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Level Up! We Review Max Payne 3

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Level Up! We Review Max Payne 3

Payne makes a triumphant return

By Tim Janson     June 21, 2012
Source: Mania.com

NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
Mike Tyson Returns To The Ring - In WWE'13
 
THQ announced the return of the incomparable Mike Tyson to the ring  – virtually – in WWE’13, the revolutionary next installment in the WWE flagship video-game franchise.  Often touted as the “baddest man on the planet,” the boxing legend and former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world will be available as an exclusive playable character for consumers who pre-order the videogame at any participating retailer in the United States or Canada.
 
2K Games Announces Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Gods & Kings Expansion Pack Now Available
 
2K Games announced that Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings, the expansion pack for the award-winning Civilization V, is now available for Windows-based PC and Mac.  Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings enhances the Civilization V experience with new gameplay content and provides even more ways for players to achieve world domination. Spanning the breadth of human civilization, the Gods & Kings expansion pack takes players from founding the first Pantheon of the Gods and spreading religion across the world, to deploying spies in enemy cities to steal information and technology, and much more.
 
Developed by Firaxis Games, Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Gods & Kings takes players through time as they engage in new quests and global competitions, interact with new types of city-states, and master exciting new systems for land and naval combat. Nine new civilizations, each ruled by a new leader; nine new wonders; three original scenarios; and dozens of new units, buildings, technologies and resources have also been added, offering even more ways for players to expand their empire on their quest to rule the world.
 
Key features include:
 
  • Expanded Epic Game: The core game experience has been greatly expanded with the addition of new technologies, 27 new units, 13 new buildings and nine new Wonders;
 
  • New Civilizations and Leaders: Gods & Kings features nine new civilizations, each with unique traits, units, buildings and leaders;
 
  • New Game Scenarios: Three new scenarios let gamers experience the medieval period, the fall of Rome, and embark on a new adventure in Empires of the Smoky Skies, a Victorian steampunk scenario;
 
  • The Return of Religion: A first for Civilization V, players seek out Faith, choosing a Pantheon of the Gods and creating Great Prophets to found and spread their customized religion across the world;
 
  • World Domination: The fight for world domination is more dynamic than ever. Gods & Kings features a reworked combat system and AI that places more emphasis on a balanced army composition. Additionally, the navy is now split into two different ship types, melee and ranged, making coastal cities vulnerable to a surprise naval attack;
 
  • Enhanced Diplomacy and Espionage: Establish embassies at foreign courts for closer ties or clandestine operations. As the religions of the world start settling in and the world moves into the Renaissance, spies can be unlocked to establish surveillance of foreign cities, steal advanced technologies from your strongest competitors, or garner influence with City-States through election rigging, or even a coup;
 
  • City-States: Two new city-state types have been added, Mercantile and Religious, adding new gameplay to a greatly expanded quest system to further the narrative of the game and making diplomatic victories more challenging.
 
 
Assassin’s Creed 3 Frontier Walk through with Commentary 
  
Following the showing at E3 2012, Assassin’s Creed III takes to the frontier in a video walkthrough of one of the demos shown at the conference last week. Commentated by creative director, Alex Hutchinson, the walkthrough of the frontier demo exemplifies the key pillars of the Assassin’s Creed franchise against the wild frontier setting demonstrating a slice of the massive open world scale of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.   
  
Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution in the late 18th century, Assassin’s Creed III introduces a new hero, Ratonhnhaké:ton, of Native American and English heritage. Adopting the name Connor, he becomes the new voice for justice in the ancient war between the Assassins and Templars. Players become an Assassin in the war for liberty against ruthless tyranny in the most stylized and fluid combat experiences in the franchise to date. Assassin’s Creed III spans the Revolutionary War, taking gamers from the vibrant, untamed frontier to bustling colonial towns and the intense, chaotic battlefields where George Washington’s Continental Army clashed with the imposing British Army. 
 

  

 

Ubisoft Reveals Might & Magic Heroes VI Pirate of the Savage Sea DLC 

  

Ubisof  announced that the first adventure pack for the universally acclaimed Might & Magic Heroes VI will be made available for Windows  PC on July 12th, 2012.  Developed by Limbic Entertainment GmbH in Germany, Might & Magic Heroes VI Pirate of the Savage Sea Adventure Pack offers over 10-hours of epic adventure. The legendary Might & Magic hero, Crag Hack, makes an epic comeback, appearing for the first time as a leading character in the world of Ashan. This Adventure Pack also features new artifacts, a powerful dynasty weapon and many new bonuses. 

