NCAA Football 13 Review

Its July, which means one thing: the new seasons for fall sports begin their annual releases. The question usually following the excitement is will it make substantial changes or remain primarily the same? EA Tiburon has put together NCAA Football 13 with new features and tweaked ideas, but just as NCAA 11 developed huge changes so has 13.

The foundation of the gridiron has changed in the passing game. Defensively, the corners and safeties follow a read-and-react system. They respond to the release of the football on a pass by going up for the ball as often as the receiver, making the pump fake more useful than ever before. Without the need to control the corners to cover every play the game feels more lifelike. No more linebackers with impossible leaping INTs or teleporting wide receivers. With this system, zones now work the way they drawn up in the playbooks. Each player covers a spot, but waits patiently for the release of the football to close on pass. When the ball goes up in the air, it truly is a 50-50 ball as defenders are always lurking for a pick. The strategies become more important, because now telling zone coverage to cover short or deep will determine who is left open the longer the play continues. Just as zone is vulnerable on the real gridiron, targets will be easier to find in NCAA 13, because zone covers the field and not the recievers so mask the defense well.

Quarterbacks have their own counter to the new defense with placement control. Previous NCAA’s promoted control, but it ended with which shoulder and if it was a lob or a laser. Now each pass has its placement in relation to the receiver with each movement of the stick. It creates an entertaining flow to break the newly created defenses and gives the greatest QBs a larger gap of accuracy from the rest. All new animations reveal where each pass placement connects, leaving room for constant improvement.

On the topic of animations, tackling is now leaning more on realistic physics instead of the basic contact = tackle formula. Now the momentum of each player goes into effect and now more than before can gamers feel the potential to break a tackle each play. This also starts to have an effect on the juke. Most jukes create contact, but if the tackle is not strong enough the juke did its job avoiding the tackle.

There are many on the field changes in this year’s game, but the first noticeable change is the graphics. The lighting from the stadium appears to change every year, tweaking it for the better. This time on initial glance the game seems to have lost some detail, but up close NCAA 13 makes every player feel more alive. The usual upgrade of commentary and post-play animations shows the unique new look to this year’s graphical touches.

NCAA 13 did not stop at on the field changes. New features like Heisman challenge create another change of pace from the create-a-player concept. Now along with create-a-player, gamers can play as a former Heisman winner on any of today’s teams. Robert Griffin III along with greats like Charlie Ward, Barry Sanders and your own digital self each have a bullet-time ability to use. It is great for the few remaining seconds before a big juke or being under pressure in the pocket. NCAA 13 allots a certain amount of time based on player’s status and each second used is replaced only through yards, first downs and points.

Dynasty has also been tweaked focusing around feeling connected to the rest of the country. Recruiting now appeals to the current season instead of feeling separated from each week’s games. Recruiting pitches are changed weekly and are based on big wins/losses, other prospects and player performance. Most important for recruiting they have finally added an adaptable top ten list for each recruit. Scouting has also appeared in the recruiting section to avoid the busts. It is basic and just adds another selection in the recruit option. Nonetheless, it is an addition that will surely be improved upon with each annual release. Each school can also change its pitch grades now and understand how to improve or maintain it with the My School Screen. When playing each week, gamers will now know the repercussions from other games around the country with in-game updates during your game.

This year’s addition is a great improvement towards the overall goal of complete realism. There will always be room for improvement, but NCAA is always looking for the much deserved love and attention its older brother Madden receives. The multiplayer could still use some improvement and needs to hone in on its online identity. These improvements can always be set for another year, because this game was a strong step forward.

Score: 8.5

Valhalla: Good Improvements in the Passing Game, Heisman Challenge is a Nice Change

Hel: Online Identity still missing, Recruiting still needs Tweaking

Here at Top Tyr each game is played through its entirety before the review process begins. The review is based on entertaining gameplay, story and innovative advancement in gaming. Intangibles and changes between sequels are also viewed.

