Noir under par
The dark comic-strip style of storytelling of the first two games has been replaced with almost Real Hustle-like multiscreen splits. Presumably this is an attempt to reconnect with its comic-strip roots, yet spruced up with animated cutscenes rather than static images. In the process, I feel it does lose some of its 'noir' but, fundamentally, this is still Max Payne, and boy is it back with a bang.
Max becomes Breaking Bad's Walt at one stage
There's also a video transition that feels overused and its blurry effects are a bit nauseating, although you eventually become accustomed to it. While the cut scenes are often long, you always feel connected with the story, ready at all times to get straight back into the action.
As expected, the gameplay is all about the bullet-time, diving in slow motion and watching shrapnel fly past while you put holes in your enemies. It can take a while to master the controls, particularly if you're used to playing Max Payne on a PC. However, once familiar, you'll be dodging bullets, flipping direction mid-air and taking cover with ease.
Shooting through time
That said, it's completely unforgiving, so you're unlikely to survive by diving into a room full of baddies gung-ho, nor does health replenish if you run and hide. Yep, in fine Max Payne tradition, you'll be hunting down and popping enough painkillers to pickle your liver thousands of times over.
It would have been nice for the surroundings to slow down bullet-time style as you change weapons, similar to the system used in The Witcher 2. Still, as you can only carry a maximum of three weapons at any given time, switching between them doesn't cause too much trouble once accustomed.
Crawl along the wall
Checkpoints eliminate the frustration of death anyway, as you'll generally start again at the beginning of a given shootout, correcting the mistakes you made last time around and taking additional care not to be showered with lead.
Next page: Wield those weapons
That's not Max Payne!
Max Payne looks more (or less) exactly like Sam Lake.
Max Payne was your average looking guy with a lean, even skinny, physique. That was part of the charm of the character, he wasn't the typical muscle bound, square jawed meat head of your typical action hero. The guy pictured in those screenshots looks nothing like Max. That's just lame.
Looking forward to the PC version
I pre-ordered the PC version on Steam last weekend, since they're throwing in MP1 and 2 as well, all for £29.99. I haven't played the first two in ages, so I think that will make a nice appetizer while we wait for 3. Hopefully the PC version will be even better than the console version.
No PC version at release? Did you forget which market gave this game its success? Or are you making sure we don't get another day-1 patch for the game as we did with Max Payne 1? (Which couldn't save games at release - no, really!)