  

In addition to the release of new downloadable content, a major patch for Might & Magic Heroes  VI, that includes new content and beautifully animated town screens tailored specifically to the expectations of Might & Magic  will also be available on July 12th, 2012.  Might & Magic Heroes VI Pirate of the Savage Sea Adventure Pack will be available to download for $9.99 on Ubishop, Steam and other digital retailers. 

  

 

The Legendary voice talent of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron 

  

High Moon Studios is creating the most authentic Transformers game ever with the announcement that fan-favorites Peter Cullen and Gregg Berger, the legendary voices of Optimus Prime and Grimlockfrom the original Transformers animated TV series, will reprise their roles for the upcoming Transformers: Fall of Cybertron video game. Set to launch on August 28, 2012 from Activision Publishing.    

  

Transformers Fall of Cybertron will also feature the talents of voice-over veterans Nolan North (Bruticus, Cliffjumper, Brawl), Troy Baker (Jazz, Jetfire and Kickback), Fred Tatasciore (Megatron, Ratchet and Metroplex), Steve Blum (Shockwave, Swindle and Sharpshot), Isaac Singleton (Soundwave) and more. 

  

"This is the definitive Transformers video game, and we absolutely had to have these iconic voices onboard in order tell this story," said Peter Della Penna, Studio Head, High Moon Studios. "Because it's an origins story, we were able to explore some of the coolest characters in the lore for Transformers Fall of Cybertron and then go after the best and most authentic voice talent possible to do the franchise right." 

  

Elsword Debuts City of Hamel and A Sprawling New Continent To Explore 

  

Elsword fans have been clamoring for it and Kill3rCombo has delivered: An increased level cap to 52, a new city to explore with two new dungeons and bosses, new equipment and weapons, exotic titles to be unlocked, and a dangerous assortment of monsters to battle. That’s not all! There’s a brand new challenge of fighting demons under water, which will require players to find air bubbles to avoid drowning. 

  

Exploring the new continent of Fluone, Elsword players can now visit Hamel, the first city of this vast region. As the City of Water, Hamel is beautiful and prosperous area. Lately, it's become home to malicious spirits that stand in the way such as the head of the Spirits of Darkness, the Shadow Master, and ill-tempered creatures such as the Coral Serpent. 

  

New dungeons include the outskirts of Resiam and Sunken Resiam. Both dungeons require players to be level 45 or higher to rid the region of the Spirits of Darkness and various other despicable enemies. Sunken Resiam puts players under water for the first time with players needing to keep a watchful eye on their breath gauge to make it out of the dungeon alive. Within the outskirts of Resiam, players will travel the beaten path to confront the Shadow Master and his crafty ability to control the movement of players. 

  

Elsword is a free-to-play side-scrolling MMORPG that permits players to choose from five customizable characters as they traverse through colorful 2D environments to complete story-driven quests. Elsword also offers an intuitive player-versus-player (PvP) mode where players can compete in action-packed battles for higher rankings. Whether it’s tackling the extravagant and flashy combat solo or with a party up to four players, Elsword gives players the opportunity to experience a satisfying visual experience with vivid artwork, beautiful cel-shaded graphics, and elaborate hand-drawn cutscenes. 

  

To play Elsword and experience the latest features, please visit: http://www.elswordonline.com

  

DUE OUT NEXT WEEK

 

Amazing Spider-Man (Activision) Rated T, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, 3DS 

  

The Amazing Spider-Man is a single player Action-Adventure game designed to coincide with the 2012 major motion picture. The game is an exclusive video game adventure that continues the story told in the film. Features include, an open-world game design that allows the player to roam the game environment as they will, the "web rush" feature that allows Spidey to sneak up on opponents, new and reimagined enemies, and a random mission play option. 

  

Harness Spider-Man's powers with Manhattan as your playground...Set shortly after the events of Columbia Pictures' new film, The Amazing Spider-Man throws New York City's brand new hero back into free-roaming, web-slinging action, as he protects the Big Apple from a deluge of unimaginable threats. Enjoy challenging Action Platforming gameplay, set in an open-world game environment packed with real-time navigation and combat choices. Utilizing set, and random mission play, fight smalltime crime, participate in unusual photography shoots, and defeat an array of reimagined enemies familiar from Spider-man comics and movies. 

