Are you a rebel? No? Okay then you can read this if you want to then. I am a gamer. Yep and that is pretty much it.
In all seriousness I am a guy that plays games more than 40 hours a week and still holds a full time job. I love gaming of all kinds (literally) and I love to write about games and make videos of myself either playing games or talking about them. It is kind of my entire life really...Is that sad?!? Oh well I am proud to be pathetic :D
My last post seemed to stir up a little controversy. I read all the responses and I appreciate the counter points and criticisms you guys threw in there. Still however my opinions are my own and I only use this blog as a soapbox to speak my mind in both good and bad. Now onto this past year...
The year started off like so many other years...slow. In January there was only one game I played and that was a title from the previous year, To The Moon. Since To The Moon was released on Steam for the first time this year I am going to put it on my GOTY list for 2012. It was my favorite game from the early part of this year and easily finds its way to my list. The following month we saw the following releases - Darkness II, Kingdoms of Amalur, Shank II, Twisted Metal, Syndicate, SSX and Binary Domain, plus many more that I am not mentioning since I didn't play them. Of those games I barely spent much time with any of them since they were all pretty average. I was pretty excited to see what they were going to do with Syndicate too. I was hoping for Deus Ex only to be sorely disappointed.
March was the biggie though right? I mean Mass Effect 3 was being hyped like the second Star Wars trilogy. Sadly the comparisons between the two don't stop there... Yes the ending of Mass Effect 3 both before the redux and after upset me greatly only to further my anger by hearing later on in the year that the series was in fact not over and another Mass Effect was indeed in production. I am not going to get to deep into it since I have already done so but yeah ME3 needless to say does not go on my list. Still though there are two games from March that do reach my GOTY list and those are Sine Mora and Journey. Journey is just that and Sine Mora is blast from the past in the best way. It much like Jamestown before it brings shoot em ups to a new level and I hope to see more from both companies.
April had FTP gems Blacklight Retribution and Tribes Ascend which are games I did enjoy but do not earn a spot on my GOTY list. The games that do however are Fez and The Walking Dead. The latter of which can earn 5 spots on my GOTY list but I will just keep them as one. Fez on the other hand is an experience that more gamers need to enjoy. It is a brain scrambler that will have you up for hours solving puzzles. The month of May was all about Max Payne 3 and Diablo III for me. Both of which earn their way onto my list. One other game to note that I enjoyed was Sniper Elite V2. It was far from a perfect game but I enjoy games of its kind that add the element of choosing/creating your path to the end of the level. June was the end of the 2nd quarter and the only game of note that I can think of was one that almost made my list, Spec Ops The Line. Spec Ops The Line was this years Warhammer Space Marine for me. It was a 3rd person FPS that had a unique look and a decent story. Still though not enough to get on my GOTY list.
The second half of the year started off as slowly as the first. The only game I partook in July was Orcs Must Die 2. It was a fun game but only served as a minor distraction for me. Then I was blown away in August by the release of Sleeping Dogs. It was GTA meets Assassins Creed in all the right ways. The city felt more alive than most games of its kind and it had some pretty sweet graphics. It easily finds its way very high up on my list along with other August releases Dark Souls and Guild Wars 2. Guild Wars 2 in fact was the MMO that broke my 3 year old no MMO boycott and took a lot of hours of my life away. September has 3 games that I put on my GOTY list - Torchlight II, Black Mesa, and Borderlands 2. Of those 3 the biggest accomplishment was from the Black Mesa team that reintroduced us to the most important FPS ever released, Half Life. They did such a fantastic Job with Black Mesa.
