Mad Max ReviewGuest_Jim_* -
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As I said in the Introduction, I have some familiarity with the Mad Max franchise, but have never seen any of the movies it contains. My familiarity basically just covers the post-apocalyptic, water-starved setting along with the obsession with vehicles. That is something you learn in the game pretty quick, so it is effectively meaningless, what I came in with.
I already covered the immediate opening moments of the game, which are followed by the tutorial when you first meet Chumbucket. He is the hunchbacked, black-finger who is not exactly obsessed with cars. They are his religion, so 'obsessed' does not quite cover his devotion to them, especially the Magum Opus, which he also refers to as his Angel Combustion. You he often calls Saint, because you are the driver of the Magnum Opus. Whenever you are with the Magnum Opus, he is there. When you are driving it, he is in the back, operating the harpoon or Thunderpoon.
Another companion you have with you a decent amount, but really not all that much, is Dog. He actually was Scrotus' dog, but after he failed to kill you, Scrotus threw him from the moving vehicle and you then rescued each other. The dog is only with you when you drive around in Chum's Buggy and is only useful for finding mine fields and disabling the mines he also reveals.
Once you have met Chum and Dog is recovering from his injuries, one of your first missions will be to get a body for the Magnum Opus. While you only get to pick one at this time, every body can be found and recovered in the wasteland later on. Shortly after this, Chum's place is raided by Scrotus' warboys, forcing you to flee and find other means of collecting the items required to finish upgrading your new car. This is what leads you to seek out and help the different regional leaders of the Wasteland. In total you encounter four who do not want you dead. Scrotus would be the fifth, but you all you ever do is fight him, so not fair to count him here. Each of these leaders has their own stronghold, missions, and views. I am not sure if there is any risk in not helping them with non-story missions.
Eventually you will also come to meet Hope and her daughter Glory. This basically covers the cast of characters, except for the curious Griffa. This person appears to be a wanderer who knows a great deal about Max, his past, and what he keeps buried. Throughout the game Max's loneliness and desire to remain alone is somewhat prominent. Griffa often challenges this, trying to get Max to admit that ending his loneliness will also end much of the pain he is trying to escape by crossing the Plains of Silence. As one of Chum's comments suggests (and some of the developers mentioned on a stream I watched) it is entirely possible that Griffa is actually a figment of Max's mind because no other character ever interacts with him or makes mention of him. Also markings that are on the rocks around him vanish when he disappears.
While the other characters are present in the story as one would expect for their roles, Griffa is significantly different. You go to visit him when you acquire Griffa tokens by increasing your legend. After a conversation, he blows a powdered drug into your face to unlock what you have buried inside of you. This then brings up a menu where you can spend the tokens to improve different stats, like your maximum health. Once you max out these stats, you will never see Griffa again, so his commentary on Max comes to a somewhat abrupt end.
Except for one thing concerning the end of the story, so I will not mention it for fear of spoilers, the story of Mad Max is fairly simple, which is fine. It does not need to be any more complex than it is, which is you are on a singular mission to cross the Plains of Silence, and to do that you need help from different people, so you help them and kill those you need to. Fairly standard video game stuff.
One issue I do have with how the story is told is that there are many times when it seems like you could have a choice for what to do. When you encounter some wanderers in the wasteland, they will ask you not to kill them, and say they will give you half of the scrap they are digging up if you help them. One time the wanderer even suggested that if Max kills them, then he could get all of the scrap, but despite that, you never get the option to kill him, or any of them. There are several other points when Max is presented with a decision and he makes it instead of you. Perhaps I am just too used to having morality systems in games today that are opportunities to feel like they need to have one. You can decide how that makes you feel, although I will say that it is disconnecting to a point to not be able to make these decisions.