a mountain.

Once that was over and we had five minutes in the open world, it was time to take in the beauty of this post-apocalyptic land. There’s no cities, no gorgeous landmarks; it’s drab, vast, and you’ll see familiar unfriendly compounds. In short it’s Mad Max!

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Don’t expect this game to have connections to the recent Mad Max: Fury Road film. This game has been in production on its own path, one that resonates everything we love about the original movies. There could be room for Fury Road content later on but for now the group is focused on perfecting their own story that’s Avalanche Studios love letter to the original classics.

Mad Max the game releases on PS4, Xbox One, and PC this September. You can find more on the game’s official website hereMadMax_WarboysinPursuitofMagnumOpus_0413_1155_026_1434451110.

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