Mad Max – 10 essential survival tips


Mad Max can be a seriously tough open world game and you’ll need our new survival tips guide if you want to stay alive long enough to help Max create the car of his dreams with the Magnum Opus.  With such a huge game world to explore, you’ll want to maximise (ha!) your play time to take the grind out of the wasteland. It could be the difference between becoming the Road Warrior and road kill.

Fighting tips

Like Rocksteady’s Batman, Avalanche’s Mad Max has a heavy reliance on counter-attacks. Unlike Batman though, Max won’t interrupt his own animations as effectively. So don’t get greedy with regular strikes, when you see that Triangle prompt, be ready or at least roll further away.

New moves unlock as you progress through the game, be sure to prioritise buying the upgraded counter skills. The Master Melee Reversal is a real game-changer as it allows you to easily steal melee weapons, which are great for thwacking multiple enemies at once. If you’re a little light on funds, avoid the counters that require a shiv or shotgun blast as ammo is too scarce to rely on these moves in a pinch.

Remap dodge and fire buttons

Mad Max’s default control setup feels mighty strange. The dodge roll button sits on R1, while quickfire shooting is on Circle, but you can also fire with R2 when aiming with L1. Just, what? The alternative control scheme swaps Circle and R1 around, putting gunfire where it belongs on the shoulder buttons, meaning you’ll stop wasting precious ammo instead of dodge rolling.

Own the boss fights

On-foot boss encounters can really put the mad into Mad Max, but once you’ve mastered the rhythms you’ll find them much easier. Fast bosses are the simplest encounters, just wait patiently for the counter-prompts, evade those telegraphed red strikes and you’ll get plenty of chances.

Larger brute bosses all share the same patterns. The big bastards tend to charge at you a lot, leaving themselves open to attack when you evade at the last second, sending them into a wall or their own fire traps. Your dodge roll has some generous I-frames (invincibility frames) allowing you to roll through their unblockable melee attacks, so just roll with it. Melee weapons are the best way to smash through their chunky health bars as are shivvings if you can spare them when the prompt appears.

It’s the minion support that’s the biggest cause of frustration though, especially as the boss will call in reinforcements soon after you’ve cleared the last bunch. Here’s a great tip though, leave one alive and the boss won’t summon any more, making these encounters much less crowded. Try to avoid using shivs and bullets until you’re close to victory too as your stock isn’t replenished if you die.

Car combat

Don’t be afraid of losing out on speed by equipping heavy armour and beasty bumpers. Enemy vehicles in Mad Max are ruthless and will smash the Magnum Opus to bits in no time if you’re only built for speed. There’s not much point in speed setups for the races either as many force you to use a different car.

The Square button’s sideways slam is a vital attack move that deals significant damage and can shunt enemies into walls and over cliffs. It’s also a handy way to tighten up on sharp corners or avoid troublesome rock formations.

Disabling enemy vehicles is often more effective than destroying them outright. Early on, you can use the harpoon to rip drivers from their seats and a few upgrades later, you’ll be able to tear wheels from tougher armoured vehicles, taking them out of the chase altogether.


For the first few hours of the game, taking on large crowds can be a real pain in Max’s arse, not to mention that glass jaw of his. Once you’ve unlocked the car’s harpoon though, you’ll be surprised at how many enemies you can lure out of a base’s narrow door for you to pick off with the harpoon’s infinite ammo. Or you could opt for a good old fashioned bonnet bashing by running them over.

Unsporting behaviour is actively encouraged during race events too. So feel free to go nuts with the harpoon, or the gloriously-named Thunderpoon, and obliterate rivals on the starting grid. Many races force you behind the wheel of a new car though, robbing you of all things ‘poon. Don’t forget though, you still have your trusty shotgun for those idiots with a bright red fuel barrel strapped to their car.

Levelling up

Max levels up by completing in-game challenges for Griffa tokens. Challenges cover every aspect of gameplay. Different kill types, combo chaining, vehicle takedowns, harpoon shots, destroying scarecrows and so on. For every completed milestone you’ll earn an upgrade token. You’ll rarely have to check the list and target a certain reward as just playing the game naturally unlocks them at a generous rate. Better yet, you don’t need to master all challenges to fully-upgrade Max. Try and build up a large amount of tokens before spending them at the Griffa as you’ll have a better understanding of where your weaknesses are and what stats you’ll want to beef up. Health is a priority as is upgrading Max’s skills with melee weapons for boss fights.

Stick to the road (mostly)

Max’s Magnum Opus does not like going off-road and moves much slower when you stray from the shattered remains of the asphalt. Tempting as it may be to take a diagonal cut across the rough terrain when the road route is a lengthy right-angle, you’ll often find it quicker to stay on the tarmac. Some sensible shortcuts work though. Rather than use a long winding road to descend a mountain, you’ll often find it’s easier to fly off the edge as car damage from falls isn’t bad at all.

Don’t stop for every piece of scrap

Mad Max is a serious grind at times and constantly getting out of your car for pitiful amounts of scrap (the game’s currency) can become tiring and frustrating. If you see a salvage icon on your minimap, it’s worth checking the full map screen as it’ll breakdown what other items you’ll find there such as collectible relics or those all-important parts for building base facilities.

Prioritise unlocking a salvage crew in each territory as they’ll automatically grab any scrap from defeated vehicles. When you take over a camp it will automatically generate a supply of scrap over time. This and the scrap you’ll find naturally in bases or during story missions should be enough to satisfy your appetite for new upgrades for Max and his car. There’s just no need to purposefully head out to the wastelands and scrounge through all the game’s salvage icons on the overly cluttered map. Unless you’re hell bent on Platinuming Mad Max. Fury road? More like road to madness right there.

Upgrade repair skill ASAP

Chumbucket (probably not the name his mum gave him) can repair Max’s car if you stop and hold the Up button or get out. It’s seriously slow though. So whenever you get the opportunity to upgrade his repair skill, do so immediately as those convoys are getting away with every lost second. While we’re talking about taking down convoys, if you have to pull over for lengthy repairs mid-chase, why not head back around the track in the opposite direction? It’s often quicker than catching them up from behind. Just think of the damage boost from a full speed head-on collision.

Take the grind out of supplies

By picking up the right parts, you can ensure your water, ammo and fuel are restocked whenever you visit that area’s base. This allows much more freedom to use your gun in a pinch and not having to worry about fuel. Actually, unless you buy the car’s flamethrower add-on, petrol lasts for ages. So try not to stress out about topping it up whenever you see a fuel can.

Using a few Griffa tokens to enhance Max’s water gathering skills is a big help for when you need to top up your canteen during missions, especially in camps where you’ve been getting slapped around a bit – which tends to happen when you rock up and start beating everyone up and stealing their stuff.


Mad Max Review: Bleeding out on the blacktop

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