Spec Ops: The Line Review

The summer shooter, Spec Ops: The Line stands out above the rest with originality.  Instead of showing the more classical, heroic and James Bond style of warfare, 2k Games chooses to express the darker side of war. The deep-rooted story is inspired by the Joseph Conrad novel, Heart of Darkness, and pays graceful homage throughout the game.

Captain Walker leads the three man squad who are sent in to find a recent distress signal in Dubai six months after it was abandoned. Each basic objective leans toward the next potential answer on the journey for the overall question: Just what happened to Dubai after catastrophic sandstorms demolished the city? The story lays out as a search and potential rescue of a military leader, Colonel John Conrad, and his battalion of troops aiding everyone to evacuate the city.

The game begins quickly, flying out of the menu screen to be exact, and never lets go. Walker begins to discover a city already past the brink, viewing the aftermath and sifting through the destruction to solve the mystery that Dubai has become.

Most shooters lead with the gun battles and let the story drag behind. Spec Ops: The Line is just the opposite. The story sets up each battle making them feel more powerful and exciting. The cutscenes stream smoothly in and out of gameplay never giving gamers a moment to relax.

The characters are always expressing opinion and thoughts to verify and explain the reasons for each move made throughout the campaign. The reinforced ideals show the progression of character development and change in their behavior as they travel further into the heart of Dubai.

The unique offering the game brings is its in-depth story – the dark side of humanity that rises when there is consistent chaos. The war crimes committed by your enemies inside Dubai are horrific, but as Walker travels down the rabbit hole he faces certain decisions in order to survive. And after one war crime is committed, where is the pain in crossing that line one more time? Choices are made throughout the game, but each choice is not a pleasant one. Spec Ops: The Line questions ethics, morals, justices, order and right v. wrong. How can order be maintained in such chaos? Leaders stretch the limits of sanity and make Walker and his pals question the meaning of each of these words and blur the lines and boundaries of each one.

Near The Line’s finale, the loading screens refuse to let you ignore the horrors Walker and his allies and enemies have committed. Instead of continuing to give tips and hints for gameplay it sparks questions of what they have done and was it worth it?

As the game progresses each difficult decision seems to give Walker a new scar or abrasion on his face. It is the imagery of “to look yourself and know who you are” that creates a deeper feel than the average shooter.

Spec Ops: The Line uses the standard third person controls and the A-button cover system, with some well executed tweaks. It uses B-button as the vault over cover and the A-button to swing around it. It effectively eliminates those frustrating moments of past games running over cover instead of into it. While charging toward cover, the animations getting behind cover respond farther out, giving you ample time to stop tapping the A-button before accidently leaping around it.

The entire game feels very real. The guns have a solid kick when fired, a pleasant touch that has been lost over recent shooters. The power doesn’t end there as many enemies will drop just as they would in reality. No health bars or X amount of rounds needed, a single burst of rounds to the chest will do just fine. Headshots aren’t left out as slow-motion will show off the result.

However, the battle doesn’t just end with them. Sandstorms shape-shift the battlefield along with the ground you fight on. Mother Nature is not always your enemy. Enemies can be killed by sand and a city, declared no-man’s land, breeds new types of enemies throughout the game.

The AI opponents make firefights a challenge. They can be over-anxious in closing the gap, but as a group they push forward with every opportunity. It seems simple, but it increases the pressure to make the kill before being overwhelmed. Walker can order his troopers to attack certain enemies, keeping everyone on the same battle plan. That babysitting is required at times. Problems arise in your AI partners, Adams and Lugo, who seem to stand out in the open if cover isn’t conveniently available. When grabbing cover I always had to make sure there was enough available for everyone, otherwise I would be healing my downed friends most of the battle.

The weaponry options had a wide variety and the choices grew with each objective never leaving the game feeling too repetitive. Each weapon had a different ability, whether it was a scope or silencer attachment or burst v. automatic fire it gave multiple options on how to attack each battle. Every weapon also had its own feel and muzzle climb, although they blurred together as the game went onward.