The last couple of months though really have defined this year. The cleanest releases of this entire generation. Games that push the aging platforms to their limits and produce some of the best experiences this entire generation. NBA 2K13 is one of the only sports franchises to have made significant enhancements year over year and 2K13 stands as the best example of video game sports this entire generation and perhaps maybe ever. Dishonored filled the void that was left when Bioshock Infinite was pushed back to 2013. X-COM Enemy Unknown brought the tactical genre to a level never seen before. Need For Speed Most Wanted blended my two favorite arcade racers (Burnout Paradise and Need For Speed Hot Pursuit) into one. Assassins Creed III is the first AC that I have enjoyed since ACII and features one of my favorite open worlds ever. Halo 4, what hasn't been said. 343 has made the best Halo since the original from 2001. Black Ops 2 was the game that entering the holiday season I was least excited for. At the end of the day though It wasn't too bad and though not as revolutionary as COD4 was is the best entry since that title in the COD franchise (It has also solidified the Black Ops series next to the Modern Warfare series as their own COD entities).
Just two games left and these two just may be my favorites overall. Hitman 2 and Far Cry 3. Hitman is a series that goes back a long time for me. Hitman Codename 47 was the game that I used to show off to my friends that didn't have gaming PC's back in the day. It has remained one of my favorite franchises up there with Half Life and Elder Scrolls. The latest release is by far the most advanced and yet it is streamlined. It is a perfect example for a developer to see how to properly make a game less complicated and still have a challenge. Then there was Far Cry. Another series that I have loved since the days of Crytek. Far Cry 3 blends the best from the previous two games and propels video game graphics to the most advanced they have ever been. I think this one officially steals the title away from my previous title holder, The Witcher 2. Far Cry 3 was a game that before its release I was starting to have serious doubts about. It also prompted me to write this blog. I had not played it as of the writing of my previous and very dark blog post. It just goes to show you that after 20+ years of gaming that I still get surprised every now and again.
To summarize my list in its entirety I first must mention that there is no winner since all the games I mention are very unique. They are all games that I will gladly recommend to anyone that has any interest in gaming. Here is the entire list in Picture form.
To The Moon
Journey (minus Steve Perry)
The Walking Dead 1-5
Max Payne 3
Guild Wars 2
X-Com Enemy Unknown
NFS Most Wanted
Assassins Creed III
COD Black Ops 2
Far Cry 3
That's it overall this was a pretty good year for gaming. I have listed over 20 games that I believe defined our industry in 2012. Thanks for reading guys!
There was a time not too long ago in the gaming world that developers were very much like explorers. Searching for new things and creating some of the most beloved franchises to ever grace our screens. Over time a lot of those franchises flames have since burnt out, only to be resurrected of course in the form of a FPS. In this time the big gaming super giants were formed and though over the years we would tease about it, they really were the evil empires of the video game world. Now in order for these devs to stay in business they needed to produce numbers. This numbers world we currently live in is not only a slight to developers but to us gamers as well. Social integration, holding the players hand throughout the game as if we were all 5 years old, oh and my personal favorite raping franchises that once meant so much to me and my friends. These are all things we have to deal with today. A time I may add where our technology could greatly benefit from some of the previous eras explorers.
Now not all is bad and I will be the first person to admit this. You still have all the basics in place just as before. A console war between 3 very different platforms oh and that nifty little PC audience I have been almost exclusive to for the better part of a decade. You do have your rogue devs too that mostly exist in the indie gaming market. Are they the ones that will help see us through the dark times? I don't know honestly. The indie scene is still very small and without any triple A title integration it seems unlikely. Remember companies like EA spend more than most indie devs collect from game sales on ads alone. You know all those flashy Black Ops 2 commercials featuring celebrities and sports stars. In order to create a game like Black Ops 2 takes just over a year and 100 staffers. The result is not always bad but these annualized franchises almost always lack ingenuity and feel more like a rehash with a fresh coat of paint. The old adage if it ain't broke don't fix it. Anyone remember Mario? Almost every major release has been unique over these now nearly 30 years. 8 bit to 16 bit to 3D to motion controlled. I am not saying that is the only way you do things but it is a good example of where old school developers do things differently to the end users benefit and keep us wanting more.
