Mad Max: Tips to Survive in The Wasteland

While Avalanche Studios’ Mad Max will feel somewhat familiar to those who have dabbled in the Batman Arkham series and/or Monolith’s Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, it still has a distinct identity and if you’re not careful you can miss a lot that can potentially make your progress throughout the wasteland a little bit easier. Here are some helpful tips, of which some I had to learn the hard way, that should help your experience with Mad Max quite a bit.

Always Have A Full Canteen
This might seem like an obvious tip, but early on in Mad Max it’s quite hard to manage your canteen’s contents as the areas you investigate and move through don’t really have a water supply embedded within them. Make it a priority, especially early on in the game, to always have your canteen filled before venturing out to do activities. Most of the more difficult camps and quite a lot of the scavenging locations will have a good supply of water to take while you’re there, but on the open road things are fairly barren and if you’re not careful you can fall victim to War Boys and their hostile nature fairly quickly.

Pay Attention to Max and the Magnum Opus’s Stats While Upgrading
Again, this might seem somewhat obvious – but when you start earning enough scrap to dabble in upgrading the Magnum Opus’s engine, its suspension, and everything around that, you can forget to keep track of the car’s stats and how each upgrade will affect how it runs. Upgrading your engine might entail a faster vehicle, but it will come at the cost of handling unless you upgrade your rims to handle the weight you’ve just added. It’s important to understand that each upgrade usually has a drawback with another element associated with the car, and it can really impact how it goes on the open road. Always keep an eye on your stats, and make a valued judgment when you upgrade the Opus later on in the game, as it can really mean life or death when you’re on the road.

While Max’s stats aren’t as imposing compared to that of the Magnum Opus, it’s still important to balance out your stats so that when you’re tasked with an on-foot mission (or a vehicle mission) you’re able to handle it without too much worry. Max’s stats don’t have drawbacks like the Opus’s do, so you’re quite free to upgrade him in any way you see fit. However, you’ll still be spending the same scrap that can be used to purchase vehicle upgrades, so it’s a good idea to keep the upgrades between both Max and the vehicle balanced.

Work On Fortifying Strongholds
Throughout Mad Max you’ll come across a couple of strongholds, not long after making your way to the first one you’ll notice that there’s an opportunity to fortify and upgrade it. In doing so, you’ll unlock benefits that pertain to that particular stronghold – whether it’s the automatic replenishing of your health, your canteen, your ammo or all of those combined, it’s absolutely worthwhile to take some time out of working on the main story to go out and get project parts that will let you build these small projects to aid your progress. I’d recommend doing this quite early on as it’ll give you a stronghold to come back to that will replenish everything, so the worry of going into a mission or a fight without supplies never really happens as you can fast travel back and forth.

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Don’t Rely on Heavy Attacks – Plan Your Approach
Those familiar with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and the Batman Arkham series will be fairly accustomed to the tried-and-true fighting formula implemented in Mad Max, although the counter and parry are a little bit more difficult to pull off when compared to the aforementioned games. When fighting you can tap X or Square and that will instigate small combos, otherwise you can hold the aforementioned button to instigate a more powerful wind-up attack. In doing the latter the chance of being hit is much more prevalent, as you don’t have the opportunity to block or parry an attack as Max is already winding up for a more powerful attack. This can be even more stressful when you’re fighting a swarm of eight to twelve enemies and having your chain and flow broken can certainly break any chance you have of taking them all out. In this case, it’s best to utilise the smaller punches, as it gives you a much bigger window to parry or block, even if you’re mid-swing. Because Max isn’t winding up for a punch, rather going for a small jab, the window of opportunity to block is much larger and when surrounded by a big group of enemies becomes ultimately more more useful.

It’s also worth noting that when you’ve levelled up Max fairly significantly there are two skills that can be purchased that will instigate reversals that will disarm an enemy and take their weapon, making the bigger fights less challenging. I’d also recommend upgrading the ‘Wrist Armour’ section on Max’s upgrade page as well, as you’ll take much less damage when parrying attacks.

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Dismantle As Many Camps as Possible
Scrap is your only currency in Mad Max, and while you can scavenge locations throughout the wasteland to find bits of it, it’s better for you to focus on dismantling camps instead. After dismantling a camp, whether it’s a Stank Gum Camp, an Oil Transfer Camp, or an Oil Pump Camp, you’ll receive scrap at regular intervals through the Ally Camps that set up there after dismantling a camp. Each camp dismantled adds 20 scrap to this number, so it’s absolutely worth your time–especially early on in the game–to work on taking out camps so you can get a regular income of scrap to use on upgrades. Sometimes there will be project parts within these locations that can be used to upgrade strongholds, too, and it’ll save you an extra trip later in the game.

While Mad Max edges on being one of the more difficult games in recent memory, especially for those who haven’t played the Arkham series or Shadow of Mordor, these tips should help you make good progress in the game and will hopefully stop you from getting too frustrated.

We’ll have a full review of Mad Max up later this week, but for my initial thoughts on the game’s first ten hours, check out my review in progress here.

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