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Baby's first subversive video game

Spec Ops: “Hey, why do you play violent video games? Do you like KILLING people? Are you a MURDERER? Don’t you know that killing people is BAD and INHUMAN?”
Me: “well yea killing fictional beings creates an adrenaline rush devoid of pain or consequence of course only psychopaths would enjoy murder in real life hey why don’t you focus more on some of that unelaborated anti-war commentary rather than your shallow metanarrative which is directly in conflict with your linear gamepl—”

the video game equivalent of asking you to spell "icup" out loud


Look, as much as I treasure this game I completely understand the (usually clear-headed and astute) swathe of middling reappraisals that I've noticed recently. I think the uniformly positive SHOCK 2 THE INDUSTRY reception this had, along with its legendary/unassailable art game™ status, are somewhat responsible for a glut of lazy contrarian game design theorizing--and the now VERY tired trend of copycat "nonviolent guideposted explorathons" that reek of a certain elitist hostility toward any games that dont fall into this hyper-accessible, beauty obsessed, pseudomeditative format. I'm sick of this very narrow concept of what constitutes an artistic or thoughtful game too!
However, I can't blame Journey for the cultural response that engulfed it, especially because I truly believe that Chen and Santiago operated from an honest and inquisitive place of creation while chasing the ideas that most captivated them--not out of some pompous guiding impulse to shake up the system or merely prove that games could be "more". Watching interviews with Chen where he barely holds back a giant beaming smile while discussing his inspiration for Journey--the sense of disempowerment, awe, and unity felt by those who had seen the Earth from space--showcase an entirely uncynical fascination for an implicitly compelling subject to explore through gameplay. Journey feels incredibly bright eyed and open: its taut aesthetic beauty, welcoming accessibility, ambiguous spirituality, and intimate nonverbal social system don't come across as demands or provocations to me, but as the shared passions of a group of artists culminating into this radiant, excited thing. A lot of the game actually feels metaphorical of the game-creation process for this small studio of friends experimenting together: the stone-carved glyphs and histories of bombastic past creators are present and noted, of course, but they're merely abstract window dressing in the much more personal collaborative journey being discovered.
I do think ThatGameCompany's prominent reputation HAS affected their process, and no longer feel the same spark in their work. I don't know if I believe in the whole "art has a singular soul" concept or even invest too seriously one way or the other in auteur theory in general, but I do know that for me, Journey emits a purity of spirit that makes me feel an intense affinity with those who created it--one that isn't matched by later games with very similar structural trappings. Maybe it's not possible to feel that anymore if you're coming to it with the foreknowledge of the game's reputation and legacy, or if you've already had this sort of experience with one of its many stylistic second cousins. I'm not sure.

Brazilians should get region locked from the rest of the internet

One of the biggest game studios in the world spent a hundred million dollars to make a kinda clunky and at times visually repulsive game about a drunken self destructive loser going on a boneheaded quest for redemption that he fucks up every step of the way, it rules

i miss when games about overcoming depression and anxiety were called max payne 3 and they featured protagonists who were in the worst shape theyve ever been and the gameplay loop was about the protagonist abusing substances and constantly trying to unceremoniously die in a shootout

Here's an opinion that'll get me kicked out of the Rockstar fan club within a second: I think Max Payne 3's aged better than GTA V. Come at me if you want to; I don't care.
Rockstar's output has always been staggeringly linear, with a few rare exceptions. Those exceptions, of course, don't come after the year 2001. They like to brag about the density of their game worlds, the size of it all, and how much blood, sweat, and tears are poured into the most minute details. But if you actually play the games, you'll find an existing conflict between the open world aspect and the "follow the yellow line" approach to mission design. I suspect one of the reasons that so few people have finished Red Dead Redemption 2 is that the mechanical upgrades it received from its predecessor only serve to highlight what hadn't changed in the eight years it took for it to release.
And this is where Max comes in. Max Payne 3 has no pretensions about what it is: it’s a linear, cover-based shoot-em-up. But what separates Max from the pack is that it has all of the polish and care of its more ambitious siblings. Ten years on, it’s still a striking game to look at. Environments may not have the same level of interactivity, but on a visual level, they’re staggeringly detailed. Cutscenes ooze style out of every pore, aided by performances that are directed to near perfection. Max might not come out of it feeling like the same person he was in the first two games, but there’s so much passion behind James McCaffrey’s performance that it’s easy to ignore that.
But undeniably, it’s the gameplay that seals the deal. Anybody who’s put a significant amount of time into F.E.A.R. knows the feeling of reloading checkpoints over and over again to see all of the ways in which you can approach a given scenario. Max Payne 3 captures this feeling and then some. It’s exhilarating to jump off of a staircase, cap five guys on your way down, and then finish off the last one as he tries to square with you. Outside of the game-feel, though, Max Payne 3 is shockingly violent. Like, more violent than the game that proceeded it. Bullets leave entry and exit wounds, which, along with death animations and blood decals, makes every gun feel about as brutal as it sounds. As a result, there isn’t a single gun in Max Payne 3 that doesn’t feel like a veritable killing machine. Given the game’s weapon limit, that’s one hell of an accomplishment. And on the subject of that weapon limit, I think it might be one of the few times it’s done right. It’s not that you have only two guns or three guns. You have two side-arms, which you can switch to at any moment. But you also have a big gun, like a shotgun or a machine gun. You can dual-wield your side-arms, but it comes at the cost of your big gun. There’s a layer of risk and reward that makes the system fun to engage with, rather than the grating ways in which it’s typically used. Since each gun has its strengths and weaknesses, you’ll find yourself trying to read situations. You could, of course, use only your big gun until it runs out of ammo. But say you’re dealing with close-quarters combat and you want something that’s quicker. Dual-wielding uzis absolutely shreds. Both work, and although they’re not equal, it’s the different feeling of both options that’ll keep you coming back.
The story’s a bit messy, although I don’t have much to say about it. Obvious plot holes and silly reveals aside, it’s wonderfully presented and inoffensive unless you’re opposed to the direction they’ve decided to take the series. The only big stick-up I have is that, unless you have a mod installed on the PC version, all of the cutscenes have arbitrary load times. If you’re playing the game for the first time or revisiting it after a few years, you probably won’t complain too much. But if you’re trying to 100% the game, I can see having to rewatch the same footage ad nauseam being somewhat of a nuisance.
Thankfully, there's a mod that addresses that and removes the wait times. If you’re going to get that mod, you might as well get the first-person mod, too. It’s janky as fuck; you rarely see the guns you’re holding in a way that almost harkens back to Goldeneye 64. Movement that feels solid in third-person can feel a bit clunkier in first, as well. Your head isn’t so much a different part of your body as it is removed from it entirely. And if Max’s character model has a hat on it, it’ll obscure damn-near half your screen. But the combat is good in that it transcends the jank, and the new perspective adds to everything in a surprisingly organic way.
Overall, I think Max Payne 3 is a ridiculously entertaining game and deserves more credit than it's gotten over the years. It's not just "the game that inspired GTA V's combat mechanics." It's its own can of worms, and each is fun to play with.

I just wanna know if dog is okay

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