All through out the weekend fans in attendance at the New York Comic Con were given an opportunity to get in line at the Rockstar booth to go behind closed doors and be among the first to see actual gameplay footage from the upcoming Max Payne 3. Unfortunately for us video and photos of what we saw were STRICTLY forbidden but here is a description of two scenes that we were treated to.
The first scene takes place in Max’s NYC apartment where he is talking to an old friend about a job down in Brazil. Max is rocking his classic “Ed Burns” look in this and while the cinematic dialog was entertaining I am less that impressed by the facial animations, especially since Rockstar’s last game, LA Noire, rewrote the book on that department. But the action was intense! Almost right on cue an army of typical looking Mafia guys show up to get some revenge on Max for killing the boss’ son. As Max fights through the halls avoiding both sniper fire through the windows from snipers across the street and thugs coming in the building he is aided by a bomb-strapped, Vietnam-ish shellshocked neighbor who detonates, allowing Max to escape.
During this level we are shown some of the more basic controls as well as the new healing system (pain pills!). The graphics looked pretty seamless as he walked through the grimy hallway but I was really impressed by the rendering of the building as Max climbs up a flight of stairs post-explosion. The embers on the seared remains of the woodwork were still glowing and the soot stains on the wall looked awesome and even the shellshocked neighbor’s apartment looked awesome and very “truther” with all of the newspaper clippings and writings on the walls. Truly great looking animation.
Next we ventured down to a chapter that took place in Brazil. Max is in almost a “Heisenberg” look (Breaking Bad fans know what I mean) and he is helping his buddy’s wife get to a safe place so they can plan their next move. They reach a bus depot where a squad of heavily armed thugs wearing kevlar show up to take them out. This level is where we were really treated to the bullet-time mode and shown the benefits of that classic tool in the form of “kill shots” where the last kill gets a pretty cool rendering that seemed to me like the next stage above what I’m used to seeing from using V.A.T.S. in the last two Fallout games. Very cool looking deaths, especially when you get the guy who has to fall from high up.
The animation in this scene was really impressive to me. If I heard the host correctly, they had to build a scale replica of the bus depot so the motion capture actors could have a more authentic interaction. We were also given a look at the cover system which I feel is standard now, and the aim system which is the first true to life 360 degree rotation I have ever seen. Starting at a prone position laying flat and aiming forward, your body will actually roll over from your side, to laying on your back, to back on your side then stomach again as you rotate the camera around rather than turning to the right and left in the same position like we have seen in every other game.
All in all I am very impressed with what I have seen and I shall look forward to the game’s release in march of 2012. For more information including trailers and other screen shots please visit the official site.