The Exhausting Violence of Max Payne 3

The Exhausting Violence of Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3 might be one of the most important games of this console generation.

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Good read, I agree good games stay with you long after you play them.

Also, I do think about the people you kill in games, I know the people you are killing are just targets you are gunning down by the hundreds, but dude, you are a monstrous killing machine in games like GTA and Fallout, despite killing bad people, you leave mountains of bodies and no one bats an eyelid.

I have yet to play Max Payne 3, should borrow it from my cousin soon...

One of the things that are going to hold games back narrative-wise is that they need to justify and support the gameplay.

That limits what kind of setting we can use and themes we can explore. I mean, once we've really rung the analysis of violence dry, we're going to have to find ways of making alternate kinds of gameplay to support different scenarios, and still make them fun. The closest thing we have right now are long strings of QTEs and adventure games, and those will get boring fast.

this is why I play TF2 the violence is not exhausting. It just goes to show how much good Max Pane is if it makes you feel like that.

Once photorealism kicks in, i can see violence affecting people alot more, than it does normaly games.

Max payne is quite violent, however, it is only because of the graphical level that the violence hits you.

with gta, you can mow down hundreds of people, yet it not affect you, yet after a couple of brutal kills in MP, it can.

Maybe the story is portrayed better, and you feel like max, i dont know, but i think its down to the increase in graphics, and what the can show, e.g. blood dripping and flowing from a bullet wound, or the slow motion shooting.

Dennis Scimeca:
Even the best movies about Vietnam and World War II, with the most gruesome and brutal depictions of violence aren't mostly about firefights and death. Do we think a videogame audience would put up with the same proportion of action-to-narrative that war movies usually present?

That entirely depends on what you mean by 'videogame audience'. Would it have broad based appeal in the mainstream gaming market? No, certainly not. Would it, if it was handled well, become a cult classic amongst certain niche groups? I have no doubt it would.

Can you imagine an eight-hour campaign of some of the most brutal, horrific, psychologically-taxing violence we've ever seen in a videogame?

Yes, I can imagine that...

[crotchetty old gamer] and I'd still be disappointed that the campaign was only 8 hours long.[/crotchetty old gamer]

Would any of us actually want to play that?

If it was any good, I would.

Maybe the argument "Movies can tackle serious issues about war, so why can't videogames?" doesn't make as much sense as I thought it did. Maybe the difference in mediums, specifically the length of the experience and the pacing that each medium requires in order to be successful, really does make a tremendous difference here.

I don't think so... the problem is that you're equating all of cinema's audience to a specific, albeit (possibly the most) numerous, set of gamers and stacking every genre of film against one genre of game. In short, you've created a false equivalency.

If we took the form and formula of the Shooter's film equivalent, the Action Blockbuster, and used that instead we'd get pretty much the same results - making a serious war film would seem to be impossible.

I've not played MP3, but I can appreciate that realistic violence (even if it isn't real) could be "psychologically exhausting" as you put it. But is the violence in MP3 really that realistic? Most video games (even the ones that claim to be realistic) feature stylised violence that I see as little more than the modern equivalent of a boulder landing on the head of Wile E. Coyote. If MP3 is so different then my (morbid) curiosity is piqued.

Guy Jackson:
I've not played MP3, but I can appreciate that realistic violence (even if it isn't real) could be "psychologically exhausting" as you put it. But is the violence in MP3 really that realistic? Most video games (even the ones that claim to be realistic) feature stylised violence that I see as little more than the modern equivalent of a boulder landing on the head of Wile E. Coyote. If MP3 is so different then my (morbid) curiosity is piqued.

The violence in MP3 isn't 'super-realistic', but it's visceral without being over the top. Shooting someone gives them actually looks like it puts a bloody hole in them (where here bloody is actually an adjective :P), because the game bothers with exit wounds which is a really nice touch. It doesn't really do dismemberment or anything like that (outside of scripted events), and there aren't huge sprays of blood, but there IS blood and it doesn't look like red paint. Otherwise there are moments in cutscenes where you see people being burnt alive or suffering from wounds from explosions where there skin is charred, hair is melted off, limbs are severed etc.

