Max Payne 3 And Creative Bankruptcy

Posted by Raven10 (1691 posts) -

Today Max Payne 3 arrived from Gamefly. I played through the first disc and have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand it is a perfectly competent game. It always works. It controls well, the level design is solid, the graphics are decent for a console game, and the story is interesting and well written. But after playing it for several hours I have to say it is one of the most creatively bankrupt titles I have played in recent memory. This game has not a single unique mechanic or idea to its name at least so far. You walk down incredibly linear corridors and shoot dudes while hiding behind cover and slowing down time when you have the juice. It's just so average. I'm enjoying it but I just keep thinking how Rockstar, at the very least, usually brings something new to the table with each of its games and this game just doesn't have any of that.

I have to take a shot at the level design here. Now just a couple lines ago I said the level design was solid. I say that because it is virtually always obvious where to go. The levels are clear and feel natural. But they are also some of the most linear levels I have ever seen. They make Call of Duty look like a sandbox. There is no room for tactics in this game. There is always just one path to take and it is a very narrow path with a couple boxes thrown up to hide behind. What's more, the combat here basically plays itself if you set it to auto-aim. You can choose to manually aim, but how anyone could aim well enough to shoot grenades out of the air without help is beyond me. Maybe if I was playing with a mouse and keyboard but not with a 360 controller. So you have to choose between making the game all but impossible to beat and having the game basically play itself for you. You spend most of the game hitting forward and pulling the left trigger to lock on and the right to shoot. It's fun on a visceral level but there is literally nothing to it. That isn't to say it isn't hard. I'm playing on the easiest difficulty and enemies still do enough damage that using the shoot dodge mechanic is akin to committing suicide. So you walk forward, hide behind cover, slow down time, and take some pot shots until everyone is dead. Then you watch a cutscene before repeating.

Speaking of cutscenes, there are a ridiculous number of them in this game. Almost every single door you walk through (essentially after every battle) leads to a cutscene. These vary in length from 30 seconds to 5+ minutes. And chances are if something cool is happening in the game it is happening in a cutscene. Once in a while you are asked to shoot some people in slow mo at the end of said cutscene, but I never escaped the feeling that I really wished I was playing what was being shown on screen. I think some of the worst examples of non-interactivity in this game occur in the hostage-swap level. I was shocked that after the sniper started shooting, the game put the HUD up and theoretically gave me control, but Max just started running without me doing anything. In fact I tried to walk the other way or stop and he just kept running. It was like they pretended to give me control but really I was just experiencing another cutscene. Later, while sniping the game decides it is going to move the reticule for you. It follows along the path of the person you are supposed to be protecting, and then gives you control for five seconds to shoot a couple dudes before taking control away from you again. I really hate that critics praised the story aspect of this game. If you want your games to be movies then become a movie critic. This is a game. I want the gameplay to be exciting as well as the cutscenes and I'd prefer if the ratio of cutscene to gameplay was a bit less than 50/50.

If it seems I am bashing this game to hell, well I am. It manages to be everything that is wrong with games today. Relentlessly simple and heavy on special effects over substance it is barely a game and more of an interactive movie. Even the shining example of interactive movies, the Uncharted series, gives you control during the action sequences. That is what makes Uncharted work. Because you are in full control during the cool parts. In Max Payne you are rarely fully in control at any point in the game. Max Payne 3 goes down easy because Rockstar does its best to avoid frustration. Checkpoints are numerous, and the easy difficulty is easy enough that most players should be able to make it through without much difficulty. The game is kind enough to end cutscenes with you facing in the exact direction you need to go and since cutscenes bookend almost every room you are almost never lost or confused on what to do. This is shooters for dummies. An experience so easy going down that you can't hate it. But there is no meat on this game's bones. There are no clever mechanics, no tactical depth, no variety. I'm enjoying it in the same way I enjoy a movie, so I'll play the second disc, but the first has left me utterly underwhelmed. I know I rag on Rockstar a lot, but in a way this is a worse offense than their normal games. My problem with their work is often that the story and the gameplay don't mesh. In this game the story and the gameplay are one in the same. But unlike a game like Braid where the story is cleverly wrapped around the mechanics, in this game the gameplay feels like merely a way to get from one cutscene to the next. The challenge here comes not from intelligent scenarios requiring skill and strategy to overcome, but by putting a ridiculous number of enemies in front of you and having them do a ton of damage. Your only solution is to press forward and make sure bullet time is engaged. After all it will probably only be 30 seconds until another cutscene shows up.

