MAX PAYNE 3
ROCKSTAR GAMES (XBOX 360, PS3, PC)
A paunchy, washed-up, and strung-out-on-pain-pills Max Payne makes a tragic hero in this hard-boiled sequel, which sends its titular cop-turned-contractor to São Paulo, Brazil, to protect a well-to-do family. Everything goes to hell, of course, and Max once again takes on armies of thugs in John Woo–caliber gunplay. A new animation system—combined with the series’ classic slowmotion effects—renders each impact in agonizing detail, and Max’s labored motions make it clear that he’s too old for this shit. When he dives through a door or takes a haymaker to the jaw, you practically feel it. New multiplayer modes, meanwhile, bring the cinematic combat to online drug wars. Pro players will love the weapon load-outs and level progression; rookies will appreciate the slow-mo effects for steady aim.