Max Payne 3’s animations, bringing the action to life

Sometimes it’s the little details in video games that make them amazing. Third-person shooters are a dime a dozen, but if you examine this Max Payne 3 trailer, you’ll see that there was a lot of minute special attention paid to everything in the game, which results in more realism and immersion–well, as real as you can get in a game with action that has the protagonist flying around and dodging bullets.

Life is animated (well)

Max Payne 3 looks like it’s prepared to bring us one of the best action experiences that can be had in the digital world. Pay close attention to the 1:32 mark (video above). Max dives and lands on the ground. From there he naturally turns around to aim at someone behind him while getting up. Also, normally when players move their characters left and right in a third-person shooter, the legs and torso don’t even look like they’re properly connected. The legs instantly twitch to the left or right as soon as the player wills it; and it looks very unnatural. Max Payne 3 doesn’t do this. Rather, Max feels more like he gets directions from the player and does the actions as quickly as he can, resulting in much more fluid and believable movements (1:43). I can guarantee you that almost no other game out there does this as well as Max Payne 3 is going to.

It’s thanks to Rockstar’s use of the Euphoria Engine that all of this is possible. Aside from pedestrians putting their hands on your car to lift themselves up–you know, after you “accidentally” knocked them down–Grand Theft Auto IV even had backwards drunk-walking. Go ahead and try it. It’s a phenomenal feat of technological know-how. Get your character drunk. Then press the joystick directly away from the way he’s facing. He will walk backwards, and it is amazing.

Reactions matter

One thing that can really hurt immersion in a video game is when things don’t react the way that you expect them to. In an action game, you’d probably expect that after shooting an enemy in his knee cap, for example, he’d have a hard time walking, he might die of blood loss, and he might appear to feel the pain of the wound. There doesn’t seem to be any inclusion of death by blood loss in Max Payne 3, but enemies will wince in pain, putting their hand over the body part that’s been shot. I haven’t been this impressed with hit-detection technology since GoldenEye 64, when enemies would even grab their back sides after being shot in that unfortunate space.

Add in the fact that the kill cam will vary based on the distance, weapon type, point of impact, and more, and you have one heck of an action game. A game that does over-the-top action so well that it shames the competition into other genres. Bring on the Payne, I say.

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