Modern games have a way of coddling players—making them feel like they've conquered some insurmountable challenge, when in reality game developers have made titles so easy to jump into and beat that anyone with a synapse to spare can finish them in a weekend.
Self-replenishing health, adjustable difficulties midgame and charitable checkpoints have made beating a game not a question of skill, but a fait accompli. It seems like the folks behind Warner Bros. Interactive's Mad Max got tired of watching gamers flaunt their digital participation trophies and decided to create a title with one objective: to kill you—over and over again.
Set in a barren wasteland where scraps of food and puddles of water are as valuable as Apple stock, Mad Max is a game that completely captures the desperation of this sun-scorched hell on earth. Half-eaten corpses litter the roadways like parking meters, small wars are raged over the last drops of gasoline and cans of dog food are as beautiful a site as a strip mall Chipotle.
There are few people that care about your well-being in the Wasteland, and even fewer are out to give you a helping hand. It's important to learn these valuable life lessons before you wind up being dragged through the desert by a War Boy deathmobile, so we're here to make your stay in the Wasteland a little less miserable with these six survival tips.
Always Maximize Your Scraps
Scraps are the currency du jour in Max's Wasteland, so it's absolutely vital to pick up every last bit you find along the way. These scraps help you turn your Magnum Opus (Max's signature ride) into a merciless death-dealer on wheels, and they also serve to upgrade Max himself, by arming him with crushing melee moves and advanced armor.
It might sound tedious, but it's important to search every hallway, sub-dwelling and seemingly empty room in any camp or fortress you enter. You can miss out on dozens of pieces of scrap if you just casually stroll through these strongholds, as opposed to doing a clean sweep. Those missing scraps can be the difference between a souped-up war machine that can take on the Wasteland on its own or a bucket of bolts that is about as dangerous as a Volvo armed with a staple gun.
Scraps also come from pulling down scarecrows, destroying cars, killing bandits, populating fallen strongholds with allies and returning enemy vehicles to your hideouts along the way. Remember, once you destroy anything in the game, search to see if any scraps were dropped. It's not always fun, but grinding away collecting scraps will eventually make all the difference later in the game when you're lord of the Wasteland.
Keep An Eye On The Horizon
One of the most impressive graphical details in Mad Max is the glare from enemy sniper scopes across the Wasteland. This isn't a game that highlights every enemy location on your map right away, and most of the time you'll be driving through dunes and canyons pretty much blind, so scope glare is an essential tell for when you're in trouble.
A few shots can kill you in seconds, so if you see a scope shining over the horizon, get to safety—and if you're near the Magnum Opus, you'll be able to return sniper fire, once you get your gun from Jeet.
As a whole, Avalanche Studios did an impressive job with the draw distance in Mad Max, which makes spotting villains off in the distance much more realistic and satisfying. Instead of relying on radar, rely on your own eyes and your binoculars to scope out enemy camps, convoys, sniper nests and other hazards you'll run into along the way.
Always Have A Full Canteen And A Spare Gas Can
Water and fuel are the scourge of any piece of post-apocalyptic fiction, and things are no different here. Whenever you come across any water supply or gas can, stock up; even if you don't need them at the moment, you don't want to be stuck with no health and no gas in the middle of some desolate canyon as a trio of marauders are on your tail.
Having a full canteen of water is especially important before you enter any enemy stronghold, because chances are there won't be a drop in the house once you get inside. Your health won't regenerate while on the run in this game, so a canteen of water is absolutely vital when you know you'll run into trouble.
While gas might not seem as important (the Magnum Opus is actually more fuel-efficient than a Dodge), a spare can in the trunk can be a lifesaver whenever you approach a door or gate that needs a quick explosive to be opened.
Spend Your Griffa Tokens Wisely
In Mad Max, Griffa Tokens are used to upgrade your abilities—making survival in the Wasteland a bit more palatable. However, not all abilities are created equal, and it's important not to waste too many tokens on these lesser ones right away. For starters, stick with these four abilities before moving onto the others:
|• Longevity (increases maximum health)|
• Essence (allows you to collect more water)
• Volition (allows for more scrap to be looted)
• Munition (allows to collect more ammo when looting)
See a trend here? All those deal with health, ammo and scraps—three items that the Wasteland is maddeningly stingy with.
Don't Take On Too Much Too Soon
Mad Max is a vast, endless, sometimes torturous game to get through. Aside from the sheer size of the map, there are a seemingly endless amount of side objectives and quests—everything from camps to raid to convoys to destroy. Here's the thing: while it might be tempting to go in guns blazing to make a name for yourself, hold back until you're actually ready to do so.
Attacking a convoy head-on during the first few hours of the game is pretty much a death sentence. Your Magnum Opus won't be nearly ready to compete with that many enemy vehicles yet, and you'll wind up swarmed with War Boys and taking a rusty spike to the grill. Not a good way to start a mission.
The best course of action is to go along with some story missions for a few hours—at least until you meet Jeet—in order to get a handle on the Wasteland and have the proper gear and upgrades to actually go all Road Warrior on the opposition.
Unless it's the difference between life and death, success or failure, keep your shotgun in the holster. Ammo is simply too rare to waste on the common enemy, and if you grow dependent on letting the lead fly, you'll be spending most of your time searching for bullets instead of becoming capo of the Wasteland.
How do you compensate for a lack of gunplay? Build up your armor, maximize your health attributes, learn the ways of the melee weapon and upgrade your harpoon until you become the Captain Ahab of the Wasteland, slinging steel-pronged terror at every enemy vehicle you run across.