I think my real disdain though has come from this past generation. For the exception of technological growth and some developers like Rockstar and Naughty Dog to name a couple. Everything else either died out or got bought up. Bioware will NEVER be Bioware again!!! Mark my words. Maybe there is hope in the next generation. Maybe there are some new franchises that will capture that warmth I remember from playing games like Battletoads and Zelda. Maybe not though. Maybe this is me growing out of it. I am 26 now and new first time dad. Maybe it is time to hang up the controller once and for all. I never could though really. I don't think I will ever be able to avoid all video games. I will always have the need to at least sample the new offerings. It seems that is what I do with most of the games I ever get though. I only complete about 25% of the games I play today. That would ludicrous to a younger me and absolutely unacceptable. I have a feeling that kid would hate me actually. I won't tie the noose just yet but if this next generation breeds anything as generally stagnant as the previous it will truly spell the death of a gamer.
This summer hasn't been very eventful. I dabbled in some DLC, tried to get back into Skyrim unsuccessfully, and ultimately have not played an awful lot of good games. The month of August held hope though. Dark Souls was coming to PC and I already had my copy pre-ordered and there was another title that used to be a True Crime game. Now If you are unaware of the True Crime series, you are lucky. The first True Crime game was advertised and sold to us as an ultra-realistic GTA open world style game set in an exact street for street replica of LA. Oh and Christopher Walken was in it. I like so many others bought the game well before any reviews had hit the streets. After 1 hour in the game I knew I had been had. It was garbage, pure and absolute garbage. A child could have written a better story, the scaled city of LA was big, but lifeless and colorless and overall the game was very disappointing. I never got around to playing the sequel and regardless of hearing some unique things about how the world changed based on your actions, I still had that first games shitty taste in my mouth and passed. Years later True Crime : Hong Kong was cancelled and I just thought the world had escaped another crappy game, yay! Then Square came out and said NOOOO!!! This is a good game and we must salvage it and we will call it Sleeping Dogs. I honestly have avoided press since that announcement and again passed it off. Then the buzz began, great reviews, a ton of ads, oh and blog after blog about how amazing it is. So I bought it, and ummm yeah it is utterly fantastic.
Open world GTA style sandbox games really have been coming out in droves lately. Some really good and some not so great. Sleeping Dogs is not only one of the really good ones, it is the best one to date! Yes I said it, I enjoy this game more than Red Dead. RDR is my all time favorite Rockstar game and right up at the top list of my all time favorite games period. Sleeping Dogs in a matter of days has surpassed it, how??? ACTION, ACTION, ACTION!!! While the Rockstar style focuses primarily on semi-realistic gameplay, Sleeping Dogs just wants you to be an ultimate bad ass. Your main character, Wei, shares a lot of the same abilities that Rico from the Just Cause series. Unlike Just Cause though there is a greater focus on realism, it really is a perfect blend of arcade and realism. Then you also have to factor in the world. Hong Kong is amazing! The world itself is filled with more life than any other sandbox game I have ever played. The character of the city is just as vital as Wei himself. Walking down any alleyway is fraught with people looking for help or just looking to con you. It is just alive and that is the biggest difference from your standard aimless pedestrians you find in so many other games like it. I liken it to Mafia 2 in some ways. The 2nd mission when you are arriving home and you walk down the alley and run into people from your past and hear couples fighting and yada yada, only that was scripted for a specific scene. In Hong Kong you find this throughout the game and in great quantity. Bottom line it is very easy to get lost in.The radio is filled with both Chinese and proper British voiced English ads and djs. The game itself doesn't have the light-hearted feel of GTA (did i just say that?). There is not nearly as much humor to be found in the story or the radio broadcasts, which is welcome change since to me that will always be Rockstar territory and not one to compete with. Instead you get a very heavy story and one that will interest you if you are into action movies in general. The entire game is one that needs to be noted by other Devs and for good reason.
