Hands off preview with Max Payne 3

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Last week I was whisked away to some fancy offices in Chelsea London to have some hands on with one of my most anticipated titles of the year, Rockstars Max Payne 3.

It’s been an incredible 9 years since we last had some time with Max Payne and his time altering abilities and it would be a lie to say I wasn’t a little worried about a game that has seemed to be in development hell for quite some time.

But then again this is Rockstar and we all know that generally means the game is going to take as long as required to make sure that it’s ready for release when it finally hits the big time. So lets take a walk through my preview.

The game opens up with us staring at the back of Max’s shiny dome and the Rockstar reps take me through a hands off section of the preview where we get to find Max in a pretty sorry state in a rundown apartment in New Jersey.

His old friend, Raul Passos, is chatting to him and trying to hire him for a private security job in Sau Paulo, Brazil but Max appears to be quite happy wasting his life away in pubs drowning his sorrows and living on pain killers.

One of the first things you notice is how detailed the room is, there is crap lying everywhere and what’s more impressive is that the game makes no attempt to draw your eye to it. It’s just there to make the world a more realistic and immersive environment.

As I’m ogling the environment my attention is brought back to the story of the game as you hear shouting from down below, a local mobster has arrived and is busy ordering his henchmen around your building to ensure there is no escape. Then he starts chatting to Max directly. We’re not privy to exactly what’s happened yet but apparently you’ve killed his only son and he’s here to exact revenge… so talking your way out is not an option here.

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Raul takes off down the passageway and the Rockstar rep takes some time to wander around the room and collects a pack of pain killers off the table. The pain killers are your health boosters as your health doesn’t regenerate which is a nice change from the recent regeneration trend in gaming. But what really got me about the painkillers is that I didn’t see them on the table previously. They weren’t glowing or discoloured or any of those standard gameplay techniques and this change from the norm is something you will notice permeates the entire Max Payne experience.

After collecting the painkillers we head out into the passageway to take on the mob and it starts of straight forward enough with the rep taking out 3 mobsters in a row with no real issue and then another mobster gets the drop on us and we move into a little cut scene where a crazed lunatic comes out of his own apartment and blows the guy away with a shotgun. He then starts rambling away and during this time you spot that he’s wearing an explosive vest, at the end of his monologue he darts of around the corner and you hear some shotgun blasts and screaming and then as you peek around the corner you see the loon on his knees at the end of the passageway with three mobsters around him rambling away again then as expected there is a sudden explosion and the end of the passageway disintegrates.

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Then we’re off down the passageway with bullets flying through the windows and suddenly we’re diving forward in bullet time and twisting through the air taking shots at the guys on top of the roof tops. 4 go down before we hit the floor and realistically crumple and roll and then we’re up and hiding behind a pillar while bullets and laser sights dart around us. The window next to us explodes and splinters and then we’re in standard bullet time again and Max steps out and clears off the rest of the mobsters from up above.

And that brings us to the end of our handholding walkthrough, so far we’ve seen the bullet time, bullet avoidance (jumping bullet time) and the health system.

Your health is displayed in the form of a human outline in the bottom right that is all white and then as you get hit it starts being filled with red from the bottom up. There is a number in the middle that depicts how many painkillers you have left (maximum 9). If you feel you need to heal yourself a bit you hit up on the D-Pad and Max will then take a pill which will give you about a 50% healing. In the first stages this is pretty straight forward but trust me as you get into more battles you’re going to be scavenging for pain killers.

Keep your eyes peeled as we’ll be posting up our hands on today as well

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Last Updated: March 5, 2012

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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