Faulty Valve Replacement
Happy Weekend TAY!
I hope everyone is having a great weekend. We are getting a cold blast of weather here, but I think the threat of snow has passed. It has been a weird spring with one day in shorts and the next in a winter coat.
I had another full week of “real life” but managed to find some time to pick at Mad Max here and there.
Mad Max is on a very small list of games that have “native” Steam controller support. Frankly, if this is what native support is, then maybe Valve should quit while it is ahead.
To be fair, I’ve read that the Steam Controller support may have worked better when Avalanche Studios first added support for it to Mad Max . I don’t know if that is actually the case, but it certainly sucks now. The controller works right away with the game but as you start to play, you see what a mess it is. The default config will not allow you to move Max in a direction and move the camera around at the same time. This is of course ridiculous; playing a third person action game and not being able to rotate the camera while moving is unacceptable and the gameplay was not at all designed with this in mind. You can fix this by telling the Steam Controller to emulate a joystick for the right haptic pad, thus pretending to be the right stick on an Xbox 360 controller. But this isn’t a great solution. The haptic pad in this mode never feels as good as an actual joystick on the 360/XB1 controller.
I fiddled with Mad Max and the Steam Controller for a couple hours looking at different user made configs for the controller and fiddling with the settings myself. Nothing felt nearly as good as the simple camera control on the XB1 controller. Add to this the bigger buttons on the XB1 controller and the awesome rumble and I can’t see why one would suffer through Mad Max on a Steam Controller.
Maybe I’m not playing the right games or possibly my setup on the couch is just not making a Steam Controller a necessity. I have wonderful use of my mouse and keyboard (well, mouse and Logitech G13) on the sofa. Then I have my excellent XB1 controller, so maybe I just don’t have a need for the Steam Controller...it certainly feels that way.
I think Valve has really dropped the ball by not releasing new games themselves that show off the power of the Steam Controller. Something that makes me want to use the Steam Controller over a mouse/keyboard or a 360/XB1/PS4 controller. So far the Steam Controller is a failed experiment for me. Hopefully I’ll find that magic game for it in the future.
Once back on the Xbox One controller, Mad Max was a ton of fun. The game is amazing, though I have to qualify that with a very big BUT and unlike Sir Mix-A-Lot, I don’t like big buts (at least if they pertain to my video games).
The big but is that Mad Max is just way too damn easy!
I love the whole packaging of the game. The visuals are breathtaking; this is likely the best looking “wasteland” I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing in. The audio is fantastic and has some wonderful touches like realistic echoes that are based on distance to objects.
The gameplay itself is so much fun. The car combat and handling are well done, though the car is a little too agile at times. However, I think the tradeoff is that I have yet to get the car stuck anywhere.
I enjoy Max’s fighting skills which remind me of Batman from the Arkham games without all the jumping and flipping. Also, the level design for the outposts and fortresses has been exceptional so far and makes hunting for all those collectables a complete pleasure.
Really it is everything I could want from a Mad Max game. Using Avalanche’s engine that was developed for the Just Cause series, even the performance is outstanding.
Then there is the big BUT that rears its ugly head. The game is pathetically paced for keeping the story progression inline with character advancement. Unless you went from only story mission to story mission, you quickly end up with most of the upgrades within the first half of the map. I’m still in that first half and I’m almost maxed out for upgrades that aren’t locked to story missions (and there aren’t many of those).
The game makes you feel like you should be doing all the side-missions. Doing so in each section of the map reduces the threats and allows for upgrading the few strongholds that act as your “bases”. There is a complete and utter failure in the reward system balancing if you start doing side-missions as you travel along, you simply gain way too much way too quickly. It would be an awful shame to not do the side missions as it is the exploration and level design that are much of the real meat of this game.
It is sad though, I never want for anything. I’m rolling in cash, there is so much fuel that I’ve NEVER run out of fuel for my car, there is water and food everywhere I turn, and ammo seems to grow like weeds. On top of all that I have a car that never actually blows up and has a ride-along mechanic which fixes the car when stopped for free.
Mad Max desperately needed a hardcore mode. With no difficulty settings I feel they skewed way too casual. I can think of a bajillion ways a hardcore mode could have been implemented without having to change anything fundamental. Way less loot, much more experience for leveling up your character, and charging scrap for all car repairs would be just a small start.
As it stands, I am already a god in the game. I fear no one and I want for nothing. This is obviously completely at odds with how life should be in Max’s world. You should fear almost everything and desperately want for meager scraps and thimblefuls of gasoline.
It is a real shame. I am truly enjoying the game, but it could have been on a whole other level of gaming if it was balanced for survival in a much more realistic way to mirror life in the movies.
Oh well, it is just so much fun I won’t be giving it up anytime soon. Still though, I’d pay a good chunk of cash for a hardcore mode for this game. Avalanche Studios really missed out on making a truly great game here. Though, maybe it was actually Warner Bros. as I have the same issue with Shadow Of Mordor being way too easy as well.
So, I have a lot of yard work this weekend that may not happen since the weather is supposed to be crappy. Likely more Mad Max for me and if my son gets over his cold then it will be Rock Band for the family.
What are you playing this weekend?