Combat is intense
After putting a couple dozen hours into Sleeping Dogs I realized, its the little things that count. When I get into a fight and I take a beating my character is visually cut up. I can control the radio volume by holding the d-pad left or right. When I hold my phone and try to walk and control it I have as little coordination as I do in real life. So many little pointless things that immerse the player into the world. It is not perfect and that's the major point that devs can really learn from this. The lack of polish gives gamers a unique flavor to try as opposed to the same ole bland shit we all too often digest. Trying new things is what our industry is supposed to be about, however I have played more rehashed shit this year then I can name.
16 year old me would love this game
I am 26 years old and my tastes in games are changing. I find myself enjoying most games less and less. Your standard level based action/adventure just isn't cutting it anymore. Granted there are exceptions. Max Payne 3, Space Marine, and Shadows of the damned are few I can think of. Then there are games like The Legend of...*cough* I mean Darksiders 2. I played about 4 hours of that game and I really...didn't care. It bored me. I knew what was going to happen. Wander the map, find a dungeon, get a new power, kill a boss, repeat. Don't get me wrong it is a very well put together game, it just is far too didactic for me today. When I was 16 I would have had a marathon probably.
The future is pretty wide open for gaming I'd say. The medium for entertainment in general is extremely wide open due to expanding technology of course. As this current generation dies off the next generation has a lot of work to do. As a PC gamer primarily It is hard to really pin a generation leap. The last leap we had was 2004 with Half-Life 2 and Farcry. 8 years later and counting I am still waiting for that next awe inspiring creation. Code was found for Source Engine 2 in the Source Filmaker lines of code and that is very exciting. I am curious on what its going to be and yet as the next console generation nears I am not very excited. Remedy released a statement that the next generation of consoles is going to be a "quantum leap". Really? What cards are Sony and Microsoft holding that could impress me at this stage in the game? Does the console talk to you? Know you by name? All kidding aside the future of gaming is going to be very interesting and I am looking forward to seeing that.
Final Fantasy VII is a game that has been debated down to its very core. At one time it was the most celebrated and loved RPG ever made. Nowadays the "cool" kids like to call it for its short comings and are more likely to nominate FFVI or even FFIV over it. Whatever your personal preference it really doesn't matter. The simple fact is that Final Fantasy VII is the most discussed and the most widely known game in the Final Fantasy universe. I would even go as far to say the most discussed JRPG of all time. If your an JRPG fan you have probably played it and whether you liked it or not it is still the most popular Final Fantasy of all time. Now that I got that out of the way. This is my favorite turn based rpg of all time (and trust me kids, I have played quite a few). Aside from my personal feelings towards this game I wanted to make this post as non-biased as I possibly could. I really wanted to point out why Square is making a big mistake on not remaking this game.
The first thing I wanted to talk about is the materia system and why it is my favorite of all FF systems. The simple concept of practice makes perfect is exactly what the materia system is all about. Buy or pick up a materia, use it, level it, master it. There is no junctioning, no grids, just a simple practice makes perfect. You can set up your character in a multitude of ways and if half way through the game you want to ditch your build, go and pick up some new materia and grind it up! It really is simple enough for a 1st grader to figure out and a key reason why Square should be reproducing it. The younger generations out there are most likely not going to turn to a 15 year old game that features very crudely animated blocks that spew out endless amounts of text. Not saying some won't and if you avoid the game for those reasons you have made a grave mistake. I'm just saying that kids today are spoiled with their fancy HD graphics and their hoola hoops and Dan Fogelberg...but i digress.
The second thing is probably the most debated subject when referring to FFVII, the story...I'm not saying that it is the greatest written work of all time. Yes it is very convoluted, yes it can be very immature and sappy, and yes it is one of my favorite stories! I'm not going to dive into it but FFVII has a very long and robust story with many different characters being spotlighted. Cloud is an awesome lead, not my all time favorite (MR. FREEMAN) but when it comes to Japanese developed games he is one of my favorites. There is a lovers triangle and a bulk of other side characters that all have intriguing back stories. In my opinion the PSX era of FF games was the last great era of Squares story telling. Everything post 9 (and yes even 10 @|) left me unamused and actually quite bored. Final Fantasy XIII and its sequel featured a better story than the previous few but still nothing caught me like the old days. Square has outright said that they will not make an FFVII remake until they produce a better game. Your track record is pretty slim there Square and I don't see that happening anytime soon.
