Mad Max‘s ground combat is more than little bit inspired by the Batman: Arkham series, but the car combat is a lot more original. Vehicle based fighting can be hit and miss in games at the best of time. Even Batman: Arkham Knight‘s very own Batmobile combat, while functional and competent, seemed to miss the point of the rest of the game. Mad Max on the other hand is all about the cars. There’s a pretty big variation on how you can deck your car out, and the world is purpose built to allow you to duke it out while hurtling down ruined motorways and tracks.
If you’re itching to get more of a handle on Mad Max’s unique car combat system, then I’ve assembled some basic tips and advice. Avalanche have done a great job at capturing the dirty desperation of the Mad Max series’ vehicle action sequences. For the most part it’s pretty satisfying, but there are some things it’s good to know about in advance so you can get used to it more quickly. These Mad Max Car Combat Tips should see you through, and help you and Chumbucket take on even the fiercest of war.
1. Don’t Oversteer
More of a general driving tip, but it can take a little while to get used to the handling in Mad Max, though it works very well once you do. Be wary of “oversteering” the car, or you may end up veering wildly out of control. Instead, trust the route you’re going, and simply nudge the car slightly to get it to turn. Kind of like driving a real car. A really big, heavily weaponized car.
2. Cars need drivers (and wheels)
Just as the Magnum Opus craves to have her Saint behind the wheel, so do the war machines of other Wastelanders. Even the strongest car is powerless with nobody to drive it. You can often take a shortcut to getting rid of a car by just taking out the driver. You can shoot him with the shotgun, or shoot him with the harpoon and quick pull him out (which is particularly satisfying). You can also use the harpoon to remove their wheels, which will also prove pretty disadvantageous for their car’s performance. In some cases you may need to pull away some armour to be able to get to them. Another option is to bait them out of the car by getting out yourself, and taking them in a fistfight, though this will not work if the car is following a route.
3. Harpoon Slam Attack
If the enemy is in front of you nothing is more satisfying than hooking the harpoon onto their rear bumper and boosting into them, providing you have the necessary harpoon upgrade. You will boost into their behind at speed, not only doing a pretty big slab of damage, but also helping you catch up with them or the pack.
4. T-Bone on approach
If you can see an enemy car from a distance and know you’re going to engage try to get off a nitro-boosted T-Bone on the approach, ramming into their side with as much fury as you can muster. This can devastate unarmoured cars pretty much right off the bat, and is especially useful at taking out stationary vehicles.
5. Ricochet slam when side-slamming in a pack
The side slam is a powerful move in your arsenal. It can be performed by even the most basic cars. Often enemy cars will get in position to do it to you, but if you can get one off first you can nip their offensive in the bud. If you are surrounded by enemies side-slamming one direction, and then the other, will provide you with a damage boost, performing the ricochet slam. This can be especially useful when dealing with convoys, and is a great way of turning their numerical advantage on its head.
6. Get grindin’
Grinding can easily be overlooked, but it’s actually one of the more powerful and versatile manoeuvres in your car’s arsenal. The Magnum Opus will require an upgrade to use. When you side-slam an enemy keep the buttons held down to lock into the enemy. Once the grinding has commenced stay right up to them to keep grinding away, tearing their health down, and shredding armour. With the higher upgrades you can make short work of many enemies just using this technique alone.
7. The Thunderpoon! Rip off armour, and blow it up!
My goodness. Such destruction. This will quickly replace the Shotgun in your general car combat use once you unlock it. Upgrading it properly will make it fast to reload, and able to devastate even the heavily armoured cars. It’s almost game breaking, but it’s such a core element of the game, especially later on, that you shouldn’t miss it. Best used in tandem with the harpoon – rip off armour, and blow it up!
8. If possible, keep moving
Nothing is worse than awkwardly circling one another, just slightly missing each other with nitro boosts. The Wasteland is pretty open for the most part, with long delicious stretches of road. As the convoys attest, car combat often works best when you’re both hurtling along at speed, and allows you more opportunity to take offensive action, from side rams, grinding, and your various projectiles. Keeping things moving will often make things easier.
9. You can survive out of the car
Sometimes you’re going to have to accept that you’ll need to bail. If your car gets beat up you have 5 seconds to get out of there before the thing explodes – try and decelerate somewhat and hold the button to exit the car to have Max roll out, taking a little bit of damage if the car is going too fast and taking a while to get back on his feet. But all isn’t lost. As Chumbucket fixes the car you can continue to hold your own.
It’s tempting to try and stick by the Magnum Opus for cover and a quick exit, and it’s true it’s a good tactic if you’re just trying to get away, but enemy cars won’t be shy to plow right into it, often sending it hurtling into Max’s body. If you’re going to use cover it’s best to use the environment. If there’s nothing around, try and keep an eye on the cars around you. You should be able to dodge roll out of the way of their charges if you leave it until they start to get close.
If you need to go mano y máquina the shotgun is your best, and really only, bet. If they have exposed fuel cans, dodge their charge, and then blow it up. If not, you may be able to take out their tires, or the driver, to be rid of danger. Alternatively, if you dodge enough the cars will usually stop, and the Wastelanders will get out to challenge you by mano y mano instead, which will help to even the odds.
10. Build the Cleanup Crew
This is more of a post-combat tip, but useful nevertheless. Destroyed cars often won’t drop a scrap reward that is too noteworthy, making getting out of the car to run over and pick them up a little irritating. Building the Cleanup crew for a territory’s Stronghold will mean they’ll automatically collect the scrap for you, giving you all the more reason to finish off that crumbling enemy car.