I'll say again that I am enjoying Max Payne 3. It does go down easy. But I feel like I'm enjoying it in spite of the gameplay, not because of it. I love a good movie almost as much as I love a good game, but Dan Houser, as good a writer as he is, is no master screenwriter. If I want to watch a movie I'll go see a movie. When I play a game I want to do just that, play it. Watching cutscenes and holding down forward and right trigger are not what I call a game. That's called an interactive movie and I honestly am glad I didn't pay $60 to experience one of those.

#1 Posted by Raven10 (1691 posts) -

Today Max Payne 3 arrived from Gamefly. I played through the first disc and have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand it is a perfectly competent game. It always works. It controls well, the level design is solid, the graphics are decent for a console game, and the story is interesting and well written. But after playing it for several hours I have to say it is one of the most creatively bankrupt titles I have played in recent memory. This game has not a single unique mechanic or idea to its name at least so far. You walk down incredibly linear corridors and shoot dudes while hiding behind cover and slowing down time when you have the juice. It's just so average. I'm enjoying it but I just keep thinking how Rockstar, at the very least, usually brings something new to the table with each of its games and this game just doesn't have any of that.

I have to take a shot at the level design here. Now just a couple lines ago I said the level design was solid. I say that because it is virtually always obvious where to go. The levels are clear and feel natural. But they are also some of the most linear levels I have ever seen. They make Call of Duty look like a sandbox. There is no room for tactics in this game. There is always just one path to take and it is a very narrow path with a couple boxes thrown up to hide behind. What's more, the combat here basically plays itself if you set it to auto-aim. You can choose to manually aim, but how anyone could aim well enough to shoot grenades out of the air without help is beyond me. Maybe if I was playing with a mouse and keyboard but not with a 360 controller. So you have to choose between making the game all but impossible to beat and having the game basically play itself for you. You spend most of the game hitting forward and pulling the left trigger to lock on and the right to shoot. It's fun on a visceral level but there is literally nothing to it. That isn't to say it isn't hard. I'm playing on the easiest difficulty and enemies still do enough damage that using the shoot dodge mechanic is akin to committing suicide. So you walk forward, hide behind cover, slow down time, and take some pot shots until everyone is dead. Then you watch a cutscene before repeating.

Speaking of cutscenes, there are a ridiculous number of them in this game. Almost every single door you walk through (essentially after every battle) leads to a cutscene. These vary in length from 30 seconds to 5+ minutes. And chances are if something cool is happening in the game it is happening in a cutscene. Once in a while you are asked to shoot some people in slow mo at the end of said cutscene, but I never escaped the feeling that I really wished I was playing what was being shown on screen. I think some of the worst examples of non-interactivity in this game occur in the hostage-swap level. I was shocked that after the sniper started shooting, the game put the HUD up and theoretically gave me control, but Max just started running without me doing anything. In fact I tried to walk the other way or stop and he just kept running. It was like they pretended to give me control but really I was just experiencing another cutscene. Later, while sniping the game decides it is going to move the reticule for you. It follows along the path of the person you are supposed to be protecting, and then gives you control for five seconds to shoot a couple dudes before taking control away from you again. I really hate that critics praised the story aspect of this game. If you want your games to be movies then become a movie critic. This is a game. I want the gameplay to be exciting as well as the cutscenes and I'd prefer if the ratio of cutscene to gameplay was a bit less than 50/50.

