My Incredible Max Payne 3 Demo Experience

My Incredible Max Payne 3 Demo Experience

By rockstarrem | 8th Apr 2012 at 19:16 GMT in Max Payne 3 | 7 Comments
Today I went to the PAX East gaming convention in Boston to play Max Payne 3. This post will detail my experience with Rockstar and, obviously, Max Payne 3.

I walked through the front door of the convention. There, I needed to get my pass from the ticket I bought online. I had to show an ID and I was on my way to the queue line. The line was so long, I couldn't really see anything in front of me.

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Finally, the line started to move after ten minutes. When I got into the convention I looked for the Max Payne 3 booth, and could not believe the line I saw. I was thinking "great, another line for me to wait in. This is the only reason why I came here and I need to wait in another line."

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Growing impatient and really wanting to meet the guys, I tweeted them.

I got a response in a direct message from them telling me to go to the front booth and tell them who I was. I proceeded to do so. I talked to someone there where I received a special badge to show at the back desk to get a free T-Shirt.

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I went around to the back desk and showed them the badge. They asked me what T-Shirt size I was. I told them, and they handed me one. I went back to the front desk and they let me in. They told me I could sit on the bench and wait and then asked if I wanted something to drink. I said yes, and a man went out back to get me a water. As I sat there tweeting I was watching the other people play Max Payne 3. I was in shock at the time, I couldn't believe all of this was happening. I could tell right away how good of a game this was.

A man walked up to me soon later and told me that there was a man waiting for forty-five minutes to play the game, so I told him it was fine and to let him play. I watched him play the game and could not wait to play it myself. A few minutes later I saw a man go up to Ramone, the developer that stood with me and talked to me while I played the game and whisper something in his ear. Right after that, the other guy that was playing the game left and Ramone told me to come over.

I stood there looking at the huge LCD monitor, it looked to be about 32". Ramone asked if I preferred the Xbox controller or the keyboard & mouse. I chose the keyboard & mouse. He showed me some of the controls, which were:

W - Move forward
S - Move backward
A - Move left
D - Move right
Q - Take cover
Shift - Enter bullet-time
Spacebar - Shootdodge
G - Sprint (HOLD) Roll (PRESS)
F - Pick up weapon
Mouse 1 - Shoot
Mouse 2 - Over-The-Shoulder Aiming
Scroll - Change weapon

The controls were seamless. I was used to the original Max Payne 2 controls, and these were quite the same.

Max's Movement
Max moves around like no other character in a game that I have seen. As you may have read in some of the earlier previews, it was said that Max reacts to the environment and his movement looks very real. This could not be more true. When Max gets hit with a bullet, it reacts a lot like the last game. You know you're hit, but it's not a big deal. When you're shooting at the enemy, bullets crack their bones and you can see the bullet holes in them, similar to Red Dead Redemption but MUCH more realistic and bloody.

The cinematics in this game are unbelievable. Although I could not hear the audio very well when Max was talking (because of the crowd and everyone talking at the convention), the cutscenes go in and out of gameplay instantly. There are no loading screens, or even a black screen transition, it literally goes right from the cutscene into the game.

Weapons & other cool features
The most intuitive feature that I found was dual-wielding weapons of different types. Ramone told me to switch to these weapons, which looked like an Ingram and a 9mm pistol (Beretta). I went into a room and utilized bullet-time and shootdodging (which I will talk about soon) to nail down the enemies. Whenever I did this, I heard Ramone go "nice", applauding my familiarity with the game before I even played it (this stems from my love of the first two games).

Another weapon I used was a SMG standard type that most other games use. I couldn't believe how real the bullets were rendered -- similar to the last games, when Max guns down the last enemy, it goes into a cinematic. You literally control time with the second mouse button, keeping it held down keeps you in the cinematic of shooting the enemy, whereas if you let it go it speeds it up. You are still in control of Max while in the cinematic, and the bullets are shown from the moment they exit the gun to when it hits the enemy. It's an amazing feature that really adds to the game.

While you are behind cover, there is no reticle unless you use the over-the-shoulder controls. Once you hold down Mouse 2, you can see the reticle and aim better. Out of cover, though, the reticle is always shown and you can aim at people very easily. The reticle size changed with different weapons.

The levels in the demo were beautifully done. The first demo that I played was in a New York bar, similar to the one at Lupino's apartment building in the first Max Payne. There were many places to take cover once you gunned down the enemies shooting you. There is not much to say about the mapping (pictures/videos were not allowed), other than expect the first levels in the game to be very nostalgic to the first games.

I also got to play a level that took place in a Brazilian soccer stadium. For anyone wondering if it feels different than the first two games, it really doesn't, it feels better, just as it should. I really want to make that clear to anyone that has any concerns about the gameplay.