It's a very nasty affair, and it makes you feel it.

I would definitely recommend Spec Ops: The Line if you want violence that makes you think about what it is you're doing.

There's one point where I was hiding behind cover and these two enemy units hadn't seen me yet, so they were just chatting about gum. It was very human, very friendly conversation, which made them seem very real to me.

As they started heading in my direction, I remember thinking; "Please, just go the other way." I genuinely did not want to kill these people. The game is filled with moments like that. Fantastic game.

Thanks for the clarification Wyse. Also...

Mcoffey:
I would definitely recommend Spec Ops: The Line if you want violence that makes you think about what it is you're doing.

There's one point where I was hiding behind cover and these two enemy units hadn't seen me yet, so they were just chatting about gum. It was very human, very friendly conversation, which made them seem very real to me.

As they started heading in my direction, I remember thinking; "Please, just go the other way." I genuinely did not want to kill these people. The game is filled with moments like that. Fantastic game.

That's a neat touch.

Wyes:

Guy Jackson:
I've not played MP3, but I can appreciate that realistic violence (even if it isn't real) could be "psychologically exhausting" as you put it. But is the violence in MP3 really that realistic? Most video games (even the ones that claim to be realistic) feature stylised violence that I see as little more than the modern equivalent of a boulder landing on the head of Wile E. Coyote. If MP3 is so different then my (morbid) curiosity is piqued.

The violence in MP3 isn't 'super-realistic', but it's visceral without being over the top. Shooting someone gives them actually looks like it puts a bloody hole in them (where here bloody is actually an adjective :P), because the game bothers with exit wounds which is a really nice touch. It doesn't really do dismemberment or anything like that (outside of scripted events), and there aren't huge sprays of blood, but there IS blood and it doesn't look like red paint. Otherwise there are moments in cutscenes where you see people being burnt alive or suffering from wounds from explosions where there skin is charred, hair is melted off, limbs are severed etc.

It's a very nasty affair, and it makes you feel it.

A part of it is also the amount of detail that goes into the bad guys reactions to being shot. They shout, fall over, grasp their wounds and in general act as if you just put them in the world of hurt that you expect a gunshot wound to create. It is just not the purely visual cues of the wounds but the victims reactions to said wounds that make it so unnerving.

I agree that Max Payne 3 is a terrific game. I too found it exhausting, though not primarily for the violence, but for the unrelenting bleakness of the narrative. Innocent people die horribly, guilty people escape death, and in the center of it is one of the most convincingly broken men ever to be the protagonist of a game.

But again with Six Days in Fallujah. Seriously, Six Days in Fallujah may be the most over-praised canceled game in history. Not that it necessarily would have been bad, but it seems like everyone projects their wishful thinking onto it with very little foundation. It was going to be the most mature wargame ever. It was going to be a searing antiwar statement. It was going to single-handedly deflate American militarism. It was going to be sharply political, and of course it would line up precisely with the political prejudices of the person praising it.

Do I wish it had been finished and released? Yes. Would I have played it? Absolutely. But there's really no way it could have lived up to the legendary levels of hype that "serious" thinkers and writers about games put on it.

"Psychologically exhausting" really? I found the violence to be more realistic and satisfying then disturbing. One of the things that keeps me replaying the game is the dramatic close-up kill of the final on-screen enemy. I love just how much detail was put into everything from the blood spray, to the limb movements, to the bullet traveling, to the exit wound being shown. Not because I'm a sadistic person who likes to watch people day, but because it makes each gunfight feel satisfying to conclude.

For me the violence was exausting onlybecause of how much there was. Just non stop gameplay of slow mo, headshot headshot headshot headshot reload, head shot headshot. repeat until done. It wasn't the graphic violence just the gameplay that exausted.

