House of Payne – Story Mode


It has been another lengthy time between posts, surely we will get the hang of this eventually right? I would like to promise that our frequency of posts will increase to keep all 11 of you readers happy, but that would lead to the inevitably awkward situation whereby we don’t pull our weight, then the whole pressure of running a barely read blog will get to us and the ‘inner underachiever’ will take the reins and we will shut this whole show down. Basically just be grateful you only have to stomach these posts on a monthly basis.

With that said I do have a couple of things to say regarding my gaming life so I have a couple of posts to put up so there will be plenty of bullshit for you guys to read (and hopefully comment on?)

So first things first, Max Payne 3. For those who don’t know the rather disheveled gentleman above is the protagonist in the aforementioned game. As the ‘3’ suggests this is indeed the third installment in the Max Payne series but the first one made by the digital juggernaut Rockstar Studios, which for the record I am a bit of a Rockstar fan-boy because to me I really don’t think they can put a foot wrong, prepare to witness my nose become considerably browner as I pucker up and praise their fine work.

Click Here for The History of Max Payne

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Hopefully you now have a better idea of what our ‘hero’ is all about we can move onto this latest title. Now Rockstar with each passing game have really upped the ante when it comes to presenting a cinematic experience, with LA Noir pushing those boundaries to their limits, until now. From the moment that disc tray closes and you have got past the all too familiar Rockstar logo this game does everything it can to immerse you and cast you in the role of Max. From the first cutscene to the menu system which reflects where you are in the game, it all makes the experience that much richer. I do somewhat hesitate to label them as just cutscenes as this suggests a disconnect from the gameplay, in fact these moments are interwoven so frequently and liberally throughout each level and in this way help drive the story. Couple this with the constant inner monologue Max is having, Rockstar really do illustrate the dry humoured tormented character that Max is.

As you would expect from any games developer of this stature the score to the game is well executed, heightening the desperate gun battles and accentuating the tension in between each encounter.

As for actual gameplay the AI are pretty decent although so far haven’t demonstrated a vast repertoire of responses. Difficulty wise I have no complaints, I stuck to the suggested settings which is no walk in the park (unlike 50% of GTA missions) as I have died a number of times but it’s never provoked one of those ‘rage quit’ moments, my controller / television / sanity are still intact (though there has been one or two frustrated neanderthol shouts, but again this is minimal).

Like GTA there are collectibles to be found and like LA Noire there are clues to be inspected, this offers some replay value if like me you didnt google it before hand or check the achievements and start getting these on your first play-through.

Before I move on to the good stuff there is one personal drawback I would like to highlight, which I don’t think really takes away from the game but every so often I wish was there. If you have played LA Noire and marveled at its face capture technology and want more don’t expect it here because you will cry a bit if you do. Since that was the last Rockstar game I played I set the bar as “that surely must be what they are going to do on every game”, I was wrong. I can understand why they haven’t done it with all the resources and how many discs the game would end up being etc but on the odd occasion when looking at the faces of the characters I obviously felt they were a little on the stiff side.

Right moving on, sorry to have bored you with, lets face it, a bit of a dry look at this game so far. Blah Blah Cutscenes – Bullshit about Music – yada collectibles who gives a fuck. What you want to hear about is this game’s massive gonads and thats when you get to shoot the shit out of bad guys. In Their FACES!

So if you have played pretty much any Rockstar game then you know the score; take aim, fire, watch the bodies drop. It’s a pretty fluid and effective auto aiming system although does occasionally suffer at locking on to the wrong target, something which has improved on previous games but does cause the odd headache. Cover system is fairly standard procedure too and works well enough but hang around too long and your cover can be blown to bits fairly quickly, when that happens you know you are being a bit of a pussy and you need hurry up shoot those fucks.

So this all sounds fairly run of the mill but its the incorporation and combination of two other features which amp up the awesome levels here. Firstly the ‘Bullet Time’ feature as seen in previous Max Payne’s and more recently Red Dead Redemption whereby you can slow down time and lay waste to your enemies is always a welcome feature, especially when there is a dedicated button (I call the ‘gives me a bit of blood flow button’) which initiates this slow motion whilst you dive sideways and allows you to blast your foes in the style of any number of 80s action heroes.

The second feature however really makes the expenditure of life worth it. Again its a function that has been in seen throughout the GTA series, you may remember the slow motion camera angle drive by you could initiate when cruising in your stolen vehicle of choice. Now take that feature and instead of a vehicle its a bullet heading toward the last poor sap standing, passing through him in an almost lazy manner, followed by vats of blood-spray just hanging in the air in globules for an eternity as the poor nameless henchman’s body slumps slowly to deck. When you get your first headshot you will we wish you could do it with every man you down, its pretty damn satisfying and extremely brutal and I should probably revel in these moments a lot less than I do.

Undoubtedly alot of the stuff you see in Max Payne 3 you will have seen before in other titles, whether they be Rockstar produced or from another developer, however what I think defines this game from those that have come before it is the painstaking polish that seeps from it’s every pore. You can forgive the odd aiming issue and the occasional cardboard facial expression because this title oozes a special kind of authenticity. It’s been whittled into something beautiful to behold and it makes you want to know more about the protagonist in such a way that only very few games (not made by Rockstar) accomplish.

It may not be a revolution in the way Rockstar make games by any stretch, but why change direction when these are the results.

 

Right well the got a bit long and I haven’t even talked about ¬†arcade or multiplayer. There may or may not be a part 2, depends if I can be arsed, thanks for making it this far.

 

One thought on “House of Payne – Story Mode

  1. You posted again! Allright!

    I have never really been a Rockstar fanboy. I really enjoyed each iteration of GTA but they could never hold my attention for more than a week or so as I could never enjoy a mission. They were always complete sandpit games for me. I’m a big fan of running around a virtual city and causing Mayhem but I have absolutely no desire to be a virtual crime boss. In truth I have far too much fun chasing pedestrians around with a baesball bat to ever achieve anything in those games.

    I’m more of a crime idiot in heart I think.

    Two Rockstar games have captured me recently though and that’s Red Dead Redemption and LA Noir. The first of those games I received as a gift. I had no desire to play Grand Theft Horsey but I’m always pleased to get a game as a gift and I thought I’d get a few weeks of fun out of it chasing people with a laso rather than a baseball bat.

    I was wrong.

    The story in that game is so absorbing! I’d always had a soft spot for a cowboy film and now I was controlling the protagonist of a FANTASTIC one. The truth is it’s the best Western I had seen in ages and I almost 100%ed it (I am not collecting each species of flower multiple times. I hate pointless fetch quests. My John Marsten was not obsessed with botany!).

    LA Noir captured my imagination in a similar way. I liked how I could play it as a TV show in small bite sized sessions each with it’s own smaller story arc that fitted in to the larger over arching story.

    It should be obvious by now that I have never played a Max Payne game. I don’t actually get that many games as I prefer to find one that I can get addicted to for a number of years (HALO!). Also If I see a man in a contemporary setting holding a gun on the cover, I lose all interest. It was never a Genre or setting that held much interest for me. Put a space ship or a lazer on there! I… obviously have reality issues. I need to escape as far as possible from modern day real world stuff in my free time.

    I do enjoy taking a peek at the larger gaming world through more knowledgeable eyes though. So I look forward to seeing more of your guys takes on things!

    Sorry for the ridiculously long comment.

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