It has been over 8 years since The Fall of Max Payne in 2003 and since then he has just kept falling. The only follow-up to the once revered franchise was the horrendous film starring Marky Mark that came out in 2008. Let us not dwell on this travesty. Let us instead remember the wonderful times we had dual wielding pistols and jumping into barrel rolls in Bullet Time. Let us remember spending hours following a bloody trail into the darkness while a baby incessantly cries in the background. Let us remember the cut scenes, a brilliant film noir story told through graphic novel vignettes.It is this last memory that bothers me the most when I look ahead to Max Payne 3: The Balding of Max Payne. While the initial trailer does include a very Max Payne appropriate voice over to set the stage for the game, I don’t get the same feeling from the visuals. The first two games took place in a gloomy New York City, entirely at night and perfect for the kind of twisted noir tale that was being told. You feel the city closing in on Max as the game progressed, with tight corridors and small buildings making up the majority of the settings. In Max Payne 3, our hero has moved to sunny São Paulo, Brazil and has taken a job as a body guard for a family that obviously needs the protection as Max is once again called upon to slay legions of hired guns and gang members. The problems I have with all the game footage I’ve seen is that there has been very little indication that the film noir roots of the franchise are being kept. While I fully believe Rockstar when they say the experience will be very cinematic, I can’t help but feel the game will be more Bad Boys and less Sin City.Also let me say that I have no doubts whatsoever on the gameplay of Max Payne 3. After viewing some gameplay footage and the making of features on the official website, I believe the studio will release a very capable third person shooter that mechanics-wise will live up to the innovative Bullet Time that was created for the original game. I’m just not sure that will be enough for me to actually play it. I do have my doubts about the multiplayer mode though, something that seems to be appearing in nearly every game released these days. I love multiplayer as much as the next guy, but Rockstar doesn’t exactly have the best track record in this department.
We will find out soon enough I suppose, we only have a few more months until Max Payne 3 is released on Xbox 360 and PS3 on May 15, with the PC version coming two weeks later on May 29. Here’s hoping that Max’s comeback to video games is a bit more successful than his recent film release.