Rockstar Games has just released the first details of multiplayer gameplay in their much anticipated title, Max Payne 3, and I’m not going to hide my enthusiasm. To put it bluntly, the game looks awesome.
Rockstar has decided not to create another cut and paste shooter and instead integrated the single player experience into the multiplayer game play. At first, this doesn’t sound like a great idea, however the more I delve into the details the more apparent it becomes that this might be setting a precedent for the shooter genre. A good precedent.
Instead of the same mindless K/D style of games like Call of Duty, MP3 has created a unique game mode called Gang Wars where there is a story behind what you’re trying to do. In the example given on Rockstar Games’ website, a match may start off as a drug deal gone wrong and in the ensuing battle, you have to get the duffle bags stuffed with cash back to the safe points. Sure, this is just capture the flag, but we like that it feels like there is more of an objective here. It feels more real to carry a duffle bag full of drug money then a flag pole, as odd as that sounds.
However, the real kicker comes with the next round. Instead of just a team role reversal, the objectives change based upon the events that unfolded in the first round and provide the player with context and motivation for the battle in the first place. For example, if someone on the other team was dominating the first round, a bounty will be placed on his head. If your team grabbed the most territory, in the second round the other team is going to be placing bombs on your turf that you have to defuse. Dynamic missions are always good.
The next aspect of multiplayer, bursts, feels a little more familiar; not that its a bad thing. Bursts seem to act like the perks and unlocks from other shooters, albeit with a little more flair. Perks such as Paranoia sound particularly evil and rage inducing… it causes the other team to see their teammates as enemies. Sneaky makes you look friendly to the enemy, allowing you to ambush them from behind. Intuition allows you to see the silhouette of every enemy, a burst I’m not too excited about but I’ll see how it pans out. The Max Payne staple Bullet Time makes the transition over to multiplayer as well. It is based on line of sight meaning if another player sees you for long enough and activates BT, time slows down for both players.
Finally, multiplayer isn’t just for blasting your friends. It actually augments the single player game by providing the player with back stories and information about the gangs you’re battling. Voice-overs in multiplayer are voiced by Max and motion comics are used to give it even more of a single player/multiplayer hybrid feel.
Based on what we have seen, MP3 may just be a sleeper multiplayer hit because Rockstar has attempted to break through the stagnate state of current shooters with something fresh and unique. We will be keeping a watchful eye on this game as it develops and post updates as they come out.
Max Payne 3 is slated for a March 2012 release date