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Bullet-Time and Shootdodging
I was seriously blown away at how well these two work together still. It's so much better than the first two games, and I mean it. Once you head into bullet-time mode, you will instantly slow down, exactly like the first two games. As far as I could tell, they used the same exact speed from Max Payne 2's bullet time mode here. Bullets can be seen exiting the weapon and hitting the enemy, with blood slowly shooting out of their limbs.

When you shootdodge, time also slows down, similar to Max Payne 2. You can move Max Payne around in any direction you please while you are in shootdodge mode, giving you complete control over Max. You are much less likely to get hit with a bullet while Max is shootdodging, since your body is in a lying-jump position in the air.

Final Thoughts
Although short-lived, my experience was way better than I expected. I expected a completely different game from the first two, and what I got was a perfect mix of the old elements combined with today's technology that cannot be beaten. If you are concerned that this game will not be as good as the first two, you need to throw that thought away. What you will get is an unbeatable experience that no other game will be able to come close to in terms of... well... everything.

Thank you to Rockstar Games, who treated me like gold. Simon Ramsey and Ramone, I could not be more thrilled with my experience. And to the guy who gave me the water that I couldn't hear your name over the loud crowd -- thank you as well!

If you have any questions about the game, ask me in the forums. I will be posting pictures of the gear Rockstar gave me later tonight.
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ubomb2's photo
ubomb2 9th April, 2012 @ 01:12 - Permalink
Must have been an awesome experience, and well worth the wait! You never mentioned anything about sounds, or music. Is the cinematic similar to the original Max Payne with the Film Noir effects? Did everything you play feel polished enough for a release, or was it obvious that it was still a work in progress?
rockstarrem's photo
rockstarrem 9th April, 2012 @ 01:17 - Permalink

Must have been an awesome experience, and well worth the wait! You never mentioned anything about sounds, or music. Is the cinematic similar to the original Max Payne with the Film Noir effects? Did everything you play feel polished enough for a release, or was it obvious that it was still a work in progress?

The reason why I didn't mention anything about the audio in the game is because I honestly couldn't hear it. The convention center was completely packed, and it was even hard to hear Ramone (the developer) talking next to me. We had to basically yell.

The cinematic, as in the gameplay cinematics (where enemies die in slow-mo) or the graphic novel-esque type cinematic? If you're wondering about the latter, I got the impression that graphic novels were taken out of the game. When I asked about this, they told me that Remedy didn't have much technology to make graphic novel sequences what they intended to be, but now there is a better cinematic sequence (which I did see). Basically, it's all cutscenes and 3-block dynamic moving graphic novel style scenes now. For example, if you imagine a 3 row cinematic from the first Max Payne, but with live action instead of drawings and writings in it, thats what I saw briefly, as well as dynamic cutscenes.

As for the work-in-progress question, it seemed like everything was really polished, but let's remember I only got to demo two levels (that were amazing, can't wait to play the rest of the game).

I hope this answers your questions?
ubomb2's photo
ubomb2 9th April, 2012 @ 01:25 - Permalink
Kinda like split screen cinematics? Sorta like what they did in the Hulk movie. Ok. Yep, you've answered my questions. Thanks! I'll be keeping an eye out for any interesting updates.
RemiClarke's photo
RemiClarke 10th April, 2012 @ 00:38 - Permalink
What was the feel of the game? Can you feel how Max has aged? Or is he a tank, or a fast little bugger?
rockstarrem's photo
rockstarrem 10th April, 2012 @ 01:28 - Permalink
He's actually still pretty fast -- the sprint function isn't really used since the old feel of the game is still with it. It really feels like the last two games with upgraded technology and minor (well, depending on who you are, major) enhancements.

I wouldn't call him a tank, but I'd just say this: he's fucking Max Payne :P he's a beast. Any more questions? I love answering them.
RemiClarke's photo
RemiClarke 11th April, 2012 @ 16:51 - Permalink
From the Mission(s) you played? Was all of it noire like? One of the things I didn't like from the previous games is if I played them too much I'd get bored because of the depressing feel of the cinematics and scenery. I'm fine with some Noire but I enjoy my missions to sometimes be sunny, and have life. Also, it would feel out of place in the multiplayer missions as you aren't Max Payne just a regular foot soldier.
rockstarrem's photo
rockstarrem 11th April, 2012 @ 18:09 - Permalink
The first mission I played (in the New York bar) was definitely noire-style, but the one in Brazil was definitely more happy (although it was at night, and in a soccer stadium). There will definitely be more sunny places in the game, since the game does take span over a few weeks instead of one whole night, but the game will probably be as depressing as the last two. If it wasn't, it wouldn't really be Max Payne.

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