 

 

Spec Ops: The Line (2K Games) Rated M, PS3, Xbox 360, PC 

  

Spec Ops: The Line is a new original title from 2K Games that features provocative and gripping Third-Person modern military Shooter gameplay designed to challenge players' morality by putting them in the middle of unspeakable situations where unimaginable choices affecting human life must be made. Features include, a gripping, storyline reminiscent of Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness but set in a ruined Dubai, tactical squad-based Delta Force gameplay throughout a horizontally and vertically oriented world, devastating sandstorms which can be used in combat, a variety of multiplayer modes and maps, and deep support featuring two factions. 

  

It's been 6 months since Dubai was wiped off the map by a cataclysmic sandstorm. Thousands of lives were lost, including those of American soldiers sent to evacuate the city. Today, the city lies buried under sand, the world's most opulent ruin. Now, a mysterious radio signal is picked-up from Dubai, and a Delta Recon Team is sent to infiltrate the city. Their mission is simple: locate survivors and radio for evacuation. What they find is a city in the grip of war. To save Dubai, they'll have to find the man at the heart of its madness - Col. John Konrad. 


 

 

Dead Island Game of the Year Edition (Deep Silver) Rated M, PS3, Xbox 360 

  

Originally released in September of 2011, Dead Island was named Gamecritics.com’s 2011 Game of the Year and received multiple Editors’ Choice awards. Dead Island quickly became a fan favorite, topping the charts of #1 best-selling games worldwide during its launch and going on to delight over 3 million zombie lovers across the globe. This new edition gives players who are yet to experience the beautiful terror of Dead Island a version packed with content: including the Bloodbath Arena mode, the Ryder White’s Campaign single-player story arc and the blueprint for the highly-coveted Ripper weapon mod. 

  

Offering a new unique perspective into the main story of Dead Island, the player will play as Ryder White, the main game’s antagonist.  Ryder White’s Campaign offers players the chance to learn more about his motivations and why, from his point of view, he did what he had to do, showing him both as a military man and a loving husband in a fresh take on the Dead Island story. The campaign includes a single player story arc with several hours of gameplay as well as two blueprints and weapons to further expand the already impressive arsenal of Dead Island. 

  

In Bloodbath Arena four different arenas offer new challenges that can be played alone or in coop mode. It’s a desperate fight for survival where waves after waves of unrelenting zombies attack, one more gruesome than the next! What’s more, characters can loot experience points and items and bring them over to the campaign mode as well as compare their skills in zombie elimination in the arena’s leaderboards. 

  

Record of Agarest War 2 (Aksys) Rated T PS3 

  

The central continent, from where the light is believed to have originated from, went silent, while at the same time demons began to spread throughout the world like a plague. Amongst the survivors of the catastrophe, that fateful day became known as the “Day of Light.” 

  

Sometime after the events of the Day of Light, a young man by the name of Weiss, who had lost all memory of himself, encounters an enigmatic woman named Eva, who introduces herself as an Agent of the Divine. It is from her that Weiss learns that he has committed the grievous sin of deicide, and that in order for him to atone for his crime he is to become the “Vessel” in which the power of the divinity he had slaughtered will be stored. For it will be that power that will be used to resurrect the one whose life he stole.  For those who betray the divine will pay for their sins in the space which separates salvation and damnation, as will their progeny… 

  

London 2012 (Sega) Rated E, Xbox 360, PS3 

  

  • Over 30 Olympic events have been authentically recreated in their official Olympic arenas with a host of new disciplines making their debut for London 2012. 
  • Keirin (Cycling) at the Velodrome, 10m Synchronized Platform (Diving) at the Aquatics Centre and Trampoline at North Greenwich Arena are just some of the new events in which you can compete for that coveted gold medal. 
  • In another first for this iteration of the video game, London 2012 will take the world's biggest sporting event online in the form of global leaderboards. 
  • The leaderboards will track personal medals gained while playing online, with each personal medal won added to that nation's medal table. 
  • London 2012 will contain a number of game modes including single player Olympic Games mode, online and offline multiplayer and party play. 

