(Pocket-lint) - Unveiled at last year's E3 expo, Mad Max the game was one of the titles we were most looking forward to playing this year. However, having seen Mad Max: Fury Road at the cinema we suspect the game will divide the critics in a similar way to that movie.
What do we mean by that? We found the movie offered more than its fair share of thrills, spills and explosions, but the ultimate plot was long and, well, just a bit boring (some will disagree). Having played Mad Max the game for 20-minutes we've loved the vehicle combat and blowing other cars to bits in a variety of ways, but the vast stretches of sand sometimes felt too long; an echo of the movie's plot perhaps?
For example, having run out of fuel towards the end of our demo - apparently nobody else was foolish enough to let this happen, whoops - we had to run around extensively over vast stretches of sand in search of a top-up. And while that has the potential for Fallout-esque fun in finding new loot, enemies and areas, the getting there part lacked the thrills.
So it's a good job the vehicle combat is fun, which is where the main core of the game exists, making up over 60 per cent of gameplay according to the reports. The mission we were thrown to required chasing down a lead vehicle, which is defended by a bunch of other roamers. The vehicle steering feels about right and the inclusion of a boost - which can be used three times, but auto-refills at pace - is an essential to speed through the sandscape to catch up. Taking shortcuts off the main roads makes sense otherwise, again, you might find chasing down a target is a little long.
Just like the Mad Max movie the car design in the game is exceptional, only in the game you get the added benefit of modding by finding and applying various additions. From armour and bigger engines, to weapons and shrine-like bonus items, through to a hot new lick of paint. You don't need to traipse around trying to find a garage either - it's all done out in the desert without delay.
We don't have full details of all weapons that will appear in the game, but saw a variety on offer in our demo. From side-blasting flame-throwers to smoke those vehicles to your sides, through to shotguns, cattle prod-style electrocution and (a probable favourite) a cable harpoon.
Yep, a harpoon. You can use it to aim at specific sections of enemies' vehicles - which happens in a bullet time slow-motion style - to rip off tyres, armour, or drag them to a halt around the side of a giant rock. Obviously by harping the other vehicle it sends your controls into slight mayhem, which caused us to career off the road into rough ground a number of times. Probably takes a bit of getting used to, this harpooning lark.
It's not all about vehicle combat though, as the drivers within will sometimes get out for a bit of fisticuffs. The combat is fairly brutal and not something we spent a great deal of time on, often retreating when cornered by a batch of badasses. You'll need to dash about on foot to hunt down loot, which is where others can catch you out if, say, they're hiding in a trailer.
There's an element of role-player to Mad Max, as is evident when loading the giant map. Settlements, loot spots and other areas or interest are marked out, which is easy to zoom in and out of and navigate. Fast travel is also possible to previously visited main locations, which will help cut out some unnecessary time, but isn't something we were able to test out in the demo.
Mad Max leaves us pondering whether it will be an awesome role-playing game with explosive vehicle combat or, and as we thought of the movie, a single-paced title with repetitious moments. Right now we don't know. We need to play it for hours to see whether its story takes hold and won't let go. But we get to find out on 25 September this year, so not long to wait fans.