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Xbox One Game Review
The latest installment of the popular cult Carmageddon racing series gives players an adrenaline shot of pure vehicular carnage and power-up fuelled destruction, with a side order of pedestrian pummeling. Bystanders had better run for their lives as the crazed collection of speed freaks go head to head competing in a range of high-octane events. With insane PowerUps, surreal environments and a variety of ways to win, it all adds up to endless hours of violent and hilarious fun...
Carmageddon: Max Damage was one game I was really looking forward to seeing. For years I've waited for a game that crosses Grand Theft Auto (GTA) with a Racing game. Back on the old PSOne I remember having great fun with Destruction Derby; and then on the PS2 there was the excellent Roadkill. Since then there hasn't really been anything to come close to capturing the fun and frenzy of a Mad Max style Racing game with bloody mayhem and destruction.
Carmageddon: Max Damage is an updated version of PC game Carmageddon: Reincarnation (2015). The first thing that struck me was how poor the graphics looked. The cars are okay, but the pedestrians and general backgrounds would look a little dated even for an Xbox 360 game. And then I started racing...
Now, each race can be completed anyway you like. You can either try to be the first to cross the finish line (by far the easiest option); wreck your opponents (difficult); or kill all of the pedestrians (next to impossible if you don't want to spend days trying to finish just one level).
The driving is clunky, to say the least. Your car has pretty much no traction and other cars seem to hurl themselves at you as though they have a giant magnet locked onto you. I gave it a couple of races and was about to give up when I remembered two things. Firstly, I can't just give up, I'm reviewing the thing and secondly, I remembered that old Formula 1 games took some time to master.
So I perceived and the driving did get easier as you get to know the car. However, the idea of the game is to splatter pedestrians; attack other cars and run over barrels (which give you weapons) so making the driving so hard to master seemed a little counter productive if the producers wanted people to warm to the game. It would have faired much better if they'd gone for a GTA driving approach.
To be fair, though, you do eventually start to warm to it. It's almost a case of it's so bad that it's good, but with a little tweaking this could be a cult success. The game has potential, but it feels like it has been rushed to market months too early. There are numerous bugs (which I'm hoping will be fixed with downloadable patches in the coming months) but once you get into the swing of it, it is a fun game.
Problems include the aforementioned poor handling of the cars; the fact that the music is so quiet and altering the sound setting seems to make no difference; the way enemy cars are drawn to you like a magnet; the inability to change the camera when playing (you can do it from one of the menus, but not while racing); the doubling up of button functions, which is just odd (you can't sound the horn without opening the car doors - and I still don't see the point of that function); the confusing way you choose and use your collected weapons; and finally the fact I couldn't seem to join in a Multiplayer game - the option just didn't do anything.
There's no local play multiplayer option, which is a crying shame, but there is a great deal of fun to be had in Freeplay mode, where you can roam around the large open maps killing anything that gets in your way as well as finding hidden areas, jumps and stunt points. In addition the replay mode is good, in that you can place cameras anywhere on the map as well as use a number of already installed camera options. In fact, you could probably spend hours tweaking your replays to create a great video to show your friends.
There's so much missing from the game and so little spit and polish on what is there. In truth it seems like a game out of time and a little out of touch.
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