Mad Max is a third-person action and vehicular combat game set in an open world environment. It is based on the Mad Max movie series and was released following the 2015 movie Mad Max: Fury Road. It uses many elements from the films, but has its own storyline not based on the movies. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic, barren wasteland and combines sections on foot with vehicular action. The entire game world is available right away and the player can pursue the main quest, side missions or explore freely. Some game elements are inspired by the Just Cause series by the same developer. The protagonist is Max Rockatansky (Mad Max) and he is on his way to the Plains of Silence. In the beginning of the game his car, the Interceptor, is stolen. Bandits known as War Boys, led by Scabrous Scrotus (the son of Immortan Joe from Fury Road), leave him behind in the desert without his car, weapons or supplies. Max wants to find back his vehicle, take vengeance on Scrotus and build Magnum Opus, the perfect car.
A large part of the game is spent driving as Max teams up with the mechanic Chumbucket who rides along. Max has a dog as a companion and gets to build a new car to become the Magnum Opus. Various upgrades become available during the course of the game by spending scrap, the main game currency, next to fuel to keep driving. Others are provided by collecting car parts of enemies or by hijacking cars. Next to guns, car weapons include a flamethrower, a grappling hook, a mounted cannon etc.. While racing a slow-motion function is be activated to provide assist while aiming. Chumbucket repairs the car automatically. There is a large amount of customization that affects the driving (chassis, wheels, engine, handling, nitro, suspension) as well as combat, with spikes to protect against boarding, armour, ramming grills, explosive harpoons, and aesthetic options such as new car bodies and paint jobs. Certain sections are not accessible by car and require Max to climb and travel on foot with ranged weapons and melee combat based on attacking and forming combos, blocking and dodging. Markers above the enemies’ heads announce actions and the fighting system is similar to the Batman: Arkham games. Health is replenished by eating small animals.
There is a leveling system for Max and tokens earned through challenges can be exchanged for perks. A mysterious stranger called Gryffa also often reveals slices of Max’ past. The world is divided into different territories where the enemy threat can be lowered by completing missions such as clearing minefields, taking out snipers, tearing down scarecrows, attacking convoys and invading camps. Camps offer many approaches to get inside and clear them with both blunt action and stealth. There are other activities such as racing and time trials or collecting history relics. Sometimes devastating sandstorms occur, rewarding adventurous players with large amounts of scrap for venturing outside. Hot air balloons can be located to use them for fast travel. There is a day-and-night cycle, environmental hazards and a border to the game world that is not clearly defined, leading into The Big Nothing where Max can attempt to survive as long as possible. A territory is cleared entirely by defeating a boss in an enemy stronghold. It is also possible to visit friendly strongholds that provide quests and rewards for bringing down the enemy activity in the region.