Loved this article, and I agree, the violence was unlike anything I had seen in some time. The way it cuts to, when you get killed, three different angles of the bullet entering your body. The tire burning scene (which reminded me of The Shield's second-season premiere). The way Max's character model retains most of the gunshot wounds throughout the level. Hearing the enemies screaming when you cripple them.

I haven't played MP3 but a similarly violent game is God of War 3. I enjoyed the game but, after playing it for more than 45 minutes I was exhausted. Part of that was the pacing in the game. Wave after wave of mobs coming at you with little time to catch a breath but, another part of the amount of gore being splattered everywhere. After 45 minutes I just needed a break from the intensity.

Does this apply to the Darkness 2?

Like if Fox News would care about violence, however, show quarter of a nipple and they flip their shit.

I absolutely agree. Max Payne 3 is one of the best examples of "Immersion" that I have ever encountered in a game. By the end of my Hardcore playthrough of the game I was still having a great time, but emotionally I was devestated. Having Max be every bit as fragile as the men I was killing destroyed any illusion that Max was the hero of the game. He was simply another bad guy; he just happened to be putting holes in other bad guys, as Max himself put it.

When Max defeated Becker at the end I felt just as drained and exhausted as Max himself. There was no point in wasting the bullet. I had killed so many already, there was no point in anything anymore. There was precious little satisfaction in bringing down the plane and bringing an end to this sordid affair. So much suffering had already occured, how could this victory really make anything better?

Max Payne 3 is so brilliantly affecting and emotional, it turns you into just as much of a Nihilist as Max himself.

But that's what makes it so magnificent.

ThatDarnCoyote:
But again with Six Days in Fallujah. Seriously, Six Days in Fallujah may be the most over-praised canceled game in history. Not that it necessarily would have been bad, but it seems like everyone projects their wishful thinking onto it with very little foundation. It was going to be the most mature wargame ever. It was going to be a searing antiwar statement. It was going to single-handedly deflate American militarism. It was going to be sharply political, and of course it would line up precisely with the political prejudices of the person praising it.

Do I wish it had been finished and released? Yes. Would I have played it? Absolutely. But there's really no way it could have lived up to the legendary levels of hype that "serious" thinkers and writers about games put on it.

That praise was what was used to convince people that it should be released, its intention was not to revolutionize games but to tell the stories of the soldiers that worked with Atomic before they were on tour and participated in the Battle of Fallujah. If they had told their story any other way, book or movie, only those who already know what they have been through would know the details of their story. It was a video game biography and if it lived up to the hype then it may have been one of the most important games ever made. But it would be successful in its's purpose by just getting a release.

It's already been mentioned, but just to reaffirm - you really need to play SpecOps: The Line for a good look at what Six Days in Fallujah might have been. Though I suspect The Line is even more brutal than they would have dared.

What made me give up on just putting holes and more holes when you see your enemies fall in slow-mo was not the exhaustion - it was the lack of ammo. Totally unnecessary to just keep pulling the trigger.

Xenocides:
I haven't played MP3 but a similarly violent game is God of War 3.

No, it's not similarly violent.

God of War was that game I was waiting to find but was too young to understand. Now I appreciate the game's over-the-top unrealistic violence as the extreme power fantasy it is.

Max Payne is just realistically violent.

Prime_Hunter_H01:

That praise was what was used to convince people that it should be released, its intention was not to revolutionize games but to tell the stories of the soldiers that worked with Atomic before they were on tour and participated in the Battle of Fallujah. If they had told their story any other way, book or movie, only those who already know what they have been through would know the details of their story. It was a video game biography and if it lived up to the hype then it may have been one of the most important games ever made. But it would be successful in its's purpose by just getting a release.

I get that, and you're right. Again, I would have played it, and I liked that these Marines' stories would be told. My problem isn't with the game or the developer, but with people who always bring Six Days up whenever war-themed games are discussed.

The phrase you use, "if it lived up to the hype" is key. Consider: The updated version of Medal of Honor was made in close collaboration with veterans of special operations units, based on their experiences in the early days of the war in Afghanistan. It was, in many ways, their story, which had been largely untold in other media. But because it was actually made and released, it could be analyzed and criticized. In the OP, Mr. Scimeca just snarks at it.