If it seems I am bashing this game to hell, well I am. It manages to be everything that is wrong with games today. Relentlessly simple and heavy on special effects over substance it is barely a game and more of an interactive movie. Even the shining example of interactive movies, the Uncharted series, gives you control during the action sequences. That is what makes Uncharted work. Because you are in full control during the cool parts. In Max Payne you are rarely fully in control at any point in the game. Max Payne 3 goes down easy because Rockstar does its best to avoid frustration. Checkpoints are numerous, and the easy difficulty is easy enough that most players should be able to make it through without much difficulty. The game is kind enough to end cutscenes with you facing in the exact direction you need to go and since cutscenes bookend almost every room you are almost never lost or confused on what to do. This is shooters for dummies. An experience so easy going down that you can't hate it. But there is no meat on this game's bones. There are no clever mechanics, no tactical depth, no variety. I'm enjoying it in the same way I enjoy a movie, so I'll play the second disc, but the first has left me utterly underwhelmed. I know I rag on Rockstar a lot, but in a way this is a worse offense than their normal games. My problem with their work is often that the story and the gameplay don't mesh. In this game the story and the gameplay are one in the same. But unlike a game like Braid where the story is cleverly wrapped around the mechanics, in this game the gameplay feels like merely a way to get from one cutscene to the next. The challenge here comes not from intelligent scenarios requiring skill and strategy to overcome, but by putting a ridiculous number of enemies in front of you and having them do a ton of damage. Your only solution is to press forward and make sure bullet time is engaged. After all it will probably only be 30 seconds until another cutscene shows up.

I'll say again that I am enjoying Max Payne 3. It does go down easy. But I feel like I'm enjoying it in spite of the gameplay, not because of it. I love a good movie almost as much as I love a good game, but Dan Houser, as good a writer as he is, is no master screenwriter. If I want to watch a movie I'll go see a movie. When I play a game I want to do just that, play it. Watching cutscenes and holding down forward and right trigger are not what I call a game. That's called an interactive movie and I honestly am glad I didn't pay $60 to experience one of those.

#2 Edited by DharmaBum (1035 posts) -

It sounds like most of your frustrations are from how you are approaching the combat. It may seem tempting to stay in cover, but you should really be moving around in order to avoid damage. And by moving around I mean actively deciding when to trigger bullet time or the best direction to shootdodge (not just running out in the open without any awareness). Shooting while in cover is not the way to play this game, despite what you might be told from people around here. You’re right in that it really boils down to a few core mechanics at play, but there is quite a bit of finesse and strategy in planning out your moves to min/max your effectiveness.

Switch to free aim (and perhaps Normal) so it doesn’t feel like the game is playing itself. If it’s too hard to aim precisely, lower your sensitivity (but keep acceleration up) until you’re able to smoothly swipe the reticle over dudes’ heads while in slow-mo. I know it might seem counter to what Max Payne is all about if you can’t rapidly swivel around 360 degrees, but the game is very much designed for a gamepad - I've just finished my third run on Hardcore, free aim the entire way. To offset the lack of a mouse, try to keep enemies lined up in front of you so you can horizontally navigate/shoot without having to twitch around every which way.

Shootdodging is your best friend - always be shootdodging! You are literally invulnerable while in mid-air and have infinite bullet time this way. The key is to “leap-frog” from one position to the next, shooting as many dudes as possible in mid-air, and trying to land behind something safe so you can briefly survey the area within cover - then simply rinse and repeat. Regular bullet time can be useful once your adrenaline is full, but I think shootdodging should be your main tactic in every encounter (not just to be stylish, but for survival's sake). If there’s nothing safe nearby but you still need to take a dive, keep holding the stick in the same direction as you hit the ground so that Max keeps his momentum; he'll animate quicker back on his feet and be ready to go again.

#3 Edited by Frag_Maniac (107 posts) -

@Raven10 said:

There is no room for tactics in this game. There is always just one path to take and it is a very narrow path with a couple boxes thrown up to hide behind. What's more, the combat here basically plays itself if you set it to auto-aim. You can choose to manually aim, but how anyone could aim well enough to shoot grenades out of the air without help is beyond me. Maybe if I was playing with a mouse and keyboard but not with a 360 controller.

I had to stop reading at the above quoted point because it's so not true, but I do think you at least acknowledge that a part of what could be limiting you is using a gamepad. I have beaten the game on all difficulty levels, platinumed all Score Attack chapters, and have platinum up through chapter 5 on New York Minute so far and I am constantly finding new tactics. I'm also 54 and my reflexes aren't exactly that of a teenager anymore, so while it is a challenge, it's not an insurmountable one. I don't even use a modern gaming mouse. I have an old Logitech MX500 800 DPI mouse.

In my years gaming I've come to appreciate games that can be frustrating at first, but pay off in replay value and a sense of accomplishment once you hone your skills at them and find that zone of creativity that opens up your eyes to the possibilities. Clearly you need to start with a comfortable platform to play on though if you expect to do well. The levels are indeed laid out well and you can use them in many ways to your advantage. So many players just keep using shoot dodge only to find the game is not designed to allow you to use it exclusively with success.