The online capabilities consist of online co-op in the campaign and the basic multiplayer. The online co-op is successful for the harder difficulties, but the story itself is best left for single player. Multiplayer is not a strong suit, and seemed more like a forced add-on only because all shooters today have it. Then again, it makes no difference because of the game’s dared-to-be-different campaign, lasting 12 hours.

Score: 8.75 / 10

Valhalla: Great Story Adaptation, Solid Gameplay, Replay Value for Choices, Guns Feel Powerful and Effective

Hel: Multiplayer fell flat, Local Co-op would be Better, Lack of Modes outside the Campaign

Here at Top Tyr each game is played through its entirety before the review process begins. The review is based on entertaining gameplay, story and innovative advancement in gaming. Intangibles and changes between sequels are also viewed.

Lego Batman 2 Review

Another Lego game has arrived in Lego Batman 2: Super Heroes. The typical review would explain the great Lego adapted story packaged around simplistic yet entertaining gameplay. The humor would clean up any gaps of mellow points throughout the game. Fans of the adapted movies or comic book characters enjoyed each reminiscing moment re-enacted by the funny and adorable Legos.

Lego Batman 2 is the next of the lasting seven-year formula that has barely changed over the years. The simple addiction of collecting items throughout each level, which unlocks more gameplay in future play-throughs, feeds a great replay value. The breaking and rebuilding of Lego pieces to solve puzzles attaches to a childhood love. The formula has not changed since Lego Star Wars on the previous generation of consoles, because it has never needed to do so.

Nevertheless, Lego Batman 2 has improved the genre in some areas. Previous Lego games have created humor without speech by just using facial expressions and vocal tones. Lego Batman 2 gave its characters the gift of language and the humor was just as effective. Adding speech gave more comic relief for each super hero’s personalities spite or love for one another. Other improvements are less significant, but one worth mention is the new potential for a split-screen co-op. Instead of the mandatory shared screen, now when characters go their separate ways the screen will divide until they reunite to share the screen again.

The relative flaws are all associated with controls. Certain parts of the game create clunky controls for each scenario; Superman stands out in this category. In flight or where third person battles occur there is a lack of inverted controls, which is a standard in almost all games in today’s generation.

However, this is all just a small part to a solid overall game adding itself onto an ever-popular series.


Score: 8.0 / 10

Valhalla: United super hero personalities are hilarious, Improved Co-op, Enjoyable Story

Hel: Controls are Clunky at Times, Little Innovation


Here at Top Tyr each game is played through its entirety before the review process begins. The review is based on entertaining gameplay, story and innovative advancement in gaming. Intangibles and changes between sequels are also viewed.   

Lollipop Chainsaw Review

During the dry season of gaming, the smaller market games take center stage with practically exclusive release dates. The derogatory, yet hilarious, Lollipop Chainsaw shows off just how much we never grow up and still laugh and enjoy the teenage-level jokes of perversion. The newest character from developer Suda 51 is preppy Juliet Starling. Just like Suda 51’s predecessor, Shadows of the Damned, the game is filled with perversion and stupidity, but instead of diminishing the games humor enhances it.

Juliet, the stereotypical blonde cheerleader is late to school on her 18th birthday when the zombie breakout erupts. Luckily the corny, lovable and ditzy blonde is the middle of three sisters in a family full of zombie hunters. With her trusty chainsaw and perky personality she plans to discover how the zombie outbreak began and stop the potential zombie apocalypse from ending the world.

Juliet and her boyfriend, Nick Carlyle, each fulfill a piece of the entire amusement pie. Nick is a pessimistic realist that counter-acts Juliet’s perkiness from becoming too overwhelming. After Nick is bit by a zombie early into the game, he survives with just his head hanging from her hip. With his sarcastic reminders of the events happening in the game, Juliet discusses the most random of high school girly thoughts and affections that pop into her mind. The game improves the humor by never taking any part of itself seriously as every line points out it’s over the top tendencies and stereotypes.

