Video Games Plus

Video Games Plus is a weekly update on all things gaming. Check it out every other Thursday.

Some of the gaming world's most prolific and scarce franchises are making a guest appearance in this week's edition of Video Games Plus. We've got updates on both the new Max Payne and True Crime, which come around every blue moon and a bit of news and a review from the ever-spawning Call of Duty and Resident Evil series.

Max Payne 3 Gears Up

After taking nearly a decade off, Max Payne is one step closer to returning to the job. Rockstar has recently launched an official “Max Payne 3” website and has unveiled a ton of new never-before-seen content for the third in the series -- launching for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on May 15 in North America.

Rockstar has also released the first of a series of new interactive features focusing on the weapons of the game. To begin, we get to see the 608 Bull revolver for the first time, a large handgun packing eight rounds of high-impact firepower that can be shot very accurately over short distances.

Some interesting details have also emerged about the game’s multiplayer. Shoehorning competitive multiplayer in a series that’s traditionally centered around the inner narrative of one man sounds like a potentially bad idea, but Max Payne’s developers told IGN about a new kind of mode called “Gang Wars” in which your objectives can change over the course of several rounds based on the results of a previous round. For example, a top player from the first round might have a big bounty on his for round two or a dominant team may find themselves defusing bombs in their own territory for the following round.

Added to the mix are special abilities called Bursts that you unlock as you accumulate experience that give you some cool powers. For instance, one might make your gamertag look friendly to an enemy or let you see the silhouette of an opponent through a wall. But don’t worry, it wouldn’t be a Max Payne game without the time-altering Bullet Time perk as well.

“Max Payne 3” may well be worth the long wait, so we’re excited to see what else Rockstar has in store for us next.

True Crime Sequel's Makeover

Speaking of games long in the works, Square Enix has announced that the game once known as “True Crime: Hong Kong” has been reborn as “Sleeping Dogs.”

The game was originally scheduled to be published by Activision, but the company announced in February of 2011 that it was cancelling the project because the company brass believed the game wasn’t up to snuff. Two months later, Square Enix snatched up the rights to the game, which stars undercover police offer Wei Shen as he attempts to bring down the Hong Kong Triads criminal outfit.

"From the moment you pick up the controller and experience the blend of driving, close combat and shooting, you know you're playing something fresh and