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    Entries in rockstar games (8)


    GTA V: Pre-Order Today, Trailer Next Week

    Hey sexy, looking good! No, not you, I'm talking to GTA V, which celebrates its official pre-order availability by releasing the above teaser image. Not much I know, but come next week we'll have the game's second trailer to pick apart and cook up more ridiculous theories about Nico, Claude, CJ returning for more action. Personally, I'd love for Little Jacob to have his own game. Pipe dream, feel me?

    Pre-order GTA V at Amazon (referral) 


    Max Payne 3: The Return of the Gangsta

    It seems like it was just a few years ago that I was having my mind blown by the incredible feats of Max Payne. Remedy Software's PC title broke many walls with its gritty tale of horror and industry-changing Bullet Time mechanic that hundreds of games have since reused, with often less than spectacular results. Then, after damn near a decade of silence, Rockstar gives new life to the series with the announcement of Max Payne 3, proving the series to be unkillable much like Max himself. Is the game as old and worn down as its hero as well?

    Click to read more ...


    Max Payne 3: More than Bullet Time

    Max Payne is back for the third time, and he brings bullets and time. But that's old news. With Rockstar at the helm of the fabled action series, the forces driving Max Payne 3 is the big story. Targeting, animation, enemy intelligence, pimpin'! I had the chance to see some of this in person, and it was pretty damn impressive. Now, you can see it too! Though more a developer diary than a full on trailer, these 3 minutes of Max are as lovely as they are informative. You want neck shots? You got it. How about Max bullet-diving into the side of a bus? Gotcha covered. 

    Max Payne 3 is looking as smooth as a bald head so far, and it'll probably continue to. My worries begin and end with how deep the gameplay will be. Shooting dudes in the eye while diving backwards down a flight of stairs never gets boring. Or does it? Rockstar better figure out a way to teach this old dog some new tricks.


    Grand Theft Auto V Retreads Familiar Territory

    Here it is, kids. Rockstar has finally released the first trailer for GTA V, and I must say, I am disappoint. Of course, no post about a Rockstar title would be complete without my infamous jaded eye toward the well-recieved juggernaut. It's been a long running friendly feud between R* and myself since I was completely underwhelmed by Red Dead Redemption. Though I was worried about L.A. Noire, and that turned out to be a great game, so anything can happen.

    Grand Theft Auto V brings the series back to the West Coast, in what appears to be Los Santos, the fictional equivalent of Los Angeles. If we're to judge by the trailer, I'd say the character speaking is a man of Hispanic descent. He makes it very clear that he's relocated to Los Santos to find a better life for himself and his family, though if this is a GTA game, we know he'll end up becoming involved in some illegal hijinks somehow.

    Is it too early to pass judgement? Of course. Though this whole 'former criminal trying to start a new life only to be dragged back into crime' angle is way overplayed, especially in the Grand Theft Auto series. That said, I still don't know 99.9% of the story behind Rockstar's latest. There were some rumors about multiple protagonists, so maybe - hopefully - one of them will come from a different pedigree, who knows. I will say the graphics look incredible, while sticking to the GTA style that fans of the series have come to love. Also, funky music. I can fux with it.

    Let the countdown to GTA V trailer #2 begin. 


    Max Payne 3 Demoed at NYCC'11, Valkyr Not Included

    If you have never played Max Payne, buy and play it right this instant, then come back and read this post. Go on, I'll wait.

    All settled?

    Right then, Max Payne is one of the most revolutionary action games to date. A disturbing, multilayered story coupled with the first uses of 'bullet time' created a winning product, no doubt. When Rockstar announced Max Payne 3 - 8 years after the second entry - I raised an eyebrow. That was all. I didn't expect the newer, older Max to be of any interest to me, but after watching 15 minutes or so of gameplay.. Well, let's just say I've underrated Rockstar, again.

