Will Preston

Tag: Max Payne 3

A man with nothing left to lose except time

by on Jul.10, 2012, under Review, Video Games

What does a man who has nothing left to lose have to lose when he kept losing things close to him over the span of 2 games? That was the poorly worded question diving in a slow motion blur through my head when they first announced the return of legendary constipated cop (with nothing left to lose) in Max Payne 3.

As part of their seemingly unstoppable campaign at creating gaming perfection, Rockstar decided to dust off one of their iconic characters for one last squeeze of the trigger. After losing his wife and child to a drug fuelled conspiracy – before losing his sort-of grief girlfriend – Max Payne is now living alone in Hoboken, New Jersey. Now a retired cop, Max stumbles across an opportunity to work as a bodyguard for a rich family living in the poverty slapped Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.

All while wearing a flowery shirt

Moving away from a dark and gritty New York City and into the vibrant setting of a location where the wealth divide could fit 5 luxury yachts doesn’t feel like an expected move for the Max Payne saga, but it doesn’t feel like such a dramatic departure. The game opens to a Max several years past his prime, drunkenly stumbling around his new South American flat, voicing his problems in a pathos-ridden soliloquy over the backing of the series’ dreary theme tune. Yet again, he has set the tone for the rest of the game.

Working as a bodyguard, Max is in charge of the safety of the Branco family – a pound shop Dallas cast for the 2010’s with the only one with any dignity being the patriarchal older brother, Rodrigo. After defending the family from the ambushes of a highly armed street gang, Fabiana – Rodrigo’s trophy wife – is kidnapped, putting the knife of regret firmly into Max’s shoulder once again. Alongside his compadre – Raul – Max gets embroiled in another explosive conspiracy where trouble has a GPS tracker.

Wrinkled from constipation

The adventure takes place across swampland, high tech offices and even a football stadium complete with floodlights and heavy snipers. It’s a very cinematic affair, but one that doesn’t put theatrics in the way of arcade-style gameplay. Thankfully, there are no quicktime events and the boss fights don’t bring the action to a difficult halt. The level of difficulty curves at a good swoop, but is never too easy. However, there are times when you have to listen to the same scripted lines over and over again due to lack of manual saving and easy death. But these hurdles are few and far between and don’t spoil Max Payne 3’s brilliant gameplay.

The gun fights play out in the most flowing style you will ever see. Rather than the invincible torpedo of bullet flinging death in previous games, if Max dives into something (say, a rusty filing cabinet), things go from Chow Yun Fat to Chow Yun fell over. An element of care is required when pulling off the devil may care stunts that define the character. Max’s movement bears the lumbering trademark of Rockstar’s Euphoria engine, but still responds well to your command. Rather than running in a small Nico Bellic-esque semi circle to simply turn around, Max is far more direct, making the gruffly voice drunk a much better gunfighter than expected. He’s not looking too bad either.

Laser sight gets pretty pointless

It’s been nearly 10 years since the release of the last Max Payne and the leap in graphical improvement is astounding. The level of detail matches LA Noire in terms of realism, but not to the point where you’re hypnotised by peoples realistically yapping faces. This even extends to the violence, which doesn’t hold back at all. It goes all the way from juicy exit wounds exploding from the back of a fresh kill’s head to the grisly remains of someone who lost a fight with a pipebomb – not to mention most of his limbs and organs, too. Supplementing the superb gun battles are the potentially overused slow motion shots that trigger after killing the last guy in the room. In a breathtaking 3 seconds, you see the bullet swoop from your barrel and straight through your target. Alongside the gore, it’s pretty gratuitous to strap yourself headfirst into the violence. Not that it’s a bad thing of course.

The single player will take a casual week to complete, but it is worth going over again on the more extreme difficulties. The good folks at Rockstar were even kind enough to bestow an arcade mode – for those of us who just want to dive right into some no-nonsense action – and a cookie-cutter multiplayer – for those of us who want to dive right into a pre-pubescent shouting match online. Somehow, the multiplayer mode isn’t too bad. It takes on board the framework of a basic Call of Duty upgrade system and lets you run wild. Oh, and bullet time is included, but be warned: If you can see things in slow motion, so can everyone else.

Once again, Rockstar create a cinematically sound outing that really drags you from reality and into a realistic fantasy world. Although Max is showing his age, the presentation – from the quirky faux-comic panel shots to the Max’s drunkview – is astounding. Even the soundtrack avoided the typical nuances that plague just about every other action game. A co-op mode would have been nice, but now I’m just being spoilt.

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Max Payne 3 in December — US retailers

by on Jun.21, 2011, under News, That VideoGame Blog

I keep forgetting there’s actually a third Max Payne game set for release. It’s been such a long gap between the second and third compared to the first two that I wonder what could be taking them so long. I mean, it’s no Duke Nukem Forever, but even some of us more patient players have our limits. And now we might finally have ourselves a date.

[Article continues on That VideoGame Blog]

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