Review Fix 2011 New York Comic Con Coverage: Max Payne 3 Sneak Peek

It may not be the recipient of the type of love that the Red Dead series gets or have the accolades of even the downloadable content of the Grand Theft Auto games, but hardcore gamers know better.

“Max Payne,” regardless of a less than stellar sequel and a film many gamers [and movie-goers alike] would like to forget, was at the forefront of all of the high quality action-shooters of the X-Box/Playstation 2 era. With a great story, excellent voice work [thanks to the uber-talented James McCaffrey, who is also back for voice duties this time around] and the revolutionary gameplay mechanic known forever since as “bullet time,” the game has been copied and covered more times than Frank Sinatra.

Because of this, many expected Rockstar to deliver a sequel early in the 360 and PS3 generation. However, these dreams never came to fruition and it appeared the game might remain as more of a symbol of innovation, than continue its legacy.

But after nearly a decade, Rockstar’s unsung hero is finally getting the next generation treatment it deserves and is primed for a March 2012 release.

It’s about damn time.

From the demonstration at this year’s New York City Comic Con, Rockstar has delivered a title that is easily in the same league as any of its best games over the past half decade. Visually gritty, with smooth animations and a definite noir kick, “Max Payne 3” is like a Frank Miller graphic novel- on painkillers.

With refinements made to the bullet time system, which continue to allow Payne to shoot in the air and now, from every angle possible and even while in the prone position, the possibilities are nearly endless here. Additions to the gameplay structure, which allow Payne to get in a few more shots once his health is gone [with a chance to come back with just enough health to shoot some more] are a great modern day touch. Hundreds of hours was also spent refining everything from animations [characters walk and run more realistically here than perhaps any game ever created] to motion comic-inspired cut scenes as well.

The end result is a “Max Payne” for a new generation of gamers.

In 2001, the bullet-time innovation was enough to guarantee the game’s success.

Ten years later, Rockstar, thanks in part to the success of the Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead, and LA Noir franchises, isn’t going to rest on its laurels.

Regardless of the name recognition this series has, which would surely induce decent sales, the work needed to make “Max Payne 3” truly special is obviously being put in.

Don’t worry old schoolers though; the game still has the same feel that made you fall in love with it. It’s just a bit more stylish than it used to be.

Calm down. It’s not “Devil May Cry” stylish either; more like “Reservoir Dogs.”

With a host of improvements, enhancements and classic gameplay elements, on a new console, this title is going to not only bring back a ton of nostalgia for veteran gamers, but it’ll ultimately introduce a ton of younger ones to a series they’ve probably never experienced.

Taking place in both New York and Brazil, the environments make the game go from a hard-boiled cop drama to a steamy South American drug-induced adventure, rather quickly. Both surreal in their own way, it’s easy to fall in love with the dark and musty New York City rooftops and skyline and the colorful and deadly streets and factories of Brazil.

The change in scenery also has a huge effect on Payne. Rather than give away small inklings of the plot, lets just say they are both emotional and physical. With all the frenetic shooting to be had, it’s easy to forget the emotional journey this character is on through the course of this game.

Like the host of other Rockstar titles, “Max Payne 3” too looks to be an adventure that will be worth playing and remembering.

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About Patrick Hickey Jr. 10082 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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