The open perversion of the game is rather entertaining and hilarious, without forcing the jokes like recent games (Looking at you, Duke).  Starling leads the hilarity in a comic-book atmosphere with her high school lingo and snarky commentary, but she isn’t the only one. The zombies bark with comments just before they bite and the rescued high school classmates have their individual words portraying thanks.

Juliet’s girlish charm will fill the screen with rainbows and hearts as more combos slice thru enemies.

The game is more of a simple hack n slash, with entertaining value. With the chainsaw as the primary weapon and pom-pom quick attacks to stun zombies, basic attacks will suffice for survival. The game has unlockable combos to slay zombies by the handful and act as multipliers for more points to purchase more combos. Just like most combo filled games like Ninja Gaiden 2, Bayonetta and Devil May Cry, the game will grade your performance and time at the end of each level. Soul Star Mode is Juliet’s ability bar and her insta-kill mode. When used she lights up and flashes while inta-killing everything in Mario-like star mode fashion.

Lollipop Chainsaw is a short game, but its replay value is for collectibles and achievements junkies. The game has unlockable levels of difficulty and multiple replays are required to collect all the items. There are over 300 items to achieve, including combos and stats along with unlockable songs and outfits.

The game can feel like a peep show at times, but the teenage perversion is just as comedic as any other raunchy college film.

The game breaks up all the slashing with quick-time events, whether it’s a mini game with your boyfriend or a dodge from oncoming debris it ends being more corny than interesting. The better half of each stage has unique puzzles. The originality stirs up the continual slashing with each puzzle relating to its music and level design. This adds to the atmosphere and humor of each level. However, Lollipop Chainsaw is repetitive in the late game, because many enemies remain the same and after learning how to beat one style you learn to beat them all very quickly. On the other hand, the originality is respected and all the quirky dialogue attached to multiple movie references has me wanting to play more.

Where the game truly shines is in its boss battles. Bosses have original moments with unique attacks and are challenging without removing the entertainment. Whether it is dodging screamed words and letters hurled your way or just simply battling a personified genre of music, the game makes each boss a worthy yet enjoyable challenge.

The soundtrack deserves mentioning, because it is awesome. From “Lollipop” from 1958 while shopping at the store and the 1980s hit “Mickey” during Soul Star Mode, the catchy and upbeat tunes connects with Juliet’s personality and sets up a laugh in any room. Each boss has a genre based rock played by Mindless Self Indulgence. Once each level is surpassed that levels music can be put on the games MP3 for later use through the game.

Overall, Lollipop Chainsaw plays like a movie. Snarky dialogue with movie references attached to all the action packed storyline transforms a simple action movie into a solid game.

Score: 8.0 / 10

Valhalla: Original, Boss Battles, Awesome Soundtrack, Solid Controls, Lovable Characters, Humorous One-Liners

Hel: Hack and Slash simplicity, Too many load screens, Short game, Female version of game’s predecessor

Here at Top Tyr each game is played through its entirety before the review process begins. The review is based on entertaining gameplay, story and innovative advancement in gaming. Intangibles and changes between sequels are also viewed.

Top Five Games Rising from E3

# 5: Splinter Cell Blacklist

Release date: Spring 2013 (PC, 360, PS3)

The sequel to the successful Splinter Cell: Conviction was finally announced with Splinter Cell: Blacklist during this year’s E3. Sam Fisher and Ubisoft have expanded upon the mark & execute strategy from SC:C and better integrated it into gameplay with smoother action instead of the stop execute and start gameplay. Co-op is back after a beloved response from SC: Conviction’s story-connected co-op. The biggest announcement: Spies vs. Mercs is back by fan request. Every aspect from Conviction is taking a step up to entice fans for Blacklist. Tom Clancy has already added more gadgets to be detailed later, but there is silent downside. Michael Ironside, the strong and powerful voice of Sam Fisher, will not be returning.