I sometimes think that the "serious" writers and thinkers about games who sing the praises of Six Days were secretly relieved that it was canceled, because now their image of the game would never be sullied by real life. Like a rock star who died young, it would remain forever a shining promise of what might have been, and no similar game that actually gets released could ever compete with that vision.

ThatDarnCoyote:
The phrase you use, "if it lived up to the hype" is key. Consider: The updated version of Medal of Honor was made in close collaboration with veterans of special operations units, based on their experiences in the early days of the war in Afghanistan. It was, in many ways, their story, which had been largely untold in other media. But because it was actually made and released, it could be analyzed and criticized. In the OP, Mr. Scimeca just snarks at it.

Criticizing the idea of a military shooter being "realistic" is not snark. It's honest assessment that I've never heard any analyst or pundit, or gamer from the military disagree with.

Having military advisers on a development project does not mean the mil-shooter is realistic, or an actual depiction of real events such that anyone could seriously look at a mil-shooter and try to draw any conclusions about the reality of military life or conflict from it. Mil-shooters take famous or well-documented battles and use them as settings for levels, and that's about it.

The Medal of Honor series would better, and perhaps more responsibly, be described as "aesthetically authentic," meaning the gear, the lingo, the weapons, etc.. Any bearing on the real world ends when you take a step past that point. "Realism" is a marketing tool used to sell copies of these games and nothing more. Cynicism in the face of that word being applied to mil-shooters is a healthy thing.

ElPatron:
What made me give up on just putting holes and more holes when you see your enemies fall in slow-mo was not the exhaustion - it was the lack of ammo. Totally unnecessary to just keep pulling the trigger.

But if you had a tough fight that you had to reply many times and finally you pull it off nicely, putting those 20 Uzi bullets in feels like proper revenge.

Dennis Scimeca:

The Medal of Honor series would better, and perhaps more responsibly, be described as "aesthetically authentic," meaning the gear, the lingo, the weapons, etc.. Any bearing on the real world ends when you take a step past that point. "Realism" is a marketing tool used to sell copies of these games and nothing more. Cynicism in the face of that word being applied to mil-shooters is a healthy thing.

Thanks for the response! I think I understand a bit better what you were saying.

I take your point about the difference between "aesthetic authenticity" versus "realism", but I think it's splitting semantic hairs a bit too much. "Aesthetically authentic" may be a more precise term, but when gamers and developers talk about "realistic", it's pretty clear that they mean the same thing. And when we're talking about video games (or movies, for that matter), that's probably the practical limit anyway. No game is ever going to be able to really communicate the gestalt of armed combat beyond the aesthetics. And that limitation would have applied to Six Days in Fallujah just as much, had it been released.

Dennis Scimeca:
Having military advisers on a development project does not mean the mil-shooter is realistic, or an actual depiction of real events such that anyone could seriously look at a mil-shooter and try to draw any conclusions about the reality of military life or conflict from it. Mil-shooters take famous or well-documented battles and use them as settings for levels, and that's about it.

The Medal of Honor series would better, and perhaps more responsibly, be described as "aesthetically authentic," meaning the gear, the lingo, the weapons, etc.. Any bearing on the real world ends when you take a step past that point.

Yep, spot on.

The developers of mil-shooters know this. They know that aiming for 'realism' that goes any deeper than hanging the trappings of the military on their game has the very real likelihood of lessening its appeal to a broad audience. They know that the closer a mil-shooter gets to being a military simulation (milsim), the more niche it's appeal comes, which is why even on a single platform (PC in this case), any given CoD or BF title will outsell something like ArmA II (which shares pedigree with the VBS military training software).

Of course, even with milsim software, there's a limit to how far developers are willing to take 'realism', partly because things outside the focus of the sim but mostly because there are limits to how much 'realism' even the most hardcore simmer will put up with.

