Wednesday, October 1, 2008

School's in

It seems I just can't keep to a proper posting schedule. I know I've said it before, but I'm going to try to post more often, and since I now have Wednesdays free (or at least, I don't have to be anywhere on Wednesdays...yet) I think I'm going to try to devote an hour or so on Wednesday to update. With any luck, I'll be able to keep to a weekly posting schedule, which really won't affect much of anything, other than making me feel good.

Everything with my teaching schedule and paperwork got in on time and it's all worked out, I'm getting paid, I'm teaching only once a week (with a tutoring session once a week as well), and I have health insurance once more. As far as my work goes, I'm still working on the problem my advisor gave me for the summer, however, after speaking with him this past Monday, I think I should be able to finish things up, and then write the main steps down using Latex. Of course, I'll have to learn the basics of Latex in order to do that part, but I've been meaning to do that for the past year or so anyway, since any published Physics paper is written using Latex.

A week or two ago I started playing Max Payne again, so that I would have it fresher in my mind in order to compare when I see the movie set to be released on October 17th. Read on for my review of this great game.

Max Payne is a TPS (third person shooter), although I'm not sure if that abbreviation is actually used, probably due to the fact that most shooters are first person, and the third person perspective is usually left to RPG's, or platformers. The downside to this method is the camera, when the action is taking place in closed quarters, as many shooters tend to, the camera can get hung up on protrusions or blocked by walls or doors. Max Payne is no exception to this, and while most of the action sequences are in halls or relatively small rooms, it only happens rarely. Not only that, but it actually helps when you want to look around corners, you're able to move the camera so that you can see around the corner while staying out of sight.

The graphics aren't horrible, but they're not much to look at, which is understandable considering the game was released in 2001. In a few places, when you kill an enemy, you're treated to a slow-mo death animation, which is kind of cool, unless of course there are still some baddies hanging around, although this happened to me only once. The bullet time effects and explosions are pretty nice as well.

The cut scenes are one of the aspects of the series that I love. They have the usual scenes rendered in the game engine interspersed throughout which doesn't break the gameplay too much, which is always nice. Instead of having prerendered cut scenes between acts or chapters, however, it's more a graphic novel style, which is definitely different.

As far as the storyline goes, I prefer the second game to the first game. The first game's basic story is fairly common, the main character's family is killed so he goes out looking for revenge. The difference here, is that Max tries to do it somewhat legally at first, he's a cop, so he switches into the drug branch of the NYPD, since his family was killed by junkies. Eventually he gets in over his head and ends up going on a killing spree through New York.

The only music I really remember is in a few major gunfights when some rocking music starts up. Other than that, the sound is alright, nothing too great, although it does get old listening to the shouts of the baddies when they see you. Most of the time, it's either "Payne!" or "It's Payne, get him!" If you sneak up on enemies, however, sometimes you're able to overhear conversations, and these are usually enjoyable, like the one near the end of the game where the guys are talking about bullet time in movies, and how it would be cool to have that in real life.

All in all, Max Payne is a good game, which has aged fairly well, and is completely enjoyable even seven years after release. Look for a review of the sequel in a few weeks (hopefully).

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