A lot of games have taken inspiration from the Batman Arkham series’ excellent combat, and Mad Max, also published by Warner Bros. is no exception. It has every reason to when the combat in those games is so satisfying. But, as with Arkham’s other imitators, it’s not quite as good as what you find in the Arkham games.
With that said, it’s hardly the worst imitator out there. Though it doesn’t reach the great heights of something like Sleeping Dogs that truly took that basis and made it its own, Mad Max does add its own quirks and twists on the basic combat. It’s a bit rawer and a bit dirtier, but in some ways that can kind of throw you off and make it hard to get a feel for the combat. Here’s my Mad Max ground combat tips to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting the most out of it and not getting kicked into that sandy, sandy wasteland dirt.
1. Make use of heavy strikes
Even your weaker Wastelander opponents will be able to take a fair beating if all you’re doing is tapping the attack button. Hold that puppy down to have Max unleash a stronger, heavy strike. Better yet, use it after landing a few weaker attacks to have Max’s strong attack become a chain finisher move. Heavy strikes are a perfect way to stun enemies, deal out damage, and make sure that Fury meter is building.
2. Be aware of when you need to counter early
One of the main things that can trip you up with combat in Mad Max compared to the Arkham series is the variable length of Max’s basic attacks, thanks to the heavy strikes system. Often you can see an attack coming from an enemy, but not have time to counter it. Enemies can also begin an attack when off-camera, something that is rarely coded to happen in the Arkham games. It’s recommended to keep the camera in a position to clearly see enemies, and prepare to counter early. You can still wait to get that perfect parry (allowing you to perform a Limb Break counter if you have the upgrade), but make sure you’re not in the middle of a long animation attack when you need to be countering.
3. Don’t be afraid to use shivs
Ammo is scarce in Mad Max. Well, it is until you get the Armory upgrades for the Strongholds and start stopping back there frequently, and also upgrading Max’s Ammo carrying capabilities. Shivs are also ammo, but they don’t really have much use outside of ground combat, and enemies will frequently be carrying ones that you can pick up once you’ve despatched them. As such, there’s really no reason to not be using them fairly liberally, especially to quickly take care of a stunned stronger enemy or one you find particularly annoying.
4. Don’t overuse the shotgun – know when it is most effective
Ammo is scarce, as mentioned above. You can use the shotgun in a fight if you feel overwhelmed, and it’s particularly effective as part of a combo using the Gut Shot skill. But it’s best to save it for when it’s the most useful rather than using it on whatever Wasteland goons happen to pass your way. It’s excellent at dismantling some perimeter defences, particularly those powered by fuel – and exploding all sorts of barrels. It’s also masterful at taking down a War Crier right at the start of a battle, either by aiming at the War Crier himself or the valve on the crane holding him up. The shotgun can also be particularly useful when fighting against Top Dogs. You don’t want to end up in these situations with no ammo, so cool it on the regular enemies.
5. It’s all about Fury Mode
By fighting and building up a chain your fury meter will increase. Once it’s full Max will automatically enter Fury Mode. This causes his attacks to pack much more of satisfying crunch, especially the heavy strikes, and you have more time to react. There’s nothing quite like suplexing a Wastelanders head into the ground. It’s advisable to upgrade the amount of time you can spend in Fury Mode by using Griffa tokens. Fury mode can be extended by maintaining a high chain, and by pulling off brutal moves, such as the excellent Fury Ground Execution. As you progress and end up fighting legion after legion of mooks you should end up spending more and more time in Fury Mode. Get used to it, and at getting into Fury Mode as quickly as possible.