There is far more variety and uniqueness to this game than some give it credit for. The ones that have played through it numerous times and challenged themselves at higher levels each run know that. Just the AI alone can be crafty and unpredictable with their positioning, and they don't just stand their like dummies and take shots when you're shooting at them, they often bob and weave a bit. Is it a linear shooter, of course, that is right in line with the previous two. Are you limited on tactics? The only limit by is one's own imagination and perhaps equipment.

#4 Edited by AGold (26 posts) -

I stopped reading when you said the game was too easy and played itself, but when you turned up the difficulty, it was just too hard! Give me a break dude. The game has a ton more options for adjusting the difficulty than most any other game I've ever played and your complaining that it's either too easy or just too hard. Fail.

#5 Posted by stinky (1543 posts) -

sounds like a fair assessment, sales back you up it seems.

me. i avoided the game. sure mechanically its fine, but it just seems so same old same from Rockstar which is "we're going to show you the gritty underside."

works for the first few times but i'd like something different from them, don't know what, but i'd love a game that i dont feel like i know all the beats to already before playing.

#6 Posted by TheHumanDove (2496 posts) -

I stopped when you said creative bankruptcy

#7 Posted by Th3_James (2576 posts) -

You can play that game like MP1&2 and be tactical like a motherfucker.

#8 Posted by me3639 (1705 posts) -

Well, as i tell all whiny bitches, start coding if you think you can do it better.

#9 Edited by squirrelnacho (329 posts) -

Yes, some of the levels did not feel well designed for the bullet-time mechanic.

#10 Posted by Raven10 (1691 posts) -

@Lebensbaum: @Frag_Maniac: @AGold: @Th3_James: I think you all are misinterpreting me. I don't think the game is too easy. I think the difficulty is just perfect where it is at. The plays itself complaint has more to do with the situations where the game literally takes control away from you during gameplay than the gunplay. Yes the auto-aim does do a lot of aiming for you, but that wasn't really my main complaint. I am terrible at console shooters. I have physical issues with tremors and visual perception disabilities so playing the game without auto aim isn't really an option for me. Most shooters do a good job at helping you aim without feeling like they are taking control away from you. The best feeling shooters on consoles for me are ones that manage to make me feel decent at the game without me feeling like I am not controlling what is going on. It's a hard balance but most games do it well enough that I can enjoy them without issue. And generally I play shooters on the PC if I am able so that I can use a mouse and keyboard. Being able to lay my hand on a flat surface reduces my tremors and lets my weak muscles respond more quickly to tough situations. But with a gamepad there is no way I could play this game without auto aim on. All that said, the auto aim is really a very minor complaint I have with the game. On the tactics side of thing, most of you seem to be referring to either reflexive skill or combat strategy. Both of these are different from tactics. A tactical game will let you set up a confrontation the way you want. It might let me snipe enemies from the roof, or use a tank to obliterate anything in front of me, or it may just give me a variety of unique weapons and let me defeat enemies using the ones I choose. In Max Payne you can decide when to dodge and when to roll and when to shoot dodge and so on. But those are decisions made after the battle starts, strategic decisions not tactical ones. I am not denying those types of decisions exist, although I argue that they are still limited as there are only a couple different types of weapons given to you in any level. I would consider a strategic and tactical shooter something like Halo. You have a wide variety of options on how to engage any situation and when you do you can choose from a variety of weapons and, in later games, abilities to fight the battle how you wish. In Max Payne I might choose whether to dodge left or right, or whether I need to use a pistol or shotgun, but those are very basic decisions, not the type of decisions I am referring to in my blog. Does that make more sense now?

#11 Posted by Raven10 (1691 posts) -

@me3639: Will do. While I honestly don't have the money to make a game on the same scale as Rockstar, I feel like I could make a game that is better than a Rockstar one. That is simply because I hate how Rockstar designs games. I think they are piss poor designers. I'm no master certainly, but I can think of a ton of developers who I would rate above Rockstar, especially if you don't take budget into account. If every developer had the same funding Rockstar does then there would be a lot more great games out there. But my hatred of Rockstar is the subject of another blog.

