NO PAYNE, ALL GAIN

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - LEVEL UP -

up­dates from friends who are playing at the same time. Of course, all this is only pos­si­ble if you have a rea­son­ably sta­ble and speedy In­ter­net connection.

There are also the ques­tions of re­li­a­bil­ity and preser­va­tion. What hap­pens if and when Bl­iz­zard even­tu­ally takes down the servers for Di­ablo 3? The mil­lions of players who have legally pur­chased the game will no longer be able to play what is sure to be­come a clas­sic. And the game will be ir­re­vo­ca­bly lost to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of gamers, stu­dents and re­searchers (un­less the pi­rates, bless them, find a way). Of course, Bl­iz­zard is known for its com­mit­ment to old ti­tles—there are still ac­tive servers for War­craft 3 and Star­craft— but what if other stu­dios with­out the com­mit­ment and/or re­sources of Bl­iz­zard de­cide to take the same route ? Con­sider the hardly im­plau­si­ble sce­nario where a stu­dio goes bank­rupt af­ter ship­ping a great game (Re­mem­ber Team Bondi? 38 Stu­dios ?) and has to shut down its servers. Cus­tomers who paid full price for th­ese hy­po­thet­i­cal ti­tles would then be un­able to play the game. What hap­pens then ?

Sure, with the growth and ma­tur­ing of browser-based so­cial gam­ing, the In­ter­net is sure to be­come a plat­form for games that is taken for granted, but the ques­tions of re­li­a­bil­ity and preser­va­tion re­main rel­e­vant. What hap­pens if Zynga de­cides to shut down Far­mville? Will fu­ture gen­er­a­tions not be able to ex­pe­ri­ence this clas­sic so­cial game and see what it was all about? Game de­sign­ers and de­vel­op­ers all over the world con­tinue to gain con­sid­er­able knowl­edge by playing old clas­sic retro games. Stu­dents, his­to­ri­ans and re­searchers all delve into clas­sic games to an­a­lyse, de­bate and rein­ter­pret them and gen­er­ate fas­ci­nat­ing new ma­te­rial for any­one in­ter­ested in games to read. All this is only pos­si­ble be­cause th­ese old ti­tles have been pre­served. It’s a no-brainer re­ally—ev­ery art form is im­mea­sur­ably richer be­cause its clas­sics have been pre­served. In this re­gard, games are no dif­fer­ent from mu­sic, films, paint­ing or lit­er­a­ture.

Bl­iz­zard is known for mak­ing ti­tles that rev­o­lu­tionise the in­dus­try. Its success in do­ing this across mul­ti­ple gen­res (RTS, RPG, MMO) has es­tab­lished it as ar­guably the great­est PC de­vel­oper. Di­ablo 3 is a su­perb game with out­stand­ing de­sign, ad­dic­tive game­play and an un­de­ni­able fun fac­tor. It would be a pity if this polished, in­no­va­tive and ad­dic­tive game were to be re­mem­bered chiefly for the neg­a­tive im­pact of its DRM im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Gun-sling­ing Max Payne is back af­ter al­most a decade and is rar­ing to spill some blood in the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The game looks com­pletely dif­fer­ent from the pre­vi­ous in­stall­ments as the siz­zling heat and sleazy bars re­place the dark shad­owy back al­leys of New York. Max now works for a pri­vate security firm at “Sampa” and keeps an eye on prop­erty mag­nates and party an­i­mals Ro­drigo Branco and his broth­ers. As usual Max gets into the thick of things as a street gang at­tempts to kid­nap Branco’s wife and the rest is a gore fest.

The new gamemaker of the Max Payne fran­chise, Rock­star, has changed the typ­i­cal comic-book story telling style to a more in-your­face en­er­gised scenes that de­liver crisp punch lines.But what can get on your nerves is Max him­self. He does not look the brood­ing grim reaper that we know him as be­cause, with age, he has put on some ex­tra pounds not to for­get that he is now bald and wears a tacky Hawai­ian shirt. But this game is still one of the most im­mer­sive third-per­son shootout pas­times you can get your hands on.

The game­play makes things in­ter­est­ing as you are al­lowed to carry only two side arms and one ma­chine gun from the huge range of fire power avail­able. Our per­sonal favourite is the John Woo-style midair dive with guns blaz­ing—the Shoot Dodge mode. The sig­na­ture Bul­let Time mode too is fab­u­lous as you dive for cover and then pop up and gun down your en­e­mies by let­ting off one, two, or three head­shots, and then scam­per back to your cover. You won’t have much to com­plain about with the in­tense fire­fights, but what is a bit dis­ap­point­ing is that our pro­tag­o­nist doesn’t get any new moves. With the gamemaker try­ing to add more re­al­ism to Max Payne with non-re­gen­er­at­ing health sys­tem, the player is now forced to use strat­egy rather than hide and wait for your health re­turn. The game thus has be­come more edgy.

The ace in the pack is the re­spon­sive con­trols. With the op­tion to cus­tomise the auto tar­get­ing sys­tem, the tar­get marker can be kept any­where be­tween a Hard or Soft Lock style.The lat­ter guides you to line up ev­ery shot while the pre­vi­ous one me­chan­i­cally forces you to­wards spe­cific en­e­mies. Both help­ful and do the re­quired killing and helps you ac­cli­ma­tise to the game’s pace.

We are happy to say that Max Payne3’ s mul­ti­player mode is as en­ter­tain­ing as the sin­gle player game. The mul­ti­player chooses players based on sim­i­lar aim­ing modes so that one player doesn’t have an up­per hand over the oth­ers.

If shoot­ing games are your forte, then MaxPayne3 is a must. It is a near per­fect game with a lot of gun­blaz­ing en­ter­tain­ment. The new cut scenes style is en­gross­ing ini­tially but the more you play the game the more you feel th­ese short and long cut scenes be­come in­tru­sive. Rock­star cer­tainly seems to have re­tained the strengths of MaxPayne game with new, mod­ern touches.

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