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Max Payne is a franchise that has been known to make innovations in gaming, with Bullet time and the ‘comic book style’ cut scenes. The noir genre benefited greatly from Max Payne, it pretty much carved itself out a little place in gaming history and settled in fantastically. Eight years later the gaming setting has changed, the expectations of games has skyrocketed, and these days noir is just something that people can’t pronounce properly. So, will Max Payne 3 be as well received in this gaming climate as the previous installments?
I had a chance to sit down with the lovely folk at Rockstar Sydney and got a rundown on the game and a first-look at some of the code they’ve got. And wow. Seriously. I went into it with basically no expectations and just a lot of curiosity, and I walked out wanting it to be March already.
Max Payne is looking a little worse for wear, he’s older, more battered around, and just generally angst-central. The game will kick off in his neighbourhood of New York, moving to São Paulo when he figures out that there is simply nothing left for him in the US. He works as security detail, protecting people since the police are pretty useless.
But enough about the plot, you guys know the plot, you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve read the press releases, this is about the game itself. And God it is a sweet game.
Attention to detail is this game’s calling card, Rockstar have really stepped it up to another level. Especially with some of the games coming out, physics engines and graphics are now at a level of realism that is pretty mind blowing. But those cannot even begin to compare with what Max Payne brings to the table.
The amount of time and care that has gone into creating the environments of Max Payne are obvious. From little things like the graffiti on the walls of São Paulo, to the footsteps made in the snow on top of a New York building, to the backgrounds and the lights from buildings that you can see through the dense clouds. Based off real location photos, the scenery stays as true to life as physically possible, showing both New York and the troubled São Paulo off as much as possible without over-boasting. Also (not to spoil anything), in a scene where an explosion has gone off in a corridor, the blood is spattered all over the walls, and there are half-bodies strewn about with intestines. It’s awesome.
Speaking of blowing stuff up, the environment is as close to a real environment as I’ve seen. Pretty much everything with blow up, shatter, or generally be destroyed from Max and the baddies’ hijinks through the streets. Gas cans and petrol stations will be your best friend as you make them explode, glass shatters realistically if you shoot at it, even vending machine covers will break.
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