 

REVIEWS

 

Max Payne 3 (Rockstar Games) Rated M  PS3, Xbox 360 

  

Wow!  All I can say is wow!  I’ve never been a huge Max Payne fan…I certainly enjoyed the previous entries and thought they were very good, but Max Payne 3 takes the franchise into the upper echelon of great games seen on the PS3 over the past few years with brutal, savage gameplay and one of the most engrossing storylines to date.  While maintaining its signature “bullet-time” gameplay mechanics, Rockstar has added more depth to the gunplay making it one of the best shoot adventures in quite some time. 

  

Set 9 years after the last game, Max is not in such a good state of well-being.  He’s become addicted to booze and pills, and has basically hit rock bottom.  Salvation of sorts comes in the form of a job offer to work private security for the wealthy Branco family in San Paulo, Brazil.  This immediately changes the tone and look to the series from the dingy, depressing urban city streets to the more stylish and colorful settings of brazil with its posh nightclubs as well as densely crowded shack-towns.  When Fabiana, the wife of Rodrigo Blanco is kidnapped while under Max’s guard, the story truly takes off in a web of sub-plots, warring factions, and a multitude of sinister characters.  

  

While this change of locale has altered the look of the game, it hasn’t changed the gameplay.  This is still a game heavily based on a film noire narrative.  This is something that Rockstar does better than any other game producer and was also evident in last year’s brilliant L.A. Noire.  The non-linear storyline takes Max through to the seedy parts of the city, uncovering its dark secrets and depraved characters.  As with L.A. Noire the voice talent is some of the best you’ll ever find in a videogame, led by James McCaffrey, who reprises his role as Max.  This isn’t just voice acting, this IS acting.  McCaffrey brings Max to life as believably as any actor does any onscreen performance.  You find yourself fully immersed into Max’s life.  Does he take on the job because he’s looking for a way to end his life or is he looking to save his own soul by rescuing the Blanco family?  The story unfolds with a massive amount of cutscenes and while I can understand that some people might not like so much exposition in a game, and trust me it doesn’t always work, here it just makes all the elements blend together so well. 

  

But MP3 is not about just a change in venue or a great storyline, the gameplay physics are also first-rate.  Blowing away the baddies is still the major focal point and MP3 provides the chance to customize the shooting system the way you want.  Free aim puts all the control of targeting in your hands; soft lock means your aiming sight sticks to the target once it moves over them; hard lock automatically moves and locks on the closest target for easiest aiming.  No matter what aiming type you choose you won’t be disappointed by the feel of the lead fury in your hands.  Your bullets tear through the enemies with satisfying, cinematic destruction, especially during the “Kill Cam” which tracks the final bullet that Max fires at the last target standing during a shootout. 

  

Bullet-time is as great as ever as you witness each shot firing out in super slow-motion, causing destruction all around you as you return fire and pop off that final, fatal shot.  While Max has this advantage he still needs to be careful.  While you might want to forge ahead and blast away in an all-out hail of gunfire, taking cover is also pragmatic.  But don’t linger too long, with the full destructible environments; your cover can be quickly destroyed by enemy fire.  At times the levels can be unforgiving as Max faces off against some foes that seem damn near impervious to damage as well as a dwindling supply of ammunition. It really causes you to try and make every shot count.  Fortunately check points are frequent so there’s not a great deal of repeating that you’ll have to do.  There’s a good deal of weapons at your disposal and Max can wield either dual wield two smaller weapons or one more powerful weapon resulting in some tough choices.  Max also has a nice move wet of melee attacks.  

  

MP3 also shines in multi-player and makes for some truly chaotic games.  Perhaps the most fun comes from the Gang Wars mode where your group will have different objectives each round such as planting/defusing bombs at protected sites or trying to assassinate a rival gang’s VIP.  The game's online multiplayer features maps and modes that dynamically change within a match, as well as reward, ranking and clan systems.  

  

I’m not sure if I am ready to call Max Payne 3 a better game than L.A. Noire but it’s definitely right up there.  Grade A-


Tim Janson is a columnist and reviewer for Mania Entertainment.  He writes Level Up, the weekly look at videogames and the horror dedicated column, Tuesday Terrors.  Tim has written for Fangoria, Newsarama, City Slab Magazine, Twitch Film, and Cinefantastique.  He is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA).  Be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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troopershades 6/21/2012 4:48:03 AM

 Tiny nitpick, even though it wasnt released on the same day, Max Payne 3 IS on the PC, something that is omitted in the article.  Granted, anyone who is a self respecting PC gamer probably knows this.

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