Lastly I wanted to talk about grinding and how they can improve it. Now dare I say that they change anything about the original? I do!!! Streamlining the leveling system is the first thing I would tackle in the remake. Now I know I mention grinding a couple paragraphs ago in regards to leveling materia and honestly I see no other way to do that without making the experience trite. In the motion of the story though having to go off for 2-4 hours to grind to a level just to be able to handle a boss is passe now. Dynamic leveling seems to a perfect fit here. If you want to explore DO IT!!! It will always reward you in some way. If you want to punch the gas and drive straight to the final battle, DO IT!!! Whatever your play style the game should give you the option. The last final change I would make to Final Fantasy VII would be to add visible mobs like the past couple of games have. No more squibbly screen and boom battle. Instead picking your fights through the different maps.
That's it! Slap on a pretty coat of paint and hire some good voice actors and your done 9/10 (if not better). I promise the game would sell and dammit I pray it would also help the team to realize their mistakes over the past decade. Do I think any of this will happen? Not really but you know we gamers have spoken out loud at many things in the past couple years with success. I know were yelling but maybe, just maybe if we yell a little louder. They will hear us. I say we start an AVALANCHE of our own and march to Tokyo. AND FORGET YOUR DAMN MONEY!!!
When I play games, I live them. Video games are my escape from the real world. Some would jump on that and say there is something wrong with you. I would look them straight in the eye and say, I don't give a flying fuck! It is my life and I choose to live it how I want. Sadly though most video games lack emotional attachment. Being entertainment no different from movies or books, the bulk falls into being cliche, derivative, skin deep, numb, or in some cases all of the above. Don't get me wrong I, like most people, have no problem gobbling dots on a board with a little yellow guy chasing ghosts. Of course I tell myself that Pac Man is actually pill popping and chasing his demons away (j/k :P) Game development has come of age though. Nowadays some 40 years after the worlds first true video game company, Atari, was officially born, we have tools to make games a little bit deeper and more intellectually stimulating. In comes companies like Bioware.
Now I have talked about them before and I do only because of their amazing record in game development. In the past year though they have been steadily losing their street cred. Their legacy though hit its pinnacle with 2007s Mass Effect. It was an advantageous undertaking to say the least but when it was released it peaked many peoples curiosity. When you go out on a limb and announce a trilogy of such epic proportions your inevitably going to fail in some peoples eyes. You know there are only going to be 3 of this and that final plot point may not play out the way you want it to. When ME3 was over the outcry could be heard well past the Terminous system and far beyond our own galaxy. ME3's ending was atrocious! I sat unknowingly of what was about to come in the last 15 minutes I had with my game with my head cocked sideways, my mouth hung open and my brain evacuating brain cells like they were going out of style. I was livid and I along with many signed a petition to have the ending altered.
I chose the only logical ending in my mind, synthesis. To take over the reapers obviously meant renegade and evil so I avoided that one. The other option of destroying all synthetic life was still destruction. I didn't risk life and limb in the game to save Legion only to destroy his kind, even if it meant destroying the reapers. The only option that made sense was using my own energy to bring together organic and synthetic. It was almost poetic and something I truly saw my Commander Shepard doing. However all you get is a scene of Joker trying to outrun an energy wave and winding up on a foreign planet with obvious synthetic influence running through his body. Then the rest of the crew pours out with all of them showing the same synthetic patterns in their flesh. Whoopdi fuckin doo! Oh and the grandfather and his his grandson talking about the endless stars, blah blah FUCK THAT!!! It was like they thought we were all dumb. Let's go ahead and try our best to not tie up the ending in any way whatsoever. Stranding thousands of ships and hundreds of thousands of people in a galaxy that is already becoming baron of resources. Whatever happened to Wrex and his baby? What about Javik? All the systems that I fought for, for the last 5 years??? WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM!!!???!!! Well Bioware did us a solid...sort of.