# 4: Halo 4

Release date: 11/6/12 (360)

The first game of the next Halo trilogy has declared war on the Prometheans. This series is determined to link every gameplay aspect into the story and not just be another popular multiplayer shooter. The story shows a more in-depth attachment to the beloved duo of Master Chief and his female oriented AI, Cortana. Chief is fighting many new enemies including a possible confrontation with Cortana, herself. Multiplayer has a slim story attachment to spartan-on-spartan action, but Spartan-Ops create a newly created version of multiplayer for Halo fans. The idea is integrated from co-op, spec-ops, and weekly challenges to form four-player co-op missions. Spartan-Ops is based on a weekly episode per season, which includes missions and a video surrounding them. It gives a newly addictive reason to keep putting Halo back into the disc tray. With the story and the large fan base begging for more, Halo 4 should looks to satisfy all FPS fans.

#3: Assassin’s Creed 3

Release Date: 10/30/12 (PC, 360, PS3)

The final conclusion to the epic battle between assassins and templars reaches its climax in Assassin’s Creed 3. Soon to be released, many fans still have their doubts about the location and forest gameplay, but Ubisoft has yet to fail its fans in the series. E3 showed new game developments with multiplayer and naval battles. These battles will replace the den defense of AC: Revelations. It promises to allow players to still play as Connor by driving and potentially boarding other ships. Multiplayer has a new look with new modes. Domination was revealed and is the AC style of Call of Duty’s domination mode.

# 2: Dishonored

Release date: 10/9/12 (PC, 360, PS3)

Bethesda has displayed new gameplay at E3 raising the stock of Dishonored by the minute. They keep combining genres to push gaming to new heights. Dishonored embraces player creativity to an action RPG in every way different action RPGs have in the past and combined them into one game. Choices for story development attached to personal choice of super natural powers, like freezing time or human / animal possession, allows gamers to attack each room differently. A game designed with freedom for stealth or power styles of gameplay, having the option to kill or avoid every enemy and multiple powers to abuse and overpower every part of the environment combines for a mind-blowing game. Oh and yes, that means you can potentially avoid every enemy in the entire game. As long as the story surrounding in a unique steam-punk universe holds up, the game plans to give ultimate replay value with creative and choice freedom.

# 1. Watch Dogs

Release date: Unknown (PC, 360, PS3)

With so many sequels and safe picks for developers and their companies, Ubisoft has continued to pump out original content, peaking with Watch Dogs. The first glimpse and feel of next-gen gaming may have arrived with brilliant graphics and unique gameplay. In what looks like the near future, the protagonist is a hitman who uses elite hacker capable of controlling and tapping into seemingly every electronic device. The game premiered with no subtle CGI movie, but actual gameplay of you hunting a target. After subtle heads-up-display nuances resembling Assassin Creed and Splinter Cell gameplay, the game climaxes after causing the target to end up in a car crash caused by a hack into the street lights. Afterwards, the escape from local police shows beautiful life-like city in a downpour just before hacking into the drawbridge to complete his getaway. With a possible open-world environment and visionary gameplay we may never look at our games or real-life cities and electronics the same way again. It has also been confirmed that it will be Smartglass compatible.


First, it appears I am not just on, but driving the Ubisoft bandwagon. I just feel after Ubisoft made their ultimatum to game developers to create new ideas they have decided to lead by example. With the AC series wrapping up they are not looking to milk the cash cow. They are the biggest third party developer for the new Wii U games leading with eight games, including ZombiU and Rayman Legends. They have consistently avoided the basic FPS and RPG with unique niches or with entirely original ideas.

As for the tech in E3, Microsoft Smartglass seems to lead the way even over the Wii U. The ability to use your tablet or smartphone to aid in controlling the 360 menus is the answer to our lack of force powers to bring the remote or controller to us without leaving the couch. It is not the big leap in tech innovation, but it is another step in linking our tech together to make life just a little easier.

The Last of Us needs to be on this list and I want it to be after the new gameplay reveal, but it looked entirely scripted. The impressive and innovative outlook from Naughtydog continues to push it up the list.

