Developer: Stainless Games
Publisher: Sold Out Games & Marketing
Genre: Racing/Vehicle Combat
Carmageddon is a name gamers will likely recognize from the late 90s. Known for wrecking your opponents and hitting any pedestrians that get in the way until you get to the finish line, Stainless Games chose to resurrect the franchise through a kickstarter campaign and released Carmageddon: Reincarnation on Steam in 2015. Carmageddon: Max Damage is identical, but is a port now available on consoles for fans of the franchise. So was this franchise really in need of a revival, or should it have stayed buried in the junk yard for good?
Max Damage earns a heavy M rating for blood and gore, violence, strong language and sexual themes. The game takes place in open world environments where players will be prompted to sometimes wreck other cars or run over pedestrians. When running over innocent bystanders they will burst into blood and limbs. Within city location there is a sex shop and a pole dancing venue; on top of that there are suggestive and sexual puns to describe cars, power ups, and characters (some notable examples: “Popped Cherry”, “Camel Toe”, “Bearded Clam”, “Opponent Ejaculator”). The words “f*ck”, “sh*t”, and “c*nt” and other minor swear words appear multiple times throughout the game.
Before I get into gameplay I want to strongly advise players of the crude content and humor. I knew going into the game that it was going to be crude with the encouragement of hitting pedestrians and causing chaos. I was fully prepared to experience some of that, but I did not know that it was going to be on such an absurd level. There is much more content here for players to be wary of, but I would rather not take up the entire review listing all of it. To be very honest this game isn’t even worth that much dedication, so keep reading to find out why,
The modes available in Max Damage are a career mode, online multiplayer, and offline multiplayer. The meat of the game is likely found in the career mode with three different events. The first is Classic Carma where you can win three different ways: make it through all the checkpoints, wreck all of your opponents, or hit every pedestrian in the area. The second, simply titled “Death Race,” has players racing through each checkpoint for the first place position. The third is called “Checkpoint Stampede,” where players will be driving around the map to make it through eight randomly placed checkpoints. This is the mode where I got the most enjoyment out of the game. Some of these checkpoints are placed in silly places like the peaks of ramps or up the wall of a building.
In the career mode you will be earning points to make it to the next tier of courses, but spend those points wisely because they can be used to purchase power ups while in-game. Personally I had not used any of these very much because I never found any of them necessary. I was able to take out my enemies by ramming into them at high speeds. The other thing the points are needed for is to repair your vehicle. Cars can be wrecked to a point that is undrivable— at one point all I had left of my car was the front end! Within the career mode there is even an option to customize your car with different paint jobs and other things that make your car look more threatening. Aside from your starting vehicle you can unlock other cars that are pretty much tanks and mack trucks.
The one other area I found some enjoyment was watching replays and making screenshots for this review. When viewing replays there are a number of ways to customize the different camera options that are available. It was fun to playback some wild stunts and crashes from different angles, and honestly I think most of the time I spent with the game was within the replay mode. This came as no surprise to me considering how much time I spend in the replay section of the Madden games rewinding and fast forwarding awesome plays and bone crunching tackles in that game. A few of the screenshots you see here are from this feature.
I must say it was nice to have some fun in the game, but the driving mechanics were very tough to get the hang of. I am in no way a hardcore player of racing games, but even the most accurate racing controls make more sense that this. The e-brake and reverse buttons were barely responsive, and when hitting corners I found myself sliding into walls and barricades 85% of the time. Using the X button to reset my vehicle became much more sufficient to put me back on the road more than anything else.
Even with what fun I had playing the game, that was not enough to rescue it. The entire presentation and execution is just a disaster. Even the graphics try so hard to look next gen with dynamic lighting, but the overall environments and objects look like they came from the PS2 and original Xbox. The Carmageddon series should have stayed in the junk yard. We live in an era where the style this game is trying so hard to keep alive just isn’t relevant anymore. The kind of gamers it is trying to appeal to have all grown up and are playing much better products out there. I promise that something much greater can be found with the same price tag. If players are really in need of some vehicular combat nostalgia I recommend Twisted Metal Black which can be found on on PS4 and PS3 for the low price of ten bucks.
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The Bottom Line