[Getting It Right is a monthly series in which I take a look at the elements that make up a classic game. What were the key ingredients that set it apart and make it hold up to this day? Read on to find out.]
It’s not enough to just kill bad guys and save the day. You need to look good doing it, too.
Game developers must always perform a balancing act in giving players space to perform while also giving them rewards for their performance. The key to Max Payne’s success is its ability to highlight player action in a flashy way without taking away their influence or ruining the flow of action. Max Payne was revolutionary in combining these two aspects into a seamless experience. Where other games might put you in a fight and then present a cinematic of the events following it, Max Payne’s visual flair in battles came directly from the player’s actions -- letting a well-aimed bullet and bold dodge trigger brief cinematic moments.
In years since Max Payne's debut, God of War, Fallout 3, and other games have done this in their own way to great effect. It’s easy to look at bullet time as a gimmick or a novel feature. In truth, it changes everything: the tone, the pace, and the spectacle of combat. There is nothing else like it. Even though others games replicated this feature, as in the F.E.A.R. series and Stranglehold, it never felt quite as special as it did in Max Payne.
I’ll be completely honest: I was worried I would have to force this entry or completely abandon it all together. As much as I loved Max Payne in 2001, I wasn’t sure it would hold up. I was pleasantly surprised than to rediscover how fantastic it is in nearly every aspect. The sequel made some major improvements in combat, but I still prefer the tone and quirks of the first. It’s hard to pick between the two but thankfully no one is forcing us to.
I'll admit, when EA Sports' Andrew Wilson took to the stage during Microsoft's Xbox One reveal, I tuned out. If memory serves, I used the opportunity to take a much needed trip to the bathroom because I was certain there would be nothing there to hold my interest. I was wrong. Hopefully, it's not too late for us.more
I have a confession to make: I'm terrible. Here in the Dtoid offices I have two jobs. One of those is driving wheelbarrows full of money down the aisles. The other is TF2sday posts. Sadly(!) we have waaaaaaay too many wheelba...more
The highly anticipated reveal of the next Xbox, Xbox One, has just come to a close, and I find myself sitting here thinking back a few months to Sony's own reveal of the PlayStation 4. The two shows couldn't be more different...more