Ghost Recon: Future Solider Review

Ghost Recon adds its third installment to the current generation consoles with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Solider. It has been seven years since Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 released and it shows with the latest changes in Future Solider. The display has the core of GRAW 2 with subtle touches from other Ubisoft ideas from games like Splinter Cell: Conviction.

Controls we’re explained throughout the campaign very well. A few loading screens between parts of some missions appeared, but rarely slowed down the momentum of the game. The game is an expected change of pace from the basic American guns blazing mentality. Tom Clancy and Ubisoft continue to make games together that take the effort of the kill itself into a, almost effortless, press of a single button. With a choice of tactics, they make the player feel powerful by providing the thrill of the hunt, which so few games produce effectively. The newest tactic to the series is the added sync shot. Just like SC: Conviction’s Mark & Execute feature, Future Solider allows the squad to target up to four enemies for simultaneous instant kills. It provides a strategy to each area and any failed attempted just seemed to spark more imagination to create perfection. The stealth combat is smooth, allowing players to go through entire missions without detection. Stealth is not required as run-n-gun tactics work just the same. Depending on your friends or AI squadmates, a nice mix of both strength and stealth is the best.

In squad based shooters, the AI help can make or break any game. Ghost Recon was infamous in recent games AI sqaud. Future Solider creates a successful squad acting as a team, not just four individuals. In the time of need, the player or the AI is capable of leaning on each other, whether it is in stealth or a firefight. During the campaign, I was getting into position to line up a shot on the fourth man in a sync shot when I became exposed to another marked enemy. My AI squad responded at the last moment without notification and eliminated all of their targets to avoid detection. The AI only struggled in large firefights, when not guided. If targets are marked or spotted with sensor grenades, the AI will focus fire to quickly eliminate foes. Even when trapped in cover by enemy suppressing fire, taking a quick peek to mark those targets makes all the difference.

The new cover system gathers its foundations from previous Ghost Recon games. It improves upon it by choosing any new cover by selecting with your reticle. This makes a Gears-of-War-style roadie run over to the selected cover just by holding down the A button. It does take a bit to get use to the sensitivity, because it is more of a point, choose and let it do the work. It is can be finicky and takes getting use to because Gears has trained us to adjust our roadie runs with the left stick, but now any  stick movement cancels the run to the assigned cover leaving you frozen and exposed.

Gunsmith creates a feeling of putting entire weapons together based on your preferences in battle

Gunsmith is a nice tool that allows wide customization capability. Kinect does not change it too much except for the initial time you feel like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Overall, Gunsmith helps with multiplayer decisions between matches and sometimes the randomness of just suggesting a close quarters weapon creates new ideas in how to improve your weapon and skills.

As with most shooters, the story is not the strongest aspect of the game. Of course with any Tom Clancy game the world always stands on the brink. The story begins with a dramatic beginning to find out who is behind a Central American attack, but with each new piece of gathered intel a bigger picture begins to form. The campaign has a variety of mission styles to keep the player progressing without repetition. From the lead spilling hold your ground moments to the stealthy solo VIP rescue Ghost Recon entertains each facet of a solid shooter, but now a days no shooter can be great without multiplayer.

Multiplayer is always objective based. Whether on head-to-head in modes like Conflict or Sabotage or even Guerilla Mode there is always something more to do than just killing the enemy. The objective based combat gets away from the popular team deathmatch modes that Call of Duty and Battlefield have made mundane. All ofmultiplayer is an overall success, but how each mode connects gamers, becomes the problem. The campaign and guerilla multiplayer has no matchmaking. Campaign is only online co-op and both are only available through friend parties.

Many shooters survive through multiplayer and Ghost Recon continues to satisfy its niche audience of realistic shooters. Battlefield has grabbed a vast majority of those games with its large maps and realistic health. With the many modes, including a satisfying Guerilla mode, multiplayer could possibly hold its own if it had more connectivity options.

