While everyone is roaming around one particular post-apocalyptic wasteland, I’ve been exploring another. Mad Max’s, to be specific. It might not be as absorbing as the wastes of Boston apparently are, but I’m having a pretty great time regardless. There’s just one thing that’s stumping me.

Why is no one talking about these sandstorms?

Really, these things are intense. Howling wind, scrap and sand slicing through the air, the raging elements fighting to tear control away from you; the chaos inside a sandstorm is one of the most heart-pumping experiences I’ve had in a video game. It kind of reminded me of the classic Bungie approach to the end of a Halo campaign, where you’re racing a Warthog through a gauntlet of explosions and enemy fire, except the whole thing is dynamic rather than scripted.

Just today, I came across an enemy convoy right as a storm swept in. Visibility immediately dropped to a couple of metres at best, pushing my reflexes to the limits as I made last-second turns to keep pace with the cargo I was chasing. Lightning sundered the sky and struck the ground around me, catching one of my enemies in its blast zone and turning the car into a flipping fireball. The buffeting wind slid underneath another of my prey, lifting the vehicle up, up, and tossing it into a cliff wall where it shattered like a ceramic jug. Debris tumbled towards me out of the impenetrable wall of sand, barely missing my Magnum Opus as I pulled a powerslide around a tight corner. Then, there: my target lay just ahead. I slammed the boost and pulled alongside the truck, fighting the shockwaves blasting out from more lightning strikes. My trusty pal Chumbucket braved the awful weather and clambered out the Opus’ back window, lining up the harpoon. Ready, aim, and… fire! The ‘poon pierced the back of the truck and stuck firm. I activated the quick release and out it ripped, taking chunks of armour with it and exposing the truck’s precious fuel tank. I switched to my shotgun, lined up my shot, and…

Boom! Another lightning strike splintered the truck’s frame and blew it into smithereens before I could pull the trigger. Oh well. It saved me a shell!

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Yeah, Mad Max sure is an open-world game

Instances like this have been the highlight of my time with Mad Max. The rest of the game is a competent, if unsurprising, open-world game, but I’m a sucker for a map full of goodies to collect. Still, the weather effects, the car combat, and the gorgeously arid wasteland all serve to distinguish it from the countless other games that fill the genre. Not that I imagine anyone is going to be lacking for games to play at the moment - what with Fallout, Assassin’s Creed, Battlefront, Tomb Raider, and still more to come before the year is out - but I’d still recommend giving Mad Max a go if you’re into the collect-and-upgrade formula. You never know, it might just surprise you.