Ben's Week In Review: April 3
March was a ridiculously busy month; April might give me a little break. But that secret project of ours might just launch this month, so...
Truth: Max Payne kicks ass
Yeah, we've gone well past the days when bullet-time was considered cutting-edge and the single coolest feature in gaming. Heck, dozens of titles have adopted that feature since, but I still say Max Payne 2 is one of my favorite games of all time. I loved the story and I loved the accessibility and nonstop fun of the gameplay. Bullet-time never got boring and I'm pretty sure I played that game through at least three times. Therefore, I'm plenty excited for Max Payne 3; I think it's too bad that so few seem to be all that psyched. On the PlayStation side, it's understandable. Max Payne was a PC/Xbox title; the PS2 versions just weren't quite as good, so long-time Sony loyalists might've easily missed the first two titles.
But even so, you shouldn't flat-out ignore MP3. Considering Rockstar's track record and the high standing of the franchise, I just can't imagine a poor effort, and it'll be interesting to see what they do in this next iteration. I just hope the storyline remains as robust as ever...
L.A. Noire already breaking boundaries
It's the first game ever to be honored with a Tribeca Film Festival presentation, and that says something. Granted, it could very well have been Heavy Rain, but admittedly, Team Bondi's project is a bit more mainstream, and of course, it'll be available on multiple platforms. But anyway, I think it's important that certain progressive games break boundaries in this way; it's important for those in film, for example, to see what this industry is doing. Maybe it'll give Hollywood some inspiration to look at themselves and go, "uh...when's the last time we were 'progressive?'" But there is one caveat to L.A. Noire that I've been thinking about- if it's either too easy or too difficult to make the correct decision by reading a suspect's face, the game takes a big stumble.
I mean, there are other elements to the gameplay, but that face recognition is a big feature, especially because of the innovation factor. If it falls flat, it means we still have a ways to go on the technology front, you know?
Personal gaming update
I'm done with Top Spin 4 for the time being so I'll go back to Crysis 2 and Dragon Age II. I thought about finishing The 3rd Birthday but it's just a tad too flawed for me, and all I can do is think about how much better it would've been with the original gameplay mechanic. It still has some of the most amazing cinematics you'll ever see on a portable unit (until the NGP arrives, at least), so that's a draw. And I will not torture myself by playing any more of SHIFT 2: Unleashed, which I was fully expecting to like. I don't care what anyone says; the control and reliability is way off, and the aggressiveness is so ridiculous, it's closer to destruction derby than racing.
Coming up, expect a review for SOCOM 4 as soon as the embargo lifts (April 12), and I expect to see Mortal Kombat at some point. Outside of that...I just want to launch our new feature...this month, if possible.
4/2/2011 Ben Dutka