The Man Formerly Known as Max Payne

Another post from Kotaku. This one was kickstarted by the appearance of two new screenshots from Max Payne 3, which brought up old feelings I'd forgotten I had.

Until proven otherwise, I maintain, with every breath in my body, that this is not a Max Payne game, in much the same way that Conviction could be thought of as not being a Splinter Cell game (that's a rant for another day though).

Oh sure, it may bear the name of Max Payne, but if the gameplay is completely different (one of the developers mentioned a cover system), the plot is completely different (it's taking place in São Paulo, as opposed to New York), the lead character is completely different (Max is now fat, bald and bearded, and not voiced by James McCaffrey) and the developers are completely different (Rockstar Vienna/Vancouver as opposed to Remedy Entertainment), then it's a completely different game.

Call it a Max Payne game if you want, but that's nothing more than a lie. This is not a sequel, it's an original game in an established franchise. It's the Halloween 3 of gaming, and until Rockstar realize that Halloween 3 failed for a reason, the game is most likely doomed.

I brought up Splinter Cell Conviction earlier, and I'll bring it up again. Conviction is a Splinter Cell game in name only. The gameplay, possibly the most important thing in a game, is so radically different from the rest of the Splinter Cell series that it hardly bears any resemblance to it at all. The originals were slow paced, stealthy games. Conviction is most definitely not. I'm not saying Conviction is a bad game, but it just doesn't feel like a Splinter Cell game.

That last sentence is also my defense at other franchises where 'everything is different'. Bioshock 2, for example, had different developers and a different lead character, but because it took place in the same city (albeit areas we hadn't seen before), had some of the same characters (Little Sisters, Tenenbaum, Andrew Ryan and Fontaine, even if the last two were just through audio logs) and recreated the feel of the original game so well, it didn't matter if things were a little different. It felt like a worthy sequel.

Fallout 3 and New Vegas are another set of sequels you could say goes counter to my argument, but again, for everything that's different, there's a counterargument that says otherwise. The Fallout series has gone through several different styles (pre Fallout 3, there were the original 2 games, plus Tactics and Brotherhood of Steel), so why should a change to an FPS be any different? And despite them being a lot like Oblivion, there's enough changes and hangovers from the earlier games to make the two games feel like Fallout. The settings were well realized, the stories was appropriate and at times felt like a callback to the first games, the characters were well characterized and compelling... They really did feel like Fallout games.

The fact that something is by a different developer doesn't automatically make a new game in a franchise a bad thing, but when they change every little thing about a game, then you have cause for concern. And that's my problem with Max Payne 3. They've changed everything. That's why I don't think of it as a true Max Payne sequel, and why many others feel the same.

Maybe if Rockstar realize this and make Max look like... well, MAX, we might be more forgiving. As it stands, he just looks like someone from Kane and Lynch, which I think says it all!

Classic Achievements (Article)

Another article from Kotaku. This one posed the question "What achievements would you like to see for classic games?", and I went a little overboard. Here's the first two I did.

Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Collected all 100 Gold Skulltuta tokens

Touch of Gold
Obtained the Golden Gauntlets
(alternate name: I Keep Ma Pimp Hand Strong)

Swimming with the Fishes
Obtained the Golden Scale

You Got the Thing!
Obtained every single heart container

Bigger is Better
Got the fixed Biggeron Sword

Shot to the Heart
Scored 2,000 points in the Gerudo Valley Target Range

Full to the Brim
Collected, and filled, the largest sized Wallet

Get the Point?
Collected, and filled, the largest sized Quiver

Boom, Baby!
Collected, and filled, the largest sized Bomb Bag

Young Troublemaker
Collected, and filled, the largest sized Deku Seed Bag

It's Magic
Obtained both Deku Nut upgrades

Stick it to 'em
Obtained both Deku Stick upgrades

Practising for Later
Unlocked all 8 masks

Bean Counting
Planted all 10 Magic Beans

Earth, Wind and Fire
Obtained all 3 Magic Spells

Ghost in the Shell
Collected all 10 Ghosts

- Hidden Achievements -

Stabby Time!
Found the Kokiri Sword

Knight of the Round Table
Obtained a Hylian Shield

Engaged? To be MARRIED?
Received Zora's Sapphire

Blue is Better
Replaced Saria's Ocarina with the Ocarina of Time

Received the Master Sword

Phantom of the Opera
Defeated the Phantom Ganon

It Can't Rain All the Time
Learned the Song of Storms

Quit Horsing Around
Escaped with Epona

Stop! Hammer Time!
Gained the Megaton Hammer

That One Level
Entered the Water Temple

I'm Too Old for this Ship
Rode the Phantom Boat in the Shadow Temple

Boom! Head Shot!
Defeated Ganon

Prince of Persia (Classic)

So THAT'S What Happened
Watched the intro

Armed and Dangerous
Found a sword

Stabby Time!
Struck your first blow

Step Aerobics
Completed three levels

Mmm... Refreshing!
Regained health

Level Up!
Gained an extra hit point

Stronger Than I Thought
Flipped the world upside down

Someone Spiked the Punch
Drank poison

Feeling Gassy
Slowly fell to safety

Mirror Universe Counterpart
Jumped through the mirror

Two Halves Make a Whole
Re-united with your mirror self

Made My Way Up From Nothing
Reached the final level

Nothing Stands in the Way of True Love
Reunited with the Princess

Higher Than I Thought
Died by falling too far

Shish Kabob
Died by landing on spikes

Slice 'n' Dice
Died by getting sliced in half

Died by being beaten in combat

Far Too Late
Ran out of time