    Max Payne 3 is set several years after the conclusion of Max the second. Max is now an older, fatter gentleman who continues to deal with the traumatic events of his past by turning to the bottle. The demo starts with a flashback to Max's time in New York, to help to illustrate how he came into his current situation as a bodyguard for one of Sao Paolo's most politically powerful families. James McCaffrey's return as the voice of Max, together with hints of Max Payne's iconic theme sets things off in the right direction. A ghost from the past has shown up at Max's doorstep with an army of mobsters, seeking consolation by way of bullets. As the mafia mobs Max's misshapen manor, the bullet ballet begins. Right now, the HUD almost exactly resembles its previous incarnation. A white silhouette represents health, with a number within to note the amount of painkillers carried. Next to these is the bullet time meter. Max can wield either one or two one-handed weapons, or one two-handed weapon, quickly accessible via weapon wheel.

    Players familiar with the series will already know what Max is capable of, however Rockstar has done its best to add something fresh here and there. Bullet time, as I hope you know, slows the world around Max, while allowing him to aim at normal speed. You're also less likely to be hit by any incoming bullets when this mode is active, providing you don't just stand around like a lame duck. The best course of action in bullet time, is always to activate and dive, which not only gets results, but looks cool as hell. As you would expect from Rockstar, all sorts of attention to detail has been paid to animations, assuring that Max looks as realistic as possible when completing a dive, after which he has full 360-degree aiming control while on the ground. On the topic of animations, get this: the motion capture process was so thorough, Rockstar created full scale sets to mimic the environments found in game, so every fence-climb, every median-vault, and every dash for cover is preformed by Max & company with unparalleled realism.

    After the flashback in New York, Max is now in current day Brazil, looking a bit on the haggard side. This scene begins with a new take on the graphic comic style of storytelling the first two entries in the series used. It's been described as a motion comic, but it seems more along the lines of an interlude scene from 24: full video clips occurring in multiple panels, with more cross processed color, and less Jack Bauer. I am not a fan, but should they keep this style in the final product, I'm sure I'll get used to it. Max is accompanied by a lovely young Brazilian woman, whom it seems he is tasked to protect. Of course, the duo is then assaulted by waves of men possessing body armor and assault rifles. Here is where the combat shines. Max is now able to take cover behind objects to help shield him from harm when bullet time is not an option. In past titles, having to rely solely on bullet time instead of cover encouraged an aggressive play style, whether or not the cover system will detract from that remains to be seen. Environments contain a high level of detail, especially when being shot and blown up. Just about everything comes crumbling down as it soaks up the hail of bullets and explosions, and I wouldn't have it any other way. When the last enemy of each wave is set down, bullet-cam makes its glorious return. As the enemy is shot, the camera takes a unique, dynamic angle to show the bullet exiting the barrel of Max's gun. As the bullet heads toward its final destination in slow motion, you have a great deal of control, including increasing or decreasing the speed, so you can savor that final kill any way you'd like. My words don't do this much justice, it looked pretty damn good.

    I was slightly skeptical about this title before, but Rockstar has done well to ease many of my concerns. Many, but not all. With no sign of deviating from the classic Max Payne formula, will this title lack depth to the game mechanics? Lips were sealed tight regarding multiplayer, but rest assured it will be an integral part of the title, however in what form is completely unknown. Max's internal monolgue is in tact, and we were told Remedy Entertainment - developers of MP and MP2 - like what they've seen and have given their blessing. Max Payne 3 is still a ways off, but from what I've been shown, Rockstar appears to be on the right track. Will a vicious Valkyr addiction ruin Max's return to glory? Stay tuned.

    BONUS: Free T-shirt Giveaway
    Leave a comment below for a chance to win a spiffy Max Payne 3 T-shirt courtesy of the loving folks at R*. Let me know what intrigues you most about Max Payne 3, or just say "I want free shit." Winner to be announced on Friday October 17, so get on it!


    REVIEW: L.A. Noire (and Free Swag Giveaway!)

    Since the release of L.A. Noire two weeks ago, people have been constantly asking me what I think of the game, and where my review is. L.A. Noire is a vast universe of exploration and interrogation that I needed to play in full before even attempting to put my thoughts together on paper. With all there is to see and do, you can easily lose yourself for 40 hours. So the review is a little behind schedule, but to make up for it, our friends at Rockstar have given us some free stuff to give away. Read on to find out if L.A. Noire is worthy of your time, and to win free shit!

