Max Payne 3 At New York Comic Con

I stopped by the Rockstar Booth this evening and got a sneak peak at the upcoming Max Payne 3. A group of us were brought into a small room and shown a live demo running on an Xbox 360.

The game will take place several years after Max Payne 2, although exactly how many years is being kept intentionally vague at this point. The demo started in Max’s apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey. Max is there with his friend Raul Passos who’s trying to get Max to take the bodyguard job in Brazil. The game is running on a new version of Rockstar’s RAGE engine and the graphics are already looking good. Cutscenes and gameplay are seamlessly integrated and we’ve been promised no loading screens after the game starts. All loading will take place behind the scenes.

Max talked for a while with Rassos until a local mob boss named Anthony DeMarco arrives. Apparently, Max killed his son and he’s here for revenge. As we move easily into the gameplay, the new cover system is shown off, a first for a Max Payne game. The ability to move from cover into the open and in and out of Bullet Time makes for a unique experience. We saw that Max has the ability to shoot from nearly any position. He can roll around when on the ground always keeping his gun up and available to take on anyone who might come after him.

As Max made his way down the hall, we see some of the destructible environments. Snipers on neighboring rooftops try to take Max down and as he’s running down the hall, he can shoot through the windows, shattering glass and breaking window frames. Painkillers are back, of course, which Max uses to heal himself along the way. There’s also a weapon wheel much like Red Dead Redemption. You’ll be able to carry a total of three weapons at a time, two hand gun type weapons and one larger weapon like a rifle or shotgun. You’ll be able to actually see the weapons in holsters or slung over Max’s shoulder and they’ll still be there in cutscenes. Speaking of which, bullet wounds are persistent as well, for how long, I don’t know, but they won’t immediately disappear like most games.

Character movement is solid with the integration of RAGE, Natural Motion and Euphoria. Max looked like he had weight and momentum as he moved around the area and the animations were different in real time and bullet time adding to the realism.

The demo moved on to a Bus Depot in São Paulo where Max needs to protect Passos’ girlfriend, Giovanna. During the two parts of the demo we got to see that the graphic novel style cutscenes from the original games have been upgraded to a motion comic style which seems to work pretty well. The Bus Depot gave the developers a chance to show off more of what the game can do with enemy AI that will methodically search the area and split up to get a better angle on you while trying to take you down. The last enemy killed in an area is now shown with a dynamic “final-kill” camera. Essentially showing the final bullet(s) moving from your gun right through some poor sap’s body. You can also control the speed of the scene at that point, it’s pretty sweet.

The other cool addition to the gameplay is called “last man standing”. Essentially, if you still have painkillers on you and you’re about to get hit with a fatal shot, you’ll enter bullet time and your gun will start to swing towards the enemy that’s about to kill you. If you can deliver a fatal blow before their bullet reaches you, Max will narrowly avoid being hit and lose one painkiller instead of just dying. It looked pretty freakin’ awesome to see it in action and I’m excited to see how people will take to it.

All in all, it was a good taste of things to come. There’s still a lot being kept from us, but what little we know of the story sounds like a good fit in the Max Payne series of games and the gameplay itself looks like a solid, natural evolution. Check out the box art and screenshots below.

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  • Anonymous

    Hearing those initial strings in the trailer instantly takes me back to my love of the first 2 Max Payne games on the PC.  Seeing him with his head shaved just reminds me so much of Bruce Willis and Die Hard.

    I’ll be curious to learn more about the cover system as that sounds very un-like MP.

    • It’s definitely different, but you’ll be diving through the air in no time, twisting and turning in bullet time and you’ll feel right at home.  I think it’s a good addition and adds a bit of realism to the game.  Walking to a doorway and not having a cover system seems archaic at this point.  I think it’s a change for the best.

  • Anonymous

    The title of the article needs the word ‘feel’ at the start.