A surprising booth at Comic Con was the Rockstar booth, showing off the iPad version of the 10th anniversary re-release of GTA III, as well as the highly anticipated Max Payne 3. While there was no playable demo, a "behind-closed-doors" demonstration was given to those who wished to get a first glimpse of the now shaven-headed and husky Max.
Beginning with a flashback in NYC, Max looks just as we left him, funky tie and all. The graphical improvements are instantly recognisable. Max and his buddy Passos discuss the prospects of Brazil in Max's apartment, with streetlights shining through and the shadows of moving shades flickering across their faces. Character design equally impresses, utilizing an advanced version of the RAGE (Red Dead Redemption) engine to the fullest. Both NYC and Brazil bore great resemblance to their real life counterparts, the former gleaming in the night's sky, while the latter stays true to a seedier feel.
Voice work, receiving the expected treatment that all Rockstar games receive, inspires the noir-styled atmosphere with a superb cast of actors. Story is moved from still cutscenes akin to a graphic novel to make use of modern technology, yet remains true to its inner monologue and comic-style roots. Though Max provided great narration in the previous games, an aging, bald, and even angrier Max is an even better one.
Max Payne 3 sticks to its third person bullettime manner of play, where going in guns blazing is a sure fire way to achieve awesomeness victory. However, a cover system can also be used, giving Max the option of how he wants to attack. Max can now also hold up to three different weapons; a one handed weapon, dual wielded guns, and a two handed weapon, giving him many more options to take enemies down. His aiming and diving actions provide a better sense of realism, as Max'll aim over his shoulder or around his side retreating from enemies, or braces his fall during his (un)necessary dives. Max is a real person in a real place, and the guys looking to kill him this time around act the same way.
AI behaves superbly, searching every nook and cranny for Max as he hides, and flanking him when they have the chance. The bulletcam has been replaced with the "Final Kill Cam," which further exhibits the fantastic physics. Unique kills will happen depending on how and where the enemies is dropped. Destructible environments are highly present, making for certain advantages and disadvantages, depending on what you destroy, while looking quite gorgeous.
Though the basic formula remains the same, Max Payne 3 features many new additions to bring Max into the current generation. Whether it's the optional cover system, real-time aiming and physics, smart AI, intricate plot, or the stylish cinematic bullettime kills (swinging from a warehouse crane, anyone?), Max Payne 3 looks to be another Rockstar mega-hit. Watch for the gritty and seedy instalment sometime March 2012.