Welcome to my review for Carmageddon: Max Damage
Developed by: Stainless Games
Published by: Sold Out Sales & Marketing
Release Date: July 8th 2016
Carmageddon: Max Damage has finally arrived, and after a very long wait, there are many people, myself included that were excited to get their grubby little hands on it as soon as was humanly possible upon release. If you are old enough like myself, 37 to those that are interested, you will remember playing it on PS1 way back in 1997. So what have all these years and better technology offered us in terms of improvements to Carmageddon? Short answer, not as much as I would have hoped.
So what has been the problem with this new release? Is it actually any good? Will it be worth your money? Just some questions that we need an answer too, for Stainless Games offering of carnage, mayhem, and vulgar humour.
First off, I will say that it is not perfect. Problems, and issues are certainly noticeable from the word go. This is not to say it is a terrible affair, but given how long we gamers have waited for a new title in the series, and that we are now on Xbox One, I was hoping for a game with a bit more polish than was on my TV screen. We have had 2 Playstation and 2 Xbox consoles since the PS1 release, so plenty of time to make the game look like it belongs on the latest generation of consoles. Don't get me wrong, I am by no means expecting a Carmageddon with graphics on par with Forza. Not at all. But given that visually, it looks as though I was playing on an Xbox 360, I was quite shocked. The array of vehicles are satisfactory, and look pretty amusing when they have taken some crazy damage, such as being split in half length ways, and are still driveable to a degree.
I was unsure of the online Multiplayer portion of the game to start with. I was expecting a choppy, lag ridden ride. Can't say why, maybe cynicism took hold. But after just over an hour of online gaming, I had not a single problem. I enjoyed every minute, and laughed out loud at some of the crazy explosions caused by seemingly tame collisions. My major gripe, is that the maps used for online seemed far too big for just 6 players. More players to fill out the map, or smaller maps in general would have sufficed. Thankfully, the randoms I was teamed up with, were in no mood to run and hide. It was chaotic, and a carnage fuelled romp until the last second.
The career mode, gives you plenty of chapters to unlock, with different race types to mix it up a bit. Checkpoint dashes are a heated race to each checkpoint highlighted on your map. It does seem to use the same locations within the maps, Which means it is just a case of memorising where you need to go. A random location would have been far more satisfying and tense. The Classic Carma event, just lets you get on with it with regards to how you want to play it out. Do you complete the laps and win, kill every single pedestrian, or smash the living daylights out of all of your opponents? You do have another mode, where you have the kill the target pedestrian. But it is just a checkpoint dash clone. Still, you get to smash the target with your vehicle of choice. Not all that bad is it.
There are a variety of motors you can unlock by wrecking the selected target before a race. You must land the killing blow however. You can get wrecked also along the way, but so long as you have the funding , you can continue playing. The time limit does seem irrelevant as you will never run out of time, due to the bonuses from multi kills. So the pressure to keep on top of your time limit and work hard to succeed is nowhere to be found. But given you may want to kill every single pedestrian in a race, the generous time you can accrue will be valuable. The little bugger scan be hard to find when you are down to the last dozen. Speaking of pedestrians, there just seems to be far to few on any map. Which is a shame, given to their low resolution, there could have been a lot more for some serious carnage. At least Stainless haven't held back, and you can eviscerate nuns and those that are wheelchair bound. Morals well and truly thrown by the wayside.
Power ups are hilarious. and so are some of the names that pop up on screen. I will not be typing them up here, as the vulgarity may not be to everyones taste. But needless to say, if you have a dirty, or open mind to filth, Carmageddon will most certainly appeal to you. Don't forget to check out the name of the hardest difficulty. I will never look at a Rhino the same again without thinking of this game. You can shoot anvils in front of you, drop landmines behind you, make peds suicidal, electrocute them, make them explode, and it just doesn't stop being fun one bit. Simply put, if you like mindless gaming, which offers dumb, unadulterated fun, then Carmageddon will most certainly appeal to your twisted taste.
Graphics: The flat, and plain textures used in some locations of the game, look pretty bad in all honesty. Missing a lot of polish The character models for the peds, quite frankly is awful. I found it hard to believe this was developed for the Xbox One. Even some people have said that it doesn't even resemble an Xbox 360 game. That could be taking it a bit too far, but I will leave that open to you. I will admit they are not perfect, and find it hard to be positive about this department. A big letdown when you consider that attempting to sell your game, graphics are the first point of call for a potential buyer. This will immediately have them on the back foot.
Music/FX: Menu music is suited to the game. Car engine sounds, do leave a lot to be desired. Taken directly from a PS2 era racing game? Hear it for yourself. A let down. Sound effects are what you would expect. Not the wow factor that cold have been reached given the platform it has been released on.
Gameplay: Car handling is unfinished. So awkward to handle at times when you need to fine tune your aim to run over a solitary ped, or slam into an opponent that is about to make a get away. Taking corners is a chore at first, but with some practice, you will eventually get accustomed to it. Needs attention here too.
Longevity: You will have plenty of hours available to you should you take on the challenge to get the full 1000g on offer. Pair that up with the online portion that gives no lag, at least for me, and you could have a good time with some friends. Despite the huge maps. The mini map does show the location of said opponents, so you can find them, and this negates the run and hide aspect that could have left this troubled.
Achievements: The majority will unlock with natural progression. There are a couple linked to the online mode and will not require a major grind either. There is one collectable, for finding smelly bushes. Take the hint and you can guess what it means. Yes, vagina puns. Again, I will not type anything out, as it is rather rude, and not to certain tastes. A large chunk of the 1000g will be yours without too much hassle.
Overall: Despite the flaws with what could have been an amazing game, Carmageddon: Max Damage is a fun game, and will give you a laugh if you appreciate the vulgar and quite frankly obscene content presented to you. Does it feel like a £29.99 game? No. It lacks the required amount of finishing touches and polish to make this an Xbox One title. I will say, that if you are a fan, you will be able to look past these flaws, and have a mighty good laugh. If you're on the fence, or a casual gamer, you may feel that a sale would more likely tempt you to part with your cash. I have had a great time, but once everything is done, I just don't know if I will play it again. Time will tell. The issues I have brought up with the game, could well be fixed. That is up to the developer though. Hopefully they will look into at least adding more peds for us to slice and dice. Would I recommend Carmageddon? Yes. But to the right gamer. If graphics and car handling are very important to you, then you may find that it isn't the purchase for you. But if you want fun, explosions, huge crashes, and a good online component, then Carmageddon is most certainly for you. I've enjoyed my journey so far, and will continue too all the way to the end.
I have awarded Carmageddon: Max Damage 3.5 stars in huge part to the fun I have had, regardless of the pitfalls that lowered the games score. If it wasn't fun, it would have scored a lot lower.
Thank you to the developer for providing a code for the game.