Max Payne 3 Details

Rockstar sent us word today about “Max Payne 3,” finally. We have brand new details, we have brand new pictures, and best of all, me throwing temper tantrums and making snide remarks. I have seriously mixed feelings about what I’m seeing here, Dear Reader. Want to know why? Hit the jump.

-Story. So as the game starts, Max has lost his badge, his honor, and most importantly his hair. On a desperate search for Rogaine (not really), he journeys to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and does that whole “gun for hire” thing that represents “rock bottom” in these kinds of stories. As a side note, action heroes really have the most un-rock bottom rock bottoms: they grow cool beards, take shots of whiskey in rundown saloons, relocate to a sweltering climate, and blow people to hell with automatic weapons. That is not rock bottom, that is balls-out awesome. Just once, I want to see one get drunk on peach schnapps, drunk dial an ex-girlfriend, hook up with some fat chicks and overdraft their checking account. Not that I would know about any of those. Ahem.

Anyway,

-What I think: Yeah, okay, I’ll go along with this. Besides, the game will continually flash back to explain how Max found himself at “rock bottom,” so I’ll get my fix of gritty New York detective.

-NaturalMotion Euphoria. Rockstar is really proud of the fact that they’re using Euphoria, a physics engine from NaturalMotion that has been used in everything from “The Force Unleashed” to “GTA IV.” Allegedly, this will result in Max reacting more believably to his environment, as well as the NPCs around him.

-What I think: Whoop-dee-doo. I never saw anything in “GTA IV” or “Force Unleashed” that blew my hair back, physics wise. I think Euphoria might put too much emphasis on generating unique reactions, and not enough on the smoothness of the results. Plus, is this really going to be a noticeable change? The press release actually boasts that Max will “reach out to the floor as he dives.” Wow. Consider my skirt blown up.

-Set Pieces: There will apparently be sections of the game that will automatically trigger Bullet Time.

-What I think: That feature, if you could call it that, has existed in the “F.E.A.R.” franchise since the original. It’s not really a significant game-changer.

-Cover and Destruction. You knew it was coming: MP3 will have a cover system, and the environment will be “nearly” completely destructible. No mention of any significant engine upgrades, a la Euphoria, to make the latter happen.

-What I think: good additions both. GTA smoothly (albeit not perfectly) integrated cover, there’s no reason to think Max can’t. As for the destructible environments, it’s my sense that such a thing only truly happens if you commit an overwhelming amount of your resources to it. Games like “Red Faction” and “Battlefield” have to offer up their entire engines as a sacrifice to these cruel gods. Are they going to really let me blow holes in walls, or are we talking about tables that flip over in the same direction, no matter which side you shoot them from?

-James McCaffery. The original Max Payne is back for MP3, and will not only lend his voice, but also strap on that wonderful track suit with white golf balls, and performance capture his face off.

-What I think: What do I care? Was anyone particularly attached to this dude in the original? And what qualifies him as the best of the many fine thespians who have donned the leather? Did this James McCaffery douche bag ever command a Funky Bunch? No? Then he can never be the real Max Payne. In all seriousness, Rockstar, give the part to Cate Blanchette if you guys want, nobody cares. It’s not exactly a complex performance.

-NPC? The release says “partners and sidekicks” will be a big deal in “Max Payne 3,” and then nods politely and excuses itself from the room without further explanation.

-What I think: what does that even mean?

-Comic Book Style. Rockstar informs us that it will be updating the traditional comics cut scenes with “in game assets,” in order to create “motion comics.” I see.

-What I think: Conflicted. The main problem with those cut scenes was never really the comic style, it was the voice acting that cranked up the cheese past the Spinal Tap “11.” On the other hand, I never thought those frozen images were particularly beautiful or effective either. So all in all, this is probably for the best.

The picture that emerges here is a game short on innovation. I’m not seeing anything that justifies the kind of clouded, suffocating wait we “Max Payne” fans have suffered through. And there’s still no release date, damn it!

-AA

i’m not about to blow it now for all the cows