4Scarrs Gaming Review: Carmageddon Max Damage

The Carmageddon franchise makes its triumph return! With more carnage and mayhem than ever before, Stainless Games is once again pushing the boundaries with its latest installment of their classical vehicular combat franchise, Carmageddon: Max Damage. Available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Carmageddon: Max Damage features over-the-top violence, and crazy power-ups where you battle it out for the number one spot.

The first Carmageddon game was released in the late 90s and was known for its revolutionary massive open-world, crude and offensive humour. With the release of Carmageddon: Max Damage, this latest installment bursts onto your screen with power-up fuelled devastation and ruthless battles with rival drivers in full HD. As Max Damage, a homicidal driver of the Eagle R, you will go head-to-head in some of the most frantic race events that adds up to endless hours of violent and hilarious fun.

A Carmageddon career

Carmageddon: Max Damage’s career mode allows you to initially choose from two different drivers/cars to cause mayhem and maximum destruction. The first driver you can choose from is Max Damage, driver of the Eagle R designed for rammin’ and slammin’. Next up is Die Anna, driver of the fast, but no so tough bright yellow, mid-engine supercar called the Hawk R.

At the beginning stages of Carmageddon: Max Damage, it doesn’t matter which driver you choose. Your first few events are essentially a tutorial, which will allow you to familiarize yourself with the controls and driving mechanics of the game. Composed of a 16-tier career mode, the majority of events will require you to complete a specific set of goals in order to advance.

These goals to advance can range from completing a certain number of laps around a track to mowing down a specific number of designated pedestrian bystanders to wrecking your opponent’s vehicles. Upgrading your vehicle during is essential to remain competitive, and will require you to collect upgrade tokens that are placed randomly throughout the levels. Furthermore, you can increase the number of vehicles available in your garage by destroying whichever one the game highlights as “stealworthy” in any given event.

Carmageddon: Max Damage’s Classic Carma events are some of the most fun I’ve had with the game. The Classic Carma event, contained in every tier of the career mode, allows you to play and complete the event in any manner you want to. While you do start with a time limit to complete the event, it is easily extendible by taking down a variety of pedestrians, and collecting time extending items.

Vehicular annihilation with intense carnage

Unmistakably, Carmageddon: Max Damage is all about destruction, annihilating your opponents and your surrounding environment. The game’s controls are never overly complex, but I did find that at times you’ll have to over steer to compensate for the loose controls on any of the vehicles. Unfortunately, maneuvering around some of the game’s indoor environments can be a source of frustration—especially when chasing randomly placed checkpoints.

As you make your way around Carmageddon: Max Damage’s open environments and engage in combat with your opponents, your car will inevitably incur damage, which as a result will severely affect the way it controls. However, you can repair your car on the fly by using credits that you obtain and earn throughout the game.  Your AI opponents are no slouch, they can detect that your car is damaged and will be more aggressive towards you trying to put you out of commission.

I have to admit, Carmageddon: Max Damage sure does have an impressive amount of power-ups that are available to use. There are some pretty neat power-ups in this game, ranging from shooting anvils to operating a vacuum that sucks up pedestrians to giant springs that send your enemies flying in the air. With over 90 power-ups in Carmageddon: Max Damage, there is huge variety of weapons that makes using them an enjoyable experience.

Online multiplayer pandemonium

You can take the carnage online with up to five online opponents in four different online event types. The first event is Death Race, where the objective is to be the first to complete all the laps around the course. However, there is a unique twist in this event that allows you to steal laps from your opponents by taking them out.

The next online mode is called Checkpoint Stampede, you must beat your opponents to checkpoints to win the game. While initially I did have fun, this mode quickly lost its appeal for me and became repetitive. Next up is Car Crusher, in this event you must destroy your opponents to win points while avoiding damage to your vehicle.

Last but certainly not least is, Fox ‘n’ Hounds. In this mode, the “fox” must evade the “hounds” until the timer runs out. I loved this mode as it was fun working together with other online players hunting down the “fox” as they tried to evade our attacks.

A mixed bag of visuals with a diverse soundtrack

Compared to modern Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games, Carmageddon: Max Damage’s graphics leave a little bit to be desired. The game runs at 1080p on the PlayStation 4, 900p on the Xbox One, and at 30fps on both consoles making it the best-looking game yet in the franchise. Although, the real time vehicle damage—take a hit from the side and your car will deform—is an impressive sight to behold.

Also, Carmageddon: Max Damage’s soundtrack, with its variety of different genres mixed together, really gets you pumped up when mowing down your enemies. With whacky sound effects and puns by the minute, Carmageddon: Max Damage offers a unique soundtrack that I was pleasantly surprised by.

Final Thoughts

Positively, Carmageddon: Max Damage is an evolution in the franchise with its open environments, vast amount of power-ups, and an impressive amount of vehicles to unlock and choose from. As you unlock vehicles and gain the use of the game’s many power-ups your experience gets better and better. The controls can be fussy at times, making it hard to perform precise movements need to mow down pedestrians or pickup power-ups. However, for the most part Carmageddon: Max Damage’s positives outweigh the negatives.

Fans of the Carmageddon franchise will love what Carmageddon: Max Damage has to offer. On the other hand, if you are new to the franchise and are looking for a decent game with pure vehicular carnage and hours of fun, then I highly suggest to give Carmageddon: Max Damage a try.

Game Details

Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Developer: Stainless Games

Publisher: U & I Entertainment, LLC

Genre: Vehicular combat

Modes: Single-player, multiplayer

ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)

Final score: 70/100