That right up there that is my new synthetic ending. It does a better job of tying up the loose ends, but more importantly it has a specific scene honoring Shepard and the rest of the fallen. The plaque on the Normandy grew increasingly throughout the game honoring the fallen. Every time I saw that board on the ship I would see names like Ashley Williams and Thane Krios and remember all the times we had together in the game. Having my Shepard character be put on that plaque by my love interest Liara was very moving. It was a much more fitting end even if it wasn't exactly what I wanted. There are still many loop holes left open but oh well I don't want them to touch it anymore. I want Bioware to move on and add whatever they want to the multiplayer, but I don't want anymore plot. I don't trust these companies nowadays, and the endless milking of franchises to make a buck only weakens any artistic sentiment that games can provoke. Via con dios Shepard, those are the last words I wish to speak on Mass Effect.
I heard enough people give major credit to Yager Developments Spec Ops: The Line, calling it a thinking mans brown shooter. I remember the old days of Spec Ops back when the games were made by Zombie Studios and then Runecraft on the Playstation. Thankfully we have come a long way since those games, as they were horrible in almost every way. SOTL is good looking game that features a very good story line for games of its type.
In fact there is one scene so far in my play through (so far chapter 9). It occurs in the beginning of Chapter 8 and I won't spoil it but I had to quit the game for a while. It charged my emotions in a way that games don't typically charge me. It made me question what kind of person I was. I followed through an action without even attempting any other possibilities and the outcome disgusted me. I know these are games but it really made me zone into the gamer numbness and the increasing number of discussions of violence in video games reaching desperate heights for shock value. I give it to Yager for bringing that out of me and I will continue and complete the game. Honestly though if you are on the fence about it, do yourself a solid and check it out.
I honestly don't beat a whole lot of games. I've had many $60 dollar purchases sit and collect dust on my shelf and virtual dust in my steam library. I get disenfranchised rather quickly with a lot of games. Even the holy grail games like Skyrim and Uncharted 3 went unfinished last year. It really takes something special to prompt me to follow a game through to the final cutscene. So far this year I have only completed two games. Diablo III and now...Max Payne 3.
Max Payne was the one game that showed off the sheer power of my Gateway Performance 800 back in 2000. My TNT2 was pushed to the max, no pun intended. I played the shit out of that game and completed it on 3 different difficulties. Max Payne 2 was more of the same and the style of those games that I came to expect was instantly classic to me and pushed the series to one of my all time favorites. When I first saw Max Payne 3 a little over a year ago I was extremely skeptical. Remedy had already moved on to Alan Wake and I with them, Rockstar did a fine job with the last GTA and RDR but what business did the dev team really have in taking on Max Payne. The first trailer I saw of the game didn't make me feel any better. It looked like Kane and Lynch, a far departure from the original games macabre or the sequels film noire elegance. It looked like every other blockbuster hollywood action movie and whats this I hear...they are adding cover?!? I was just like fuck off with the cover based GOW bullshit that is not Max fucking Payne. Boy did I jump the gun (call it a premature shoot-dodge)
The password is John Woo
Max Payne 3 opens up on a very disgruntled and desperate protagonist. Never has a more accurate and disturbing portrayal of alcoholism been captured in pixel. Max has a new gig now and the job takes him out of the streets of Jersey and into the beautiful/decrepit world of Sao Paulo. Without spoiling anything you are basically a gun for hire and that is the premise. The first thing I need to comment on is this story. It really does the MP series justice. It takes more cues from directors like Tarantino than it does John Woo, but they do it well enough that the change is actually welcomed. I saw shit in this game that really bothered me too. It is surprising because I am one of the most graphically numbed people I have ever known lol. By the end of the story I was very satisfied and though I prefer the story from RDR more, Rockstar did a fantastic job rearming Mr. Payne.