@TheHumanDove: So you only read the title and have no idea what the rest of my blog was about? If that is the case then why even comment on it at all? Maybe I said that Max Payne is one of the few games out there that isn't creatively bankrupt? Or maybe I said it was? I purposefully didn't title the blog "Rockstar is Creatively Bankrupt." If you disagree with my blog then feel free to say so. I often say unpopular things on forums and blogs. I don't do this for the popularity but to hear peoples' opinions on games. I would value your opinion as highly as I value the opinion of anyone who clearly states their opinion and backs it up with solid evidence. But if you just want to come on here and troll then go find some other site to heckle people on. If you actually have an opinion on what I said then share it. If not then please don't post in my threads anymore.

@stinky: I think this is one of Rockstar's better stories. My problem is more the sheer amount of cutscenes than their content. I honestly don't like the writing in a lot of Rockstar's games, but this one I think is fine. It's told better than most of their other games and it's well acted. I honestly think some people agree with me and others don't. Obviously most of the people who commented on this blog disagree with me but that is their right of course. I'm glad I got a discussion going at the very least.

#12 Edited by DharmaBum (1035 posts) -

@Raven10: I hear what you're saying, man. Truthfully I use the words tactical and strategic far too interchangeably, but I see the distinction you're trying to make. Although, you bring up an interesting comparison, because I do consider MP3 somewhat similar to Halo in terms of combat dynamics. People often refer to Halo's combat as a puzzle; outside the test of dexterity/reaction time, you're having to make other decisions in the back of your mind about how to best prioritize enemy placements, taking out shields first, using grenades on groups of dudes, etc. all while staying mobile and using the environment to your advantage. That's where the genius of Halo's sandbox comes into play whereby firefights always feel organic each time you play them.

But as you noted, there are far fewer things actually taking place at any given moment in MP3's combat. I do think it has a similar sense of a constantly shifting battleground that you must adapt to. AI behaviors seem more reactive to what I'm doing compared to most games - nothing close to how Elites behave in Halo mind you - but despite the relatively few options I have to work with, there's enough variety for me to want to replay the game. I find myself in that same focused mindset of thinking about where to dodge next for the most airtime and best angle to shoot. There are other thought processes that take place, but everything's second nature now and I play this game so recklessly, the most I ever really think about is where to dodge.

#13 Posted by Raven10 (1691 posts) -

@Lebensbaum: There is some strategy but I wouldn't call it on the same level as Halo, simply because, like you said, there are far fewer choices to make. You do have to choose where to position yourself both in terms of cover and obviously in terms of shoot dodging, but that is really the only choice you have to make. At times you can choose between a couple of weapons, but generally that choice comes down almost solely to the proximity of your enemies. Use a shotgun or SMG in closer range, or pistol or rifle in further. And each gun generally has the same effect. The only difference is damage potential. So basically you choose where to be and at times what to shoot, but those are very small choices in the grand scheme of things, and the what to shoot choice is often decided for you as you'll only have ammo for one or two weapons. The levels themselves are also much smaller than Halo or Battlefield, another often tactical and strategic shooter (not counting 3's campaign of course). Resistance 1 and 3 also have a lot of strategy because of the great number of weapons you can choose from and the vast differences between them. In Max Payne (all 3 games honestly) there just aren't a lot of options and combat comes down just as much to how accurate you are as it does to how you position yourself especially because the small size of each area means there are usually only a couple places to go in each one. To me that makes a less interesting game. I still have fun with this style of game (Call of Duty, Killzone, Gears, Medal of Honor are additional examples) but as far as being a good game from an objective standpoint I have to say that they just aren't as good. No tactics and little strategy means that these games are mainly a test of reflexes and honestly those to me are vastly less interesting than tests of the mind.

#14 Posted by TheHumanDove (2496 posts) -

@Raven10 said:

@me3639: Will do. While I honestly don't have the money to make a game on the same scale as Rockstar, I feel like I could make a game that is better than a Rockstar one. That is simply because I hate how Rockstar designs games. I think they are piss poor designers. I'm no master certainly, but I can think of a ton of developers who I would rate above Rockstar, especially if you don't take budget into account. If every developer had the same funding Rockstar does then there would be a lot more great games out there. But my hatred of Rockstar is the subject of another blog.

