Max Payne 3 preview

Rockstar made one thing clear when demoing an early build of Max Payne 3 to me: it is Max Payne, through and through.

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Rockstar made one thing clear when demoing an early build of Max Payne 3 to me: it is Max Payne, through and through. For fans, that must be entirely reassuring. Seeing Max jump side to side in bullet time in his snowy New Jersey apartment, with the New York City skyline in the background, it's easy to think "Max is back." Many have doubted if Rockstar could make Max Payne without Remedy at the helm. But, the better question to ask is: do we want Max back in the first place? The original Max Payne was revolutionary when it launched in 2001, offering gamers a gritty, noir shooter that was unlike any other game. But, games have progressed quite a lot over ten years, and I couldn't help but think the shooting looked antiquated. Sure, there are a few attempts at modernization. For example, Max can now take cover. There's also a weapon wheel, inspired by Red Dead Redemption, that allows Max to quickly switch between three weapons. I'd be lying if I said that seeing Max dive in slo-mo didn't immediately stir up nostalgic joy. But I couldn't help but find the combat mindless, and repetitive. Rockstar PR says Max Payne was designed so that "players could get the sensation of placing or reacting to every single bullet with precision and style, giving them the opportunity to enjoy each individual shot." But I got precisely the opposite effect. There's no impact when enemies get hit; enemies show no reaction when getting fired upon. Maybe Max's guns are filled with tiny candy pellets instead of bullets?

Click to see all new Max Payne 3 screenshots

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. 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.
From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 14, 2011 12:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Max Payne 3 preview.

    Rockstar made one thing clear when demoing an early build of Max Payne 3 to me: it is Max Payne, through and through.

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      October 14, 2011 12:33 PM

      Thank you Andrew. A little concerned about the gameplay...hope they have an ace up their sleeves and polish up the gameplay a bit.

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      October 14, 2011 12:43 PM

      So does it play exactly like Stranglehold or Wet?

      Did you play or see the PC build?

      What tech are they using for the the game, specifically the engine, GTA or RDR or Diff?

      Any PC specifics they told you?

      Thanks

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        October 14, 2011 12:54 PM

        I only saw the Xbox 360 version. They didn't have anything to say about the PC version yet! But I will grill them next time!

        And it's using the RAGE engine, used for GTA and RDR.

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          October 14, 2011 12:55 PM

          Cool, sounds good.

          And the --> does it play like Stranglehold or Wet?

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        October 14, 2011 1:12 PM

        Yeah, thanks Andrew! This preview definitely caught my interest. It is honestly disturbing that the bullets wont affect the enemy. If they can make the gunplay and bullet dodging perfect and maybe make the enemy react to the shot and get affected (like half Rage, half GTA) with bullet wounds, that would be perfect.

        Saying that you will enjoy individual shot and placing every single bullet with precision and style but no reaction from the enemy is a bit off-putting. I had to read that three times and made sure that it wasnt an old interview from Max Payne or something...

        Oh well, keep it up and make it pretty. Pretty sure we will like it, and yeah...PC specific info, please! :)

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      October 14, 2011 12:48 PM

      Yeah suck on that you complaining jerks!

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        October 14, 2011 4:46 PM

        Haha, maybe you should read the preview again. It's not all bad, but it's not like it calms any of the naysayers..

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        October 14, 2011 5:08 PM

        DK bro it's me telling you to ease up here.

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      October 14, 2011 12:48 PM

      Ouch. That is pretty scathing. :|

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      October 14, 2011 12:48 PM

      Thanks for the honest preview. I wish Remedy got to work on it.

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      October 14, 2011 5:07 PM

      I don't really care how Max looks to someone spectating the game as such, or how much enemies react when shot, that seems a very shallow way of analyzing the gameplay. What's important for Max is what it's demands on player shooting skills and resource management are. If you're counting every bullet and are constantly on edge, doing miraculous shit to come through encounters against dozens of guys better armed then you, then I don't care how it feels being watched from a projector, and it's a shame that game developers do care.

      There's far too fucking much game design out there oriented around making the game action look cool rather than actually BE cool, for an example of what I'm talking about go watch the Syndicate trailer, or play a few combat encounters in Uncharted. I am entirely happy for Max Payne 3 to disappoint people who want spectacle every minute out of their games if it gives me edgy, exciting combat.

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        October 14, 2011 5:09 PM

        FEAR has both, but no shooter since has matched the sheer quality of its gunplay (the neat term people use nowadays).

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          October 14, 2011 5:15 PM

          There's like pretty sweet tactics in Halo, bro...

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        October 14, 2011 5:09 PM

        I do. Vote canceled out.

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          October 14, 2011 5:14 PM

          Nope, cow gets 3/5ths of a vote what does a bagel get? Like zero fifths. You're not even a person.

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        October 15, 2011 7:00 AM

        Unfortunatly many care about that, and less about the stuff you mentioned.

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      October 16, 2011 12:07 AM

      It ... kinda looks like Kane & Lynch, by Rockstar.

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        October 16, 2011 12:07 AM

        ... or rather, with a "RockStar twist."

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