We all know that the gameplay is what keeps people going though right?
How many times are you gonna let me die asshole?!?
I died...a lot. It took two hours of my life to finish one particularly challenging scene on a dock. It really was a classic throwback to the good ole days of falling on your ass and reloading the most recent save...a lot. Oh and that cover based mechanic I was disgusted by? Yeah it is almost certainly needed in most scenes in this game. Without it the relentless shelling of bullets will gun you down more than double you already are. Getting painkillers becomes an obsession, almost like an addiction. Just like in the past games really and again an oldschool not used often enough mechanic that really pushes safety to the top of the list on your playthrough. One shot from any gun in the game can instantly take off half of your life, or more. The cool thing though is the same works both ways. Headshots are now instant kills for unarmed men (men without helmets). There is nothing more spectacular than placing a perfect shoot dodge, taking out three enemies, hitting the ground and while still on the ground take out the legs of a guy underneath a car and as his body hits the ground landing that final headshot blow in all of slow motions glory. Thats something I wasn't expecting in my playthrough of the game. When you shoot dodge now your body stays where it lands until you move. So if you were to shoot dodge and land under a table for instance you now have some cover from the table or wherever you land really and that is pretty awesome. It also works against you in tight areas though, which the game has many. If you shoot dodge in a hallway for instance upon hitting whichever wall you choose you will hit the wall and fall to the ground losing precious milliseconds where a lot of the time the enemy you were "dodging" will take you out before you get gun back in hand. This is an example of moving a classic mechanic forward.
Talking about game mechanics the bullet time system hasn't changed a bit from the original game and I for one love that. In Max Payne 2 they added the effect of Max himself moving faster throughout the bullet time sequence as you killed more. I didn't like the way that system worked back then and I am happy to see the same simple, get kills outside of bullet time= bullet time fills up and then unleashing bullet time feels earned and gratifying in that simple kind of way. Of all the various weapons that you get in the game nothing really beats the different combat rifles to me. The old dual barettas didn't feel as precise as they have in past games. The impact of all weapons are better than ever though. When you get a headshot the gruesome way the skin opens up and the pure power of a bullet tearing through flesh is both seen and heard. The physics are also a marvel in this game. Ragdoll physics have come a long way since the days of MP2. Bodies realistically slump over tables they are shot on or tumble down the steps at a very particular soccer stadium (Futbol, Football whatever the hell you want to call it). The graphics coupled with the physics in this game do an amazing job at captivating the player from the very beginning and don't get in the way of the story, only work to enhance the narrative and provide a very appealing look and feel for the game.
All the voice acting in the game is also very well done. Rockstar has a thing about presentation and the sound department has done a fine job in capturing the realistic feel they were aiming for. All voice actors did a fine job, James McCaffery reprising his role of Max Payne though takes the cake. It is a different tone sure but it still is good ole Max. He still has a great deal of one liners and in this game takes on a very John McClane like, American Cowboy attitude. In game that has a lot of cutscenes it is very important to hit the nail on the head when it comes to dialog and they really did a fine job. The soundtrack and musical pacing is also a standout. One of the greatest scenes from RDR was the ride to Mexico. Jose Gonzalez's Far Away came on and all of a sudden you weren't just playing a game you were experiencing a new level of audio presentation. I'm not gonna spoil it but there is a very similar scene in MP3 that really boosted my adrenaline. If I didn't finish that scene without dying I was going to have a heart attack. Funny enough I actually survived it and it was totally fulfilling.
So after about 10 hours I beat Max Payne 3. It only took me two days, I was hooked. From start to finish I was extremely impressed at the Job Rockstar Studios did with the Max Payne license. Every fear and pre-judgement I had for this game were ultimately completely unnecessary. The game is a solid 3rd person shooter that will stand the test of time for me at least. The multiplayer is not my thing and I am not going to bother scoring that. On my scale the game scores a solid 9 out of 10 and If Rockstar decides to continue with the franchise in the future, I will most definitely be slapping down $60 bucks again.