There's a few shining ideas here, tucked away beneath the horrors of the rest of the game: the power-ups in the game are a lot of fun, offering the ability to throw your opponents into the air, cut pedestrians off at the knees or even turn your car into granite. There are nearly 100 of them, and I felt like there was plenty of variation.
The cars themselves are a lot of fun too: each car has blades on different surfaces, meaning that in addition to their different speeds, acceleration, weight and strength, they also have different pointy surfaces for killing pedestrians and your competitors with variety. Sadly, they do all have exactly the same terrible handling though.
Though at this stage Carmageddon: Max Damage's crimes seem heinous enough, we haven't even got to the worst part: there's absolutely no challenge. I wrote this review when I tapped out of the campaign at around 75 percent complete, and I won every single event I entered without incident. It's not just the AI dooming itself, but the addition of two mechanics that render most of the gameplay completely moot: the ability to recover or fully repair your car at any time, no questions asked.
It's an odd mechanic at best. In an FPS, the ability to teleport out of harm’s way at any time or to instantly recover all of your health would almost be cheating, but it's so much worse here. It'll cost you credits to recover yourself or repair - but you get new credits for every barrel you hit, pedestrian you kill or enemy you crunch into.
It's the most ridiculous part of the game. If an enemy catches you and is driving you towards a wall to wreck you, a quick press of Square drops me safely back on the ground behind the attacking car, so I can crush it myself. If you are caught in a crush or are ever in a less than favourable position, a quick tap of Square gets you back on the road and willing to go. This is a pretty heinous crime, but nothing compared to the repair system.
So, in Carmageddon: Max Damage you slowly tear apart your vehicle and the cars around you. All of the smashing and bashing takes its toll and you'll have wheels torn off and panels torn off the car as you're turned to pulp. The idea of having to try to keep your car in a drivable condition and the strategy of trying to pick up repair pick-ups could have been useful, but instead you can just double tap your Triangle button to repair to full, pulling your discarded parts back to you in an effect that's visually pretty cool, but takes away any risk. Sure, it'll cost you a few credits, but credits are easily found.
Sadly, it seems like the only thing to have experienced Max Damage here is Carmageddon's reputation. It didn't need to reinvent the wheel, but in a post-Burnout world, the same tired tricks are inexcusable, and to charge nearly £30 for it is just disrespectful. My first Bin for bit-tech, and well deserved.