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E3 2016 – Carmageddon: Max Damage Hands-On Preview – New-School Carnage

After spending some quality time with PC gamers on Steam, Carmageddon is making its way on over to consoles. We spent some time with Carmageddon: Max Damage while at E3 2016, and have a preview available below.

Experience Earned

Developer Stainless Games has been hard at work supporting Carmageddon: Reincarnation on Steam since its launch in May 2015. The work has paid dividends, apparently, to strike up enough interest in a console port. The console versions will receive the most up-to-date version of the game, while a PC port of this improved version currently has no release date.

For the demo we played, the goal was to destroy all enemy drivers, kill 780 pedestrians, or complete five laps of a large circuit which had been set up in the level. We were also told that this game is an equal-opportunity killer – whether a nun, or cyclist, mobility scooter rider or alien, all pedestrians are worth the same amount of points. Other than the checkpoints of the circuit race, there was no guide. The level was wide open, and I was free to go after any objective that I wanted, or to simply explore.

As I drove around, my car quickly took damage. Might have had something to do with a mine I ran over…Kind of hurt, and my car lost its hood, but it still ran. The cars in Max Damage are pretty resilient, as was made evident shortly afterwards when my car was sliced in half, vertically. I was left driving just the rear wheels and some of the chassis. Holding Triangle rebuilt my car, at a cost of money which I had been gathering by driving around the level and attacking enemies.

Smashing Fun

This is a game designed to be fun first, and its level design reflects this. There were large groups of pedestrians throughout the level we played, which was a fairly innocuous-looking city. There were structures you could drive up, and ramps to use in order to jump to the rooftops, or into parking structures, in an attempt to find some of the game’s many hidden collectibles. Rolling into floating barrels would reward you with a powerup, such as an anvil to fire at enemies, or free repairs for a limited amount of time, or the occasional explosive which only served to hurt you. I had flashbacks to Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8 while obtaining these powerups, which I can say is definitely a good thing.

Carmageddon: Max Damage has ten different environments, with separate sections providing for different game modes. It also includes multiplayer support for up to six players. There is a Career mode, and unlock tokens to find throughout the game. With these tokens, you can upgrade your car. Sports cars should have their armor upgraded first, while trucks could likely do with a speed upgrade.

Stainless Games is looking to bank on nostalgia, which usually works very well. But I don’t think they’ll need to use that as a crutch with Carmageddon: Max Damage. The game has received steady support since its soft launch on Steam Early Access, and ever-rising approval ratings over time there as well. From what we saw with our demo time, this will be a game to play when you just want to wreak some mindless havoc. Carmageddon: Max Damage releases on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on July 8, 2016.