Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Return Of Bullet Time: After Nine Years, Max Payne Doesn't Disappoint

The Return of Bullet Time
Very few games have been able to hold up after taking nearly a decade off, but Max Payne 3 is the exception to the rule. Nine years have passed since the last Max Payne game was released, and Max Payne 3 is looking better than ever showcasing some new features while maintaining that classic Max Payne experience.  Max has left the dark, gritty alleys of New York and New Jersey for the glamorous life of the wealthy and poverty stricken slums of the poor in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Even though he is in a different country his slain family still haunts him into alcoholism and an addiction to painkillers.  Let’s also not forget that trouble follows Max like a crazy stalker.

The story of Max Payne has always been excellent. The narrative really gives players a feel for who Max Payne really is, and the torments his body and mind are going through. The story in Max Payne 3 is just as good as the previous installments.  Max has quit the NYPD and left New York, but trouble has still found him. Without spoiling the game, let’s just say Max is needed to do protection and everything goes to hell and Max sets out to correct it. The story is that good that I don’t want to ruin it.

Graphically Max Payne looks beautifully gory. Backdrops are nice and each environment is unique, from the Laser light show in a Night club to the poverty riddled slums. During your play through, Max will progressively looks more beat up and bloody giving insight into how rough Max’s life truly is. Kill Cam is a visual marvel. It shows the last bullet as it travels to the final enemy in each section. You have the option to slow the bullet down to give a more cinematic experience, but each kill is brutal, gory, and it puts a satisfied smile on your face. Gone from Max Payne and Max Payne 2 are the Graphic Novel Cut scenes and loading screens. In Max Payne 3 the game engine provides a Cut scene that transition nicely from scene to gameplay and vice versa. These cut scenes also act as a loading screen so you don’t have to wait any longer for each chapter to load before you can start playing.

Gameplay in Max Payne 3 will feel similar to the previous titles.  Rockstar didn’t venture far from what made Max Payne popular in 2001. Your trusty Shoot dodge and Bullet Time are still there for you to use, and they have even added a new cover feature, which can help Max out in those serious firefights you will encounter.  Something that some gamers might not like is that it isn’t always wise to just run into a room and start firing. With the cover system, Rockstar wants you to think a little more strategically.  Some rooms are filled with enemies and running in them might mean instant death. The only negative thing I can think of with the gameplay is how small the aiming reticle is, but that is a minor problem within itself and doesn’t take away from the experience.

Overall Max Payne 3 is an amazing game. An old school feel with a new School looks and polish. It doesn’t move far away from what made it popular, but it adds enough features that don’t make it seem outdated. Everybody loved Bullet Time and Shoot Dodge, and now with Kill Cam, there are tons of replay in this game. Include a decent Multiplayer into the mix and we might have a game that could be an instant classic. We have waited nine years for the third installment into the Max Payne franchise and we were not disappointed. 

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