Admittedly, Max Payne 3 is still far from release. It's just disappointing that my first glimpse of the game in action wasn't so much a bang, but a whimper. Rockstar's strength has never really been gameplay, with the company's claim to fame being its impeccable presentation. Max Payne 3 continues the trend. The game is unquestionably stylish--even its menu reeks with a cool vibe. James McCaffrey has a lot to work with; the script offers no shortage of wonderfully sardonic quips for the beaten and broken Max. Is it noir? It's still too early to say. But, the character is undoubtedly Max. Max Payne 3 is quite the looker, thanks to some great art direction and terrific animation. Particularly noteworthy is the physics engine, which encourages you to shoot explosives, and generally wreck havoc. The "final kill-camera" is an empowering addition, even if the ragdolls look a bit ridiculous. Finally, the new graphic novel-inspired cutscenes look sexy thanks to dynamic text overlays, and Michael Mann-inspired camera and lighting work. BOOM video 10458 It all looks wonderful. But the real question is, will the game feel as great? It's quite disconcerting that what I saw felt like an early prototype--not a game that's been in the works for years, set to release in six months time. Rockstar has rarely disappointed, so hopefully further demonstrations will be far more impressive.
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