The basic reason to all this, which people need to keep in mind, is that some situations are entertaining if not outright fun to go through while others are nothing more than mindless tedium. A tense firefight or pull off a difficult aerobatic maneuver is entertaining... filing flight plans or standing sentry duty for hours with your biggest danger being chafing is not entertaining... and militatry service (and reality as a whole) contains far, far more of the non-entertaining sort of duties than the entertaining sort.

Or as a veteran infantryman of 20 years service in the Australian Army said to me, "Outside of actual combat, the closest game experience you'll get to military service is playing Solitaire for 12 hours every day."

RhombusHatesYou:
The basic reason to all this, which people need to keep in mind, is that some situations are entertaining if not outright fun to go through while others are nothing more than mindless tedium. A tense firefight or pull off a difficult aerobatic maneuver is entertaining... filing flight plans or standing sentry duty for hours with your biggest danger being chafing is not entertaining... and militatry service (and reality as a whole) contains far, far more of the non-entertaining sort of duties than the entertaining sort.

Or as a veteran infantryman of 20 years service in the Australian Army said to me, "Outside of actual combat, the closest game experience you'll get to military service is playing Solitaire for 12 hours every day."

That veteran is correct. Despite the fond memories most military members have about their service, most people may not realize that being in the military is a lot of waiting and procedure. My ROTC instructors taught me that, one one a pilot, the other was a cop. From their stories the closest to situation like a modern military shooter would portray was the make shift duty of grabbing water for the defense force in Kuwait during an alert and a sand storm. The one who was a pilot had the most danger due to bad landing conditions. No Ace Combat dogfights there.

Captcha: thats hot

I really hope it is talking about Kuwait or a jet afterburner.

Prime_Hunter_H01:
Or as a veteran infantryman of 20 years service in the Australian Army said to me, "Outside of actual combat, the closest game experience you'll get to military service is playing Solitaire for 12 hours every day."

That veteran is correct. Despite the fond memories most military members have about their service, most people may not realize that being in the military is a lot of waiting and procedure.[/quote]

He also said "the biggest day-to-day challenge a soldier will face in peacetime is managing to have a wank on the sly when on night sentry duty."

... can't really see that featuring in the next CoD.

Mcoffey:
I would definitely recommend Spec Ops: The Line if you want violence that makes you think about what it is you're doing.

There's one point where I was hiding behind cover and these two enemy units hadn't seen me yet, so they were just chatting about gum. It was very human, very friendly conversation, which made them seem very real to me.

As they started heading in my direction, I remember thinking; "Please, just go the other way." I genuinely did not want to kill these people. The game is filled with moments like that. Fantastic game.

I remember a game called Turok Evolution or something for the xbox or ps2 or something. Anyway one thing that could happen is if you injured your enemies enough they would surrender. They would get down on their knees and put their hands behind their heads. I don't remember if you could shoot them at that point but I know I always tried to avoid it since I tended to try and get them to do that, its too bad the game kinda sucked. It would be interesting to see a mechanic like that in a game now, where you could render someone unable to fight and either "Arrest" them or at least ignore them.

Worgen:
It would be interesting to see a mechanic like that in a game now, where you could render someone unable to fight and either "Arrest" them or at least ignore them.

You want to go and pick yourself up the old game SWAT 4 then.

RhombusHatesYou:

Worgen:
It would be interesting to see a mechanic like that in a game now, where you could render someone unable to fight and either "Arrest" them or at least ignore them.

You want to go and pick yourself up the old game SWAT 4 then.

Its strange how older games tended to do that, the only modern example I can think of that lets you not kill people is Deus Ex... and Alpha Protocol I suppose.

I remember one part in mw3, you had just blasted your way into a bunker and there were shell shocked solders stumbling around all over, you could shoot them or the ai would, no way to avoid it.

FANTASTIC game!!!
One of my favorites! Already playing for 3 week and don't wanna stop) By the way I Downloaded it free full version here http://bit.ly/maxpayne3new

 

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