@TheHumanDove: So you only read the title and have no idea what the rest of my blog was about? If that is the case then why even comment on it at all? Maybe I said that Max Payne is one of the few games out there that isn't creatively bankrupt? Or maybe I said it was? I purposefully didn't title the blog "Rockstar is Creatively Bankrupt." If you disagree with my blog then feel free to say so. I often say unpopular things on forums and blogs. I don't do this for the popularity but to hear peoples' opinions on games. I would value your opinion as highly as I value the opinion of anyone who clearly states their opinion and backs it up with solid evidence. But if you just want to come on here and troll then go find some other site to heckle people on. If you actually have an opinion on what I said then share it. If not then please don't post in my threads anymore.

@stinky: I think this is one of Rockstar's better stories. My problem is more the sheer amount of cutscenes than their content. I honestly don't like the writing in a lot of Rockstar's games, but this one I think is fine. It's told better than most of their other games and it's well acted. I honestly think some people agree with me and others don't. Obviously most of the people who commented on this blog disagree with me but that is their right of course. I'm glad I got a discussion going at the very least.

I stopped at TheHumanDove

#15 Posted by ShaggE (6288 posts) -

I stopped reading at the end of the post.

#16 Posted by DJJoeJoe (1316 posts) -

The last game I played that had the slow time mechanic as a part of it's active gameplay was the last max payne, so I don't see how it's an 'average' game. It has a great score and the visuals are pretty great on all platforms, does some interesting things there with the drunk/pill induced visual stuff. Gameplay itself is a mix of the third person shooting standard for the previous payne games but built up in the Rockstar sensibilities, doesn't make for 'best in class' third person controls/action but it's easily the best Rockstar has done with controls in general I think... well maybe not as good as table tennis? maybe? lol.

My issue is replaying the game and 'trying' for some cheat unlocks I realise I have to watch all the cut scenes over again. you can skip the 'movie' parts but the in-engine parts are longer and unskippable... SUPER annoying when I run the game off an SSD and it seems the game just straight up won't allow you to just load up to the next gameplay section. Gameplay sections in general across the whole game are short really, kinda neat but never develop into anything noteworthy. Just kinda fine etc. The points made about the game not coming close to taking any sort of advantage of BULLET TIME are completely dead on, feels like yes you have bullet time and yes you sortta have to use it to live but it's not really promoted in any other way other than to slow things down while you get headshots. The older games were silly in that you'd jump straight into dudes, and you can do the same on the easy difficulty here, but it really feels like there must be a way to incorporate that into some well designed encounters. I think Rockstar tried a bit, with the set piece style moments of forced bullet-time when you slide down and get a head shot, or ride a chain up. Those are cool, but it would have been extra rad to see that kinda stuff in the active gameplay, also with longer gameplay sections as well.

#17 Posted by Raven10 (1691 posts) -

@DJJoeJoe said:

The last game I played that had the slow time mechanic as a part of it's active gameplay was the last max payne, so I don't see how it's an 'average' game. It has a great score and the visuals are pretty great on all platforms, does some interesting things there with the drunk/pill induced visual stuff. Gameplay itself is a mix of the third person shooting standard for the previous payne games but built up in the Rockstar sensibilities, doesn't make for 'best in class' third person controls/action but it's easily the best Rockstar has done with controls in general I think... well maybe not as good as table tennis? maybe? lol.

My issue is replaying the game and 'trying' for some cheat unlocks I realise I have to watch all the cut scenes over again. you can skip the 'movie' parts but the in-engine parts are longer and unskippable... SUPER annoying when I run the game off an SSD and it seems the game just straight up won't allow you to just load up to the next gameplay section. Gameplay sections in general across the whole game are short really, kinda neat but never develop into anything noteworthy. Just kinda fine etc. The points made about the game not coming close to taking any sort of advantage of BULLET TIME are completely dead on, feels like yes you have bullet time and yes you sortta have to use it to live but it's not really promoted in any other way other than to slow things down while you get headshots. The older games were silly in that you'd jump straight into dudes, and you can do the same on the easy difficulty here, but it really feels like there must be a way to incorporate that into some well designed encounters. I think Rockstar tried a bit, with the set piece style moments of forced bullet-time when you slide down and get a head shot, or ride a chain up. Those are cool, but it would have been extra rad to see that kinda stuff in the active gameplay, also with longer gameplay sections as well.

