HANDS-ON: Max Payne 3
Rockstar Games finally lets us loose on a level of Max Payne 3!
If you remember, we had a first look feature last month on the upcoming Max Payne 3 from Rockstar Games.
Well, as impressed as I was with watching someone else play the game, it was even more fun to finally get the controller in my hands and cause my own brand of carnage on the enemies.
If you needed one word to describe the gunplay, it would be fun.
While the cover system does exist, it's not something that you're going to want to rely on for most of your fighting.
Why, you ask? Well, first of all, enemies will come out and flush you from cover. However, more importantly, it's just not as fun to pick off enemies from the distance.
Jump-dodging automatically puts you into bullet time (even if your bullet time meter is empty), and so it's far more satisfying to kill your opponents while flying through the air. There's just nothing quite like jumping down a staircase and raining a hail of bullets on your enemies.
One of the best features of Max Payne 3 is that being prone on the floor doesn't limit you to only have a small arc in which you can shoot. You still have the ability to shoot 360 degrees around you, as Max will twist and turn his body to make sure you have a shot. It's extremely fun to jump into a crowded room and pick off most people while in the air, and then finish off straggler while lying on your back like in a John Woo film.
The painkiller system, which is a throwback to old school games that needed you to pick up med packs to regain health, is just fine in my books. It prevents you from falling into the boring shoot, get back behind cover and regenerate, and repeat mindset. You want to end your fights fast while taking as little damage as possible, and that helps unlock the creative gunman in you. The last man standing mode, which lets you survive a fatal wound as long as you kill the man who inflicted it (and have one painkiller in your inventory), also helps encourage you to be a little braver instead of hiding behind a wall like a coward.
The only thing that I'm sad about is the fact that I was only able to play through one level of the game, which took place during a firefight at a football stadium. I wanted to keep playing, and that's never a bad sign for a game that isn't even out yet.
Oh, and did I mention that the graphics are easy on the eye? Lighting effects and detailed environments make for an enjoyable tapestry of death and violence, and you are the artist. The RAGE engine does deliver, and hopefully the final build is going to be smooth as silk. Though there seemed to be a couple of framerate issues toward the end of the demo, I'll chalk that up to it not being the final build yet.
I've got high hopes for Max Payne 3, and so I hope Rockstar Games pulls through and gives us the game that we deserve. If it can give us a game filled with both story and action, then it may be set to be one of the great games of the year.
Max Payne 3 is set to release on May 18th for the Xbox 360 and PS3, and June 1st for the PC.