Previews

E3 2011's Most Anticipated: Max Payne 3

CVG E3 2011 Awards: Vote for the games that most excite you!

The games on show at E3 2011 are some of the best in living memory. So you really owe it to yourself to vote in CVG's inaugural E3 2011 Awards... in the Most Anticipated Title category.

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Shortly before the mega-event itself, we'll work out which of these 60 special E3 game previews have enjoyed the most page views, Facebook 'Likes', ReTweets and poll votes (see below) and crown our first victor at the Los Angeles event. Show your favourites the love!

Game: Max Payne 3
Publisher: Rockstar
Likelihood of E3 2011 showing: Possible

Who is Max Payne? Father to a murdered child, husband to a murdered wife; a detective fond of dead cows, shotguns, painkillers and mucking with the space-time continuum; an ex-cop with serious constipation problems?

Do the clothes make the man, or is there something that bit deeper to our hero, burdened as he is with a truly awful pun for a name? Rockstar seem to think so.

Gone are the more cosmetic trappings of the series: leather jacket, gloomy NY backstreets... oh, and hair. Max is now a bearded baldy in a grimy wife-beater, prowling the mean streets of San Paolo.

Clearly the biggest change to the series is the setting. When we recall Max Payne we think of The Big Apple's seedy underbelly, of shadowy back alleys and treacherous femme fatales. We think of noir - does the move to sunnier climes come at the cost of the game's dark soul?

NOIR MORE HEROES
Perhaps not. Judging by our initial impressions, a bleakness of spirit remains intact for Max Payne 3. What better place to explore the downfall of humanity than a city filled with deadly ghettos and a police force widely regarded as too corrupt and too lazy to do anything about it?

Crime, corruption, drugs? Our favourite serial killing vigilante will be right at home. From his bountiful scars to his slovenly appearance it's clear our Max is messed up. It was a long and painful road getting here: after junkies high on a new designer drug murdered his wife and daughter, he went undercover to put a stop to the drug's distribution.

One false murder accusation later, Max falls in love with an assassin by the name of Mona Sax, and kills a bunch of evil Russians. We can't remember why - like any good noir, it's insanely complicated.

He's spent the last 12 years at the end of a bottle, mired in misery and now with an addiction of his own. Having moved to San Paolo to escape his past, and in his new role providing private security for a wealthy family, it looked like he'd finally found some form of peace. You can imagine exactly how that turned out, so of course it's not long before he's drawn into the city's criminal underworld.

Rockstar haven't spilled much more than that, but they seem keen to uphold the complex narratives the series is known for. Of course, Bullet Time will remain a part of the game. But this isn't the same old Bullet Time you know and are sick of.

You'll still slow the world down at the touch of a button, but thanks to more realistic animation the action will have bags of detail. You're not just activating the ability, then strafing and holding fire; you're crashing into the environment, leaping obstacles and diving into cover, all in glorious slooooow moooootion.

Adding to this is something tentatively called Environmental Bullet Time - loosely scripted interactive set-pieces that closely resemble quick-time events. But rather than frustrating cutscenes requiring only the occasional button press, you're wholly in control here, pulling off impressive stunts, roof-surfing and the like.

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