Gaming has grown in leaps and bounds in the last decade thanks to the mushrooming of the various gaming platforms. And it is a divine belief that variety is the spice of life. And the spice in here is accounted for by popular consoles like PS3, Xbox, Wii and the good ol’ PC. From an MS-Dos “Dave” to the graphic-filled Call of Duty, the advancement has been immense to say the least.

My first tryst with gaming happened during my free days in 05’ between finishing class 12th and joining college (or the days of velapanti as we call it!) with the installation of Max Payne on my PC. I being more of a FIFA enthusiast from constant viewing at my friend’s place did not exactly endear it at first. But eventually I did start playing the noir revenge adventure of a NY cop made by Remedy Entertainment in 2001. Max Payne has not been able to come out of the traumatic killing of his wife Michelle and their little baby and vows to avenge her death by any means possible. What unfolds is a dark, morbid journey to hell and back in a tale interwoven with religion, drugs and corporate secrets. At times, you are emotionally drained by the gloomy and disturbing noir premises. The USP’s of this game was definitely its graphic novel storytelling and the Bullet Time which allowed Max to duck sideways or forward in slow motion for better shots at the thugs he was up against. The graphics are nowhere near what we are used to seeing today but the game itself holds a novelty value. Here’s a trailer for it.

Remedy did not the fans wait too long and bought the second installment of the game Max Payne 2 {A Noir Love Story} in 2003. The second game had much improved graphics and re-christened player controls, and with a show of homage with several references from the last game this game caught the fancy of gamers and critics worldwide. However, one drawback that everyone collectively found in Max Payne 2 was the relatively short story length. The film did score with its game play and art design but could never manage to scale the heights of emotional connect the first one achieved. And despite of all the good things about it, the commercial sales pointed otherwise. That is when Rockstar Games took over the mantle to replenish and revive the series with the third version.

Now don’t get me wrong as Rockstar Games are well versed with the action genre through its GTA brigade but I had this lingering sense of apprehension as I was worried that the Payne saga will lose its noir-ism and become more commercialized. But those were the PC days and by now I had become pretty well-versed with the offerings of the gaming world and expected a path-breaking improvement    with the visuals and game play. And to be honest, I have not been left disappointed on that front. In Max Payne 3, we find Max having moved from NY to Brazil and taken refuge amongst the noisy favelas. He has become a drunkard and his security gig turns into one big massacre of epic proportions as things start to go haywire. No point in me indulging too much into its storyline as I believe that might have a spoiler effect to any of you prospective gamers. The narrative is absorptive and hideously cynical to the core and the narrative even though a bit stretched at times makes for the interesting plot that unfolds. Now I am not into rating games as such, but have to say that Rockstar has done a fine job of rooting the action-fiction genre in this and make it one of the more proficient third-person shooter games of the year.

On a personal note, I have to admit that the experience of playing the previous two games on a PC and this one at my place on my LG Cinema 3D TV with my sneaky lil’ cousin (God bless the munchkin for getting his PS3 for the night out!) were worlds apart and got me thinking if it’s high time for me to invest in a game console myself!

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