    Click to read more ...


    L.A. Noire Launch Trailer is All About Dramaaaaa

    Oh hell no, girlfriend. You did not just investigate a homicide case! Mmmmmm-hmmmm!

    L.A. Noire is set for release in less than a week, next Tuesday May 17. What better way to get you to preorder than with this, a shiny new launch trailer! Said trailer is all about the drama, baby. Car accidents, guns, yelling, guns, dramatic camera angles, yelling, guns! I can't take it any more! 

    Try not to be fooled by the trailer. If you go into L.A. Noire thinking you're going to get a weapon-heavy Grand Theft Auto fueled kill-spree, you will be disappointed. Me? I'm actually relieved that L.A. Noire goes more the route of drama and crime scene investigation than it does mindless violence and escort missions. 

    Preorder while you still can!


    Is the Average Gamer Ready For L.A. Noire?

    My opinion of L.A. Noire has been on an upswing lately. The more I see of it, the more I realize Team Bondi and Rockstar are genuinely trying something different. So for that, respect knuckles. Yet for some reason, there is a bit of worry in the back of my mind. Like Red Dead Redemption before, I thought L.A. Noire was going to slap on a coat of 1947 to Grand Theft Auto 4 and call it a day. After previewing a good chunk of gameplay, I am now assured that this is not the case, in fact it's almost the complete opposite. What appears to be a greatly detailed story is accompanied by investigation and interrogation gameplay, with action taking a back seat.

    Fans of the CSI will love this stuff. You arrive at the crime scene, and survey the area, doing everything from questioning beat cops and coroners, shooing off pesky journalists, and inspecting evidence for clues to cracking the case. Relevant information such as case notes are stored in your journal, which acts as a menu screen, where you can assign active objectives and keep log of all records to track back to in the event that you have any questions about any case you've undertaken, past or present.

    The journal is handy when interrogating suspects, whom you pepper with questions and must judge whether their responses are truth, lie, or if they're not giving it to you straight. Of course, the MotionScan technology allows characters to show truly honest emotion with incredibly detail, making it a joy to try to read your suspect's expressions and habits while trying to catch them in a lie. Of course, this is detective work. You can't just point your finger, call them a liar, and have them locked up and sent to Alcatraz. You need evidence! How do you know the man across from you hired someone to kill his wife? A quick look to you journal reminds you of the ominous sounding note written by the man, found in his apartment. Book 'em, Danno.

    I was told the game's action -- fist fighting, and shooting -- is a reward of sorts for good investigative work. I was shown a scene where after successfully accusing a man of the crimes committed, he jumped up and started throwing punches at our newly promoted homicide detective, Cole Phelps. The brawling was in typical GTA fashion it seemed, nothing really special to note. Which is one of the reasons why I hope it's held to a minimum. The demo didn't show any gunplay, which is said to be a "last resort" but I can't imagine it being done differently at all, or playing a prominent role in the game. Fingers crossed for a Private Eye mode, where time slows and you can paint your targets before unleashing a hail of hot lead. That's some Red Dead sarcasm, folks.

    With that said, will L.A. Noire appeal to the average gamer, or will it be a conflict of interest for generation kill? Heavy Rain tried to make a game feel more like a movie, and while it did well critically, it lacked commercial middle ground, with gamers either loving or hating it. While not nearly as dramatic a departure from typical gaming as Heavy Rain, L.A, Noire is putting the focus on something other than running, shooting, flying, slashing, jumping, or anything like that. Rockstar has faith that gamers are ready to explore the life of a homicide detective by questioning suspects, following leads, and inspecting evidence. While I was once skeptical of throwing $60 on another Grand Theft Auto clone, I'm actually convinced that it's different enough to warrant a buy. Now my eyebrow is arched toward you, gamers, and whether or not you're ready to accept a game like L.A. Noire.