Mad Max: The Road Warrior

The number of genuinely great games based on movies is infamously small; for every GoldenEye or Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay there are a dozen lazy licensed tie-ins. You would hopefully have forgiven our initial cynicism, then, when we first heard that Warner Bros. had commissioned a Mad Max game to coincide with this year’s belated fourth film in the franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road. That feeling only lasted, however, until we learned that Avalanche Studios, the team behind the brilliantly anarchic Just Cause franchise, was applying its talents to Mad Max . Then we saw the first gameplay trailer.


Set in the same parched, oil-drained future landscape as the movies, Avalanche’s Mad Max takes the form of an open-world action adventure. Beaten up and stripped of your possessions, your aim is to survive in the desert (either by eating dog food, bits of corpse or whatever else you can find lying around) and build your cache of weapons and armour back up before, ultimately, getting behind the wheel of a ramshackle car. You’ll meet a variety of rival tribes and crazed warlords some relatively friendly and willing to trade with you, most completely psychotic. You can combat the latter in bruising fist-fights, shoot-outs or, better yet, highs-speed inter-vehicle fights on lonely wilderness roads.
The creators of the Just Cause series apply their sandbox experience to the Mad Max universe, and the results look highly promising
Mad Max doesn’t necessarily offer us much that we haven’t seen in other sandbox games its missions and pastimes seem very much akin to the sorts of things we’ve seen in games like Batman: Arkham City and Shadows Of Mordor but it all seems to have been put together with real polish and affection for the films on which it’s based. There’s even a teasing reference to the Thunder Dome from Mad
Max 3 . The game doesn’t look like a lazily reskinned Just Cause, either; while the car battles look pleasingly explosive, the absurd physics of the Just Cause franchise appears to be absent.

What could potentially set Mad Max apart from other open world games is the relationship between players and their vehicles. You can use the car to tow other vehicles or drag the metal covers off secret entrances, and you’ll have to find fuel to keep your engine running. With the desert being such a harsh place when you’re stuck without a vehicle, we can imagine your car becoming a valued sidekick not unlike your horse in the classic console game, Shadow Of The Colossus.

So while Mad Max isn’t the biggest release of 2015 Star Wars: Battlefront and Black Ops III are the major headline grabbers so far this year it’s immediately become one of our most anticipated, and we keenly await its appearance on September 4th.

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On 26th April, the Call Of Duty marketing convoy officially rolled out of the garage, as the first reveal trailer for Black Ops III made its grand debut. Treyarch have been afforded an unusual amount of development time to create their latest sequel; by the time Black Ops III arrives in November, it’ll have been in the works for three years. At first glance, it doesn’t necessarily look as though the studio’s used that time to come up with anything especially revolutionary; there’s a zombie mode, the futuristic setting of Advanced Warfare’s back with a vengeance, and there’s all the gunplay and explosions you might expect.

What Black Ops III does introduce, however, is more speed and agility. Seemingly inspired by the underrated Japanese shooter, Vanquish, Treyarch’s sequel straps a thruster pack to the back of each player, which allows them to power slide across the ground and run up walls. The result, it seems, is a movement system with some of the speed of Advanced Warfare, but with more control and less hurtling through the air.

Black Ops III also switches things up a bit by introducing four different characters, selectable at the start of each multiplayer bout like a MOBA. There’s a character named Seraph who wields a gun with armour-piercing rounds. Ruin can jump up in the air and land on enemies with his Gravity Spikes. Outrider has a bow and x-ray vision. Reaper, the most outlandish creation, is a robot with a mini-gun for an arm and a time-travel ability.

The aim, it seems, is to make a Call Of Duty game that appeals to people other than the series’ other die-hard fans; the introduction of two female player characters and all-the-rage MOBA elements could be proof of that. Will Treyarch’s shooter succeed in being all things to all gamers? Time will tell, though it’s fascinating to think just how far the series has evolved from its WWII shooter roots.

Call Of Duty: Black Ops III is out on 6th November.

Incoming
Indie publisher Devolver Digital’s carving out a niche with its quirky and often violent games. And to add to the likes of Hotline Miami and pigeon dating simulator Hatoful Boyfriend, along comes the frenzied platform cover shooter, Not A Hero . The story’s utterly bizarre something to do with a purple rabbit who plans to become mayor by shooting all the bad guys in a crime-ridden city but the action itself is sublime. You run around a string of warehouses and office buildings, kicking in doors, jumping through windows and gunning down goons. There’s a real flow and agility to the gameplay, with your little pixelated hero able to take cover behind bits of scenery, slide along the ground to avoid bullets and knock over bad guys at a manic pace; imagine the addictive speed of Hotline Miami mixed with the perspective of the indie stealth game Gunpoint , and you’ll get the gist of Not A Hero ’s style. There’s a demo available from www.theujipparty.org, while the full game’s out on Steam from 7th May.

Telltale Inks Deal With Marvel
We’re not sure where Telltale gets the energy from. The Californian purveyor of episodic adventure games, Telltale has recently announced lucrative deals with Lionsgate (to make a videogame-TV show hybrid) and Mojang (to make a Minecraft: Story Mode series). Now Telltale’s joining forces with Marvel Entertainment to make a further string of games, set for 2017. Having already made hit series like Game Of Thrones , The Walking Dead and Tales From The Borderlands , Telltale’s going to be extremely busy over the next couple of years.

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