Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Max Payne 3 finished

I enjoyed Max Payne 3 although I am not sure it is fair to call it a game. Interactive movie might be a more appropriate title given how little control you actually get over your characters actions and how much time you spend watching the game story unfold in cut scenes. You literally spend most of the game watching your character go through a series of long cut scenes interspersed with brief hectic firefights.

This actually sounds worse than it is because the story is actually very good, the characterisation is very good and the cinematography (if that is the correct term) is also very good. You could watch this as a movie in its own right. I have previously criticised shooters like the latest Medal of honour and Call of Duty games for restricting the players freedom too much. However Max Payne 3 does this far better than those games smiply because it is a better interactive movie. In terms of story telling it is up there with Bioshock infinite. A huge factor is that we finally seem to be breaking through the uncanny valley in terms of lifelike game characters. Max Payne goes for hyperrealism and still managed to produce characters with real empathy.

Surprisingly the worst part of the game is actually the "game bit" i.e. the fire-fights where the player is actually in control. You are forced to endure hundreds of mind numbingly repetitive encounters from beginning to end of the game. Every single time you go through a door the following happens:  

You go through a door. A cut scene triggers which advances the story a bit and then a gang of bad guys appear. The cut scene ends with you moving to some handy piece of cover nearby. Once you regain control you find yourself under a hail of fire from half a dozen or so enemies. You proceed to pick them off one by one using the powerful bullet time ability, all the while accumulating injuries from the onslaught. A couple of the enemies will try to flank around behind your cover. When you clear the first batch a second batch inevitably appears.  Hopefully your health packs (tablets) are sufficient to last you through the fight because when you finally kill the last guy (cue slow mo bullet cam) you have to go go througha newly unlocked gate to trigger a save checkpoint and more than likely to lead into another identical combat encounter.

These encounters are always hectic and fun enough at the beginning but by the hundredth time they become extremely tedious. What a shame.

Quick summary: Combat is poor because it is very repetitive but everything else is great. Recommended.

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