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Max Payne 3 First Impressions

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It's been almost nine years since we last saw Max Payne and in those nine years the shooting genre has evolved, and Max would probably need something up his sleeve just to compete with all the other action shooters out, but our favorite hard boiled former NYPD detective has pulled out all the stops in this sequel, and it's definitely worthy of the name Max Payne 3.

I went to yet another midnight launch for Max Payne 3 even though it's been a while since I've been to one, and I was surprised by the turnout, although most everyone there was there for Diablo III. Anyway, I stood in line and talked to a few other people that had per-ordered Max Payne 3 and they were like me, a little afraid of what has happened to Max. As you know Max Payne famed itself on being a noir type of storytelling, and this time around it seems to have dropped that in favor of a Man On Fire type of plot or so it seemed.

I got home last night, and popped in the game waiting for it to install the patch and install data onto my PS3, after that I was treated to a nice little introduction scene in which Max gets settled into living in Sao Paulo. It's amazing how that scene alone was enough to get me back into the game, and hearing James McCaffery as Max again was nice. The story so far is nothing like Man On Fire, I mean it does borrow some elements from the film, but in its own right Max Payne 3 is an amazing story that gives a bit more insight into Max's troubled past and his inner demons all while trying to deal with the street gangs in Sao Paulo and a conspiracy against those he works for. I'm not even halfway through the game so far, and it's definitely the best written story for a game this year. Then again never bet against Rockstar as storytelling was always their strong point.

In the past Max Payne on the consoles weren't always the best because the control scheme was a little confusing and felt chunky, but thankfully Rockstar took what made the controls of Red Dead Redemption great, and fine polished them in Max Payne 3. The control scheme is fast and fluid, and it's easy enough to hit your targets without a problem. My only complaint about the control scheme so far is the shoot dodge. In the past you could pull off a shoot dodge and it was usually pretty effective for getting rid of a few enemies, but in Max Payne 3 the shoot dodge suffers a bit because after pulling one off as Max will remain prone on the ground leaving you open to enemy attacks, and these guys are pretty smart. They'll use cover effectively and try to flank you out of cover, so using the shoot dodge is a last resort in ways. Thank goodness bullet time helps to defeat those more pesky enemies that refuse to die.

Overall I was quite impressed with what Rockstar did with Max Payne 3. Even without Remedy Entertainment helping out, Rockstar showed they could craft a game worthy of the Max Payne name, and it's definitely worthy of belonging in anyone's library. Bravo Rockstar!