A ton of games have bullet time mechanics. The most recent one I can think of was Syndicate with the DART overlay. Playing as a soldier in Mass Effect 3 let you slow down time, and the FEAR games all have very prominent bullet time mechanics just to name a couple. I believe Bulletstorm used a similar effect when you used you whip ground pound. Not exactly the same in that case, but still slowed down time. I could go on. There are just a ton of examples. I agree with your second paragraph. I was getting at the same issue with the cutscenes showing up so frequently that it felt like you were never playing for more than 5 minutes at a time. Your last point I agree with 100%. The coolest parts of the game unfortunately are cutscenes ending in a slow motion shooting gallery. I really wanted to play those whole segments, not just fire a couple bullets at the end. And I wanted those segments to occur naturally in the course of gameplay, not at scripted moments. I don't think the combat is bad in Max Payne 3, it is just very simple and repetitive. They never add any new mechanics (at least not up to the point I'm at), there are almost no unique set pieces, and overall it feels like the game has shown you all of its tricks by the end of the second level. I'm starting to feel now (mid way through Part 3) that I just want this game to be over with. There is just not enough variety and the core gameplay just isn't deep enough to stay interesting for over 10 hours.

#18 Posted by krazy_kyle (716 posts) -

I think this game was mainly for the old fans of the Max series a bit more than newcomers. They mainly stuck with the old mechanics cuz they worked well and I'm glad they did.

#19 Edited by Frag_Maniac (107 posts) -

Some of the changes made are to better facilitate the new style. For instance being able to aim in a 360 degree radius when prone helps overcome the more advanced AI and farther distance between cover in some spots. I do wish they'd have incorporated roll into prone though. You CAN roll when prone, but it involves a slow tedious manual spin around with your aim and it can make you go a direction you don't want to. You can use it to get close enough to snap to cover without getting hit though if there's one or two enemies left and they're behind cover.

#20 Posted by Raven10 (1691 posts) -

@krazy_kyle said:

I think this game was mainly for the old fans of the Max series a bit more than newcomers. They mainly stuck with the old mechanics cuz they worked well and I'm glad they did.

I think the problem with that statement is that they changed the tone of the game so much that it is hard to get behind this as a Max Payne game. The writing is very obviously a Dan Houser script, not something from the writers at Remedy. I didn't play much of the second game, but the first managed to be gritty and dark without feeling quite as excessive as this game. The tone is honestly closer than I was expecting going into the game, but it still doesn't tonally feel like a Max Payne game. That's not a bad thing per say, but it does hurt the argument that they were attempting to appeal to Max Payne fans. Also, some of the mechanics in Max Payne the first were terrible. I still have nightmares about those stupid platforming segments. Seriously some of the worst platforming levels in the history of gaming. The shooting was very similar to this game, I agree, but games have evolved a lot in the past 10+ years. A lot of games have slow motion mechanics now and then combine those mechanics with a ton of other interesting abilities. I dunno. I think they could have kept the core gameplay from the earlier games, but found more ways to modernize it and add additional variety to it. Right now this game feels caught between modern level design and decade old mechanic design and it suffers because of it.

@Frag_Maniac said:

Some of the changes made are to better facilitate the new style. For instance being able to aim in a 360 degree radius when prone helps overcome the more advanced AI and farther distance between cover in some spots. I do wish they'd have incorporated roll into prone though. You CAN roll when prone, but it involves a slow tedious manual spin around with your aim and it can make you go a direction you don't want to. You can use it to get close enough to snap to cover without getting hit though if there's one or two enemies left and they're behind cover.

They definitely have made some changes to how the game plays compared to the first two. I think the key thing that makes this game feel the way it does is the Euphoria engine. Characters have very realistic physics and behave how you would expect, physically, to any situation. Compare this to the old games, and the character physics were much less accurate. Hell in the first game there were barely any physics simulation at all and Max Payne 2 was among the first games to use the Havok physics engine. I love how Max moves in this game. It's all just very fluid. Euphoria is a great tech and it lets Max do cool looking things like taking pain pills while diving and firing a pistol with his other hand. Great stuff and something that really makes the gameplay have a good feel to it. I think in a way the realistic movement is my favorite part of the game. It's definitely the most impressive tech on display and it makes the game play a lot better. It's a key example of superior graphics directly effecting gameplay.

#21 Posted by AlisterCat (5468 posts) -

@Raven10 said:

If I want to watch a movie I'll go see a movie. When I play a game I want to do just that, play it. Watching cutscenes and holding down forward and right trigger are not what I call a game. That's called an interactive movie and I honestly am glad I didn't pay $60 to experience one of those.