Score: 8.25 / 10

Valhalla: Entertaining Gameplay, Sync Shot, Objective-based Multiplayer, AI Sqaud Improved

Hel: Weak Story, Lacks Matchmaking in Guerilla and Campaign Modes

Here at Top Tyr each game is played through its entirety before the review process begins. The review is based on entertaining gameplay, story and innovative advancement in gaming. Intangibles and changes between sequels are also viewed.

Max Payne 3 Review

The year of the sequels continue with Max Payne 3. The unluckiest man in gaming continues his saga nine years since Max Payne 2 released on the Playstation 2. Max is stuck with a security job in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is still depressed over his previous failures when a simple kidnap of the family he was hired to protect becomes a winding chase surrounded with confusion.

Max, the master of bullet time, gets updated graphics that produces a product of artful and gory kills. I caught myself many times, forgetting I had enemies to kill as glorious bullet time scenes showed off an array of blood and bullets in each room. The deaths of enemies consistently created emotion either from adrenaline or discomfort of a grotesque kill. By creating unique action scenes from battle to battle, Rockstar spawned creativity in how to destroy and humiliate your foes differently.

Difficulty remains the challenge in the trilogy, but with updated graphics and new gameplay potential the game is too entertaining to get bogged down in the frustration of death. Each death leads to an alternative experience of cinematic pleasure with bullet time and each difficulty level raises the stakes producing a great replay value.

The new generation of gamers had to learn Max Payne’s controls and heads up display on their own, because the game helped very little. Rockstar presumed fans would remember from Red Dead Redemption or GTA IV controls, but even that would fall short of a full explanation. In a game where every second matters in a firefight, solid controls can make the difference and Max Payne 3 does not have it. At times, I wish it was standard FPS controls, because a simple effective roll between cover would have saved me. Even running or choosing cover felt clunky and indifferent. Max Payne can be difficult, but I fought the controls just as much. Blurring the cut scene to instant gameplay also became frustrating. After a battle with an automatic weapon a cut scene began, and then to start the next firefight my gun selection reverted back to the basic pistol. The resulted death forced me to watch the scene again and afterwards switch to my automatic weapon.

A pillar of gaming foundation for Rockstar is character development and Max Payne adds himself to current-generation names like Niko Bellic from GTA IV and John Marston from Red Dead Redemption. I enjoyed Payne’s progression as an American hero through the game. His life results in the opposite ending of movies and fairytale endings. It was a pleasant, yet dark, change of pace from the simple problem and answer devices. However, this did create its drawbacks. The story seemed to drag on with each twist, instead of motivate, at least until the final chapter.

Max has a new partner, Raul Passos, keeping Payne’s heart beating from more than just gunfire. Max still drowns his sorrows with a bottle, because of his previous failures and bad luck. The game explains their new-found friendship from its birth. Payne is a long way from home and the game ties up the previous two games, while keeping you focused on the current narrative. The narration throughout, even while just looking for ammo, reminds you what you’re fighting for. Your partner is slightly annoying, by pushing you to do what needs to be done even if you are just reloading and need a second. Overall, the game had its entertaining moments in a campaign lasting over 12 hours before even touching multiplayer.

Multiplayer is where Rockstar showed off its innovative mentality. Max Payne 3 smoothly integrates bullet time into an online third-person shooter. There are many versions of standard multiplayer modes like team deathmatch, but the highlight is painkiller. This mode selects two random people to play as Max and Passo as they go up against everyone else. If someone kills either of them, they become that character. Rockstar has also posted a season pass showing they will be coming out with more maps and content for multiplayer.

Score: 8.5 / 10

Valhalla: Long Campaign, Difficulty levels create High Replay Value, Multiplayer

Hel: Controls frustrating at times, Blur of cut scene to action can create gameplay problems

Here at Top Tyr each game is played through its entirety before the review process begins. The review is based on entertaining gameplay, story and innovative advancement in gaming. Intangibles and changes between sequels are also viewed.