Discover why an angry ex-cop's trip to Brazil will make you wish you were there on PlayStation 3.
Hard-bitten, gnarled and a long time fallen from grace, Max Payne has changed a lot since we last saw him on PlayStation 2 nearly a decade ago. Back then, he was a cynical New York cop. In Max Payne 3 on PS3, he is a broken man – and he's furious about it.
Find out why that anger will make for a stylish, explosive journey through the events that took him to breaking point. Here, we put a grizzled hero through his paces and highlight what to look forward to when the game hits PS3 in May 2012.
Bullets from Brazil
In an effort to escape the trauma caused by deep personal tragedy, Max finds himself in Brazil as a hired gun to Rodrigo Branco, a São Paulo tycoon. Thrown out of the police force and in danger of being washed up, Max is charged with protecting Branco's family, but events rapidly spiral out of control with the kidnap of the businessman's wife.
With rich visual styling cues influenced by dark graphic novels, the scene is set for a bullet-ridden descent into something far bigger than a hostage rescue.
It's slow time
Picture the scene. As Max makes his way through the bowels of a football stadium, armed gangsters stream into the corridor ahead, blocking his escape while flanking him. In a heartbeat he's surrounded. What does he do? Slow everything down, that's what. Bullet Time lets Max take stock of the situation and pick enemies off before they have a chance to get a fix on his position.
Shootdodge, meanwhile, is an effect which lets Max spring out of cover to unleash a barrage of shots in a graceful, deadly arc through the air – perfect for taking concealed enemies by surprise.
A gun in each hand
Venting his full fury on those responsible for his downfall, Max will use whatever he can lay his hands on. One lighter weapon, such as a sub-machine gun or a pistol, can be wielded in each hand, whereas bulkier assault rifles and shotguns will need a two-handed grip. In true action movie style, Max will toss away spent weapons and pick up replacements dropped by anyone unfortunate enough to have stood in his way.
One last chance
Painkillers provide more than relief. If Max takes a critical shot while in possession of the health boosting tablets, the action slows down and his aggressor is highlighted by an eerie ring of light. It's a lifeline that allows Max the chance to turn the tables – providing he is quick enough to return fire accurately. This Last Man Standing feature is a stylish final chance to evade death.
Look out too for the Final Kill Cam, which zooms in on the bullet Max fires to take down the last enemy in a firefight. When this occurs you'll know Max is in the clear, at least for a few deep breaths.
A wave of Euphoria
You'll be thrust into the very centre of Max's torment thanks to the Euphoria system, which gives allies and enemies lifelike animation and intelligence. Max benefits too, as he throws himself into confrontations with fluid momentum. His charge through the São Paulo underworld plays out with blistering velocity as a result.
Take Max's vendetta online, via PlayStation Network, in a multiplayer campaign that promises to be just as dramatic as the single player experience. By forming or joining a crew, you'll create alliances and rivalries that give meaning to every bullet you fire in Max Payne 3's multiplayer modes.
Central to this is the Gang Wars mode, which puts you at the core of events influenced by previous rounds. For instance, you might be tasked with defusing a rival gang's bombs across the city. You could then find yourself the target of a vengeful assassination attempt in the following match.
Max Payne 3 is set to be a hard-boiled tale of redemption that's full of flair on PS3. Make sure you're ready to face Max's demons by staying up to date with the game on eu.playstation.com and PlayStation.Blog at blog.eu.playstation.com.
Abandoned cities reclaimed by nature. A population decimated by a modern plague.
£39.99 – a small price, a year of gaming.