I feel the opposite. I think there is room for this kind of experience in the medium of games. The cinematic experience I get from Max Payne 3 is better than a substantial amount of films I've seen.

These games should exist, and are totally legitimate.

#22 Posted by mitsuko_souma (135 posts) -

tl;dr

#23 Posted by Frag_Maniac (107 posts) -

@Raven10 said:

Euphoria is a great tech and it lets Max do cool looking things like taking pain pills while diving and firing a pistol with his other hand.

You don't need Euphoria to do that, that's just a matter of how they animate the character. Euphoria mainly comes into play when bodies contact something due to it giving models actual skeletal systems that react naturally. Where this one gets funny is when you dive into another body and send them tumbling.

#24 Edited by BBQBram (2198 posts) -

Play it on at least hard with free aim enabled and then tell me it's not satisfying or tactical. Playing half the game on easy with auto-aim tells you nothing about the depth of combat so I can hardly take that criticism of the gameplay seriously.

#25 Posted by AssInAss (2523 posts) -

@AGold said:

I stopped reading when you said the game was too easy and played itself, but when you turned up the difficulty, it was just too hard! Give me a break dude. The game has a ton more options for adjusting the difficulty than most any other game I've ever played and your complaining that it's either too easy or just too hard. Fail.

The aiming sucks in Max Payne 3 on consoles. That's what makes it mostly hard. This has been echoed by many reviewers.

#26 Posted by Frag_Maniac (107 posts) -

@AssInAss said:

The aiming sucks in Max Payne 3 on consoles. That's what makes it mostly hard. This has been echoed by many reviewers.

Many "reviewers", or many players too inexperienced and/or uninspired to improve their tactics? As many say, one chooses their own system/controller, so don't blame the game, blame your choice of equipment.

I can show you vids of a guy that plays on the 360 and puts in pretty crap times his first attempt or two on New York Minute, but he always ends up finding ways to platinum them once he analyzes the possibilities.

#27 Posted by AssInAss (2523 posts) -

@Frag_Maniac said:

@AssInAss said:

The aiming sucks in Max Payne 3 on consoles. That's what makes it mostly hard. This has been echoed by many reviewers.

Many "reviewers", or many players too inexperienced and/or uninspired to improve their tactics? As many say, one chooses their own system/controller, so don't blame the game, blame your choice of equipment.

I can show you vids of a guy that plays on the 360 and puts in pretty crap times his first attempt or two on New York Minute, but he always ends up finding ways to platinum them once he analyzes the possibilities.

It's sluggish like RDR, and that game I was constantly going into bullet time to get headshots. Sure you could get better at it if you're a masochist, but going free aim in any Rockstar games has proven to be not fun. It was ok in those bigger games because you do much more, but in Max Payne all you're doing is the shooting.

That combined with the weighty Euphoria makes for less responsive combat compared to previous Max Payne games. I'm fine with Euphoria just placed on enemies (Force Unleashed) but the way Rockstar does it throws in player frustration along with the visual spectacle of enemy hit reactions.

#28 Posted by DharmaBum (1035 posts) -

@AssInAss: MP3 fixes the sluggish aiming issue that plagued other Rockstar shooters by adding an acceleration slider. Just takes some tweaking, but the aiming itself is remarkably improved from GTA or RDR. I still think the game was built with a controller in mind based on what I've heard about slow default mouse speed on PC. Trust me I've played free aim + controller the entire time with my own custom sensitivity and it controls as competent as any other TPS, save for Gears of course.

#29 Edited by Frag_Maniac (107 posts) -

It's hard to compare MP3's aiming to other shooters in general by using only a controller. Obviously the aim is designed around primarily gamepads, since consoles are the cash cow platform, but you don't really feel how much so until you play it with KB/M. That's when the frustration really becomes obvious.

Any Rockstar game feels very consolish compared to many other shooters, and it's not just the aim. A lot of it has to do with the very awkward camera spring while moving, which also affects aiming while moving. Also character movement tends involve clumsy turns vs being able to arc a smooth line.

It would be nice if Rockstar would step up out of the stone ages with aim, movement and camera tracking in their shooters. They cling to gamepads too much. I long for the day the gamepad is replaced with something much more efficient so those of us using KB/M don't have to pay for the flaws in it's design.

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