NO PAYNE, NO GAIN!

The third person shooter category is not an easy one to nail. Even if you are a rockstar (sic) working on maximum pain (sic, again)! Jokes apart, we took Max Payne 3 for a ride recently (admittedly a bit late). Did it meet our expectations? Read on…

Max’s new avatar makes us think Rockstar may be planning to star Bruce Willis in the next Payne movie!
Source: Joystiq

Max is now older, more depressed, and slower — which, in fact, is a relief given that Rockstar hasn’t always been known for realistic scenarios (remember war tanks falling from the sky?). Max is now on a “protection” detail protection hapless, rich, spoilt brats with shady lineage.

Rodrigo Branco, Max’s employer, doesn’t make you like him — and you get a feeling Max is only trying to wipe off his demons by working for him. Things take a turn for the worse when Rodrigo’s trophy wife, Fabiana, is kidnapped on Max’s watch.

The cut scenes, once you get over their long-winded nature, are an essential component of the game and provides you with an insight into Max’s psyche. They hold the story tightly wound. That said, at some points it does seem like a bit too much — as an ardent Call of Duty and Battlefield fan (yes, there are people who like both!), I like to climb my own ladders and really don’t appreciate having control taken away from me when I need to do something as mundane as climbing a ladder.

The gameplay is relatively smooth too. At times though, you may feel under-weaponed: we have had to empty almost two magazines into a single enemy even when we are shooting straight into him. Our advice: aim for headshots. Like all third person shooters, Max Payne 3 isn’t without it’s share of glitches: for instance, once while we were crouching behind a barrier, Max decided it was time to swim — the ground beneath him turned into water and he struggled to keep floating eventually giving up and deciding to restart the game instead! We have seen such instances in other popular games too, so we aren’t complaining too much (on that note, also check out our picture of FIFA playing on Modern Warfare 3)!

Unlike Ghost Recon and a few other third person shooters, you can’t shift seamlessly from one crouching position to another without getting up first. That typically puts you out there to be shot to smithereens. I really like how Ghost Recon allows you to do a crouch-run from one location to another — but that’s for another story.

Bullet Time: Killing in style never goes out of fashion in Payneland.

Max’s signature moves — Bullet Time and Shoot Dodge — are easy to master and, as always, fun to execute. Max does not regenerate life when shot, the only way to recover is through vials of painkillers that you may (or most likely, may not) find during regular gameplay. In our opinion, it makes the gameplay more exciting (and longer).

The single player runs about 8-10 hours, but you won’t really feel like it has been that long (unless you get some at some point you just can’t get out of!).  The Arcade mode is pretty interesting too — especially New York Minute with its Eagles-esque name, where you are timed to 5 mins of life and are supposed to kill enemies to keep the clock running.  Reminds me of the movie In Time.

The multiplayer is not at all the failure I imagined it might be! You have to first start with noobish Deathmatches but can unlock more modes as you go along.  Gang Wars tries to weave some story-line into the multiplayer mode, which is an unusually tough thing to do.  You have a different objective in each of four different rounds: from eliminating a key enemy (Gears of War 3 style) to claiming territory (Battlefield 3 style).  Multiplayer seems like a whole lot of fun, even though many Battlefield fans will tend to disagree (but hey, that isn’t a fair comparison, right?).

What were your experiences with Max Payne 3?  If you haven’t played it yet, or are on the fence with if you want to invest in it — then we have some great new preowned options for you too! Check out the links below:

Pre-owned: Max Payne 3

XBOX:  http://bit.ly/KBEDee

PS3:  http://bit.ly/LQIVki

New: Max Payne 3

XBOX: http://bit.ly/LQJkmM

PS3: http://bit.ly/LQJj2n

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GAMES FROM 2011 YOU SHOULD NOT MISS: PART I

You have to admit, the year 2011 has been like no other when it comes to gaming.  There have been great games in every genre that has revolutionized how we think of gaming.  Further, a new genre of (ahem) casual gaming has been defined by multiple motion gaming releases, games the true core gamer would not have considered otherwise but is now willing to throw caution to the winds and play a bit of bowling over beer with friends!  We compiled this list of games that we were glad to have played this year.  This is, by no means, an exhaustive list, and is also the first of our multi-part series of articles.

Third-Person Shooter:  Gears of War 3

Join Marcus Fenix in his search to rescue his father

Now what gamer is not a fan of the ultra-adrenaline junkie that is Marcus Fenix, with arms the size of Bollywood damsels in distress!  In Gears of War 2, Marcus and his faithful friend Dom battle hordes and hordes of Locusts to save the last city of Jacinto.  Gears 3 is very similar to the legend of Gears 2, with a lot more style and polish.  Every movement appears more distinct, more pronounced, every shade of color a bit easier to look at.  The storyline still attempts a good bit of emotional ups and downs, but only as much as a Rambo-like character can pull off.  Gears 3 starts with a surprising twist to the story: Marcus’ dad is still alive! In this season though, audience favorite Dom takes a plunge at the invaders with a truck load of explosives and lays down his life for his squad.   Four-player cooperative campaigns and new multiplayer modes also makes Gears 3 a sweet game to play online against teenagers high on coke (the cola variety, of course!).

First-Person Shooter:  Battlefield 3

Take a moment to admire the power of Frostbite 2

Ok, I will go ahead and say it.  I am a Battlefield fan and no, I don’t think Modern Warfare 3 sucks.  Both are great games, but I am going to write about BF3 because I am the one with the laptop right now.  EA’s Frostbite 2 engine’s capabilities really shine through in this edition of Battlefield.  The level of detail that this engine manages to add to the campaign is immaculate.  A scene where you turn around from crossfire to notice a helicopter flipping in mid-air, only to have a 80 storey building come crashing on it, provides you with a sense of awe.  The enormity and mammoth-scale of it all makes you sit up and notice.  The storyline itself is much more predictable than BF2: Bad Company and follows the usual formulaic components of Russians, nuclear weapons, and middle eastern rogue regimes. But that isn’t what puts BF3 on our map, it is the multiplayer action that this game brings to us.  The MP action is almost like a different game and allows you to do a lot of different things you wished the campaign would (e.g., not making you wait for that exact moment so you can hit X to score that perfect punch on the enemy’s face!).

Sports:  FIFA12

Enter a whole new world of tactical defending

It is difficult to be a core gamer and not like the FIFA franchise.  The biggest change EA delivered on its franchise is augmented defensive plays.  Tactical defending provides a lot more realistic feel to the game, allowing you to contain, marshall, and jockey your opponents.  On the other hand, precision dribbling now allows you to keep the ball with you longer…once you have figured it out!  The last thing that makes the FIFA12 experience stand out is the Player Impact Engine, which — like the name suggests — makes for better collisions.  Each player’s “mass” and angle of impact (among other things) are taken into account to simulate collisions that are as close to the real thing as current technology can get.  So this legend is another game that you must possess.

These are only three games to feature on the first of our series.  Within the genre’s above, what other games do you think should make the cut?  Crysis 2? Deus Ex: Human Revolution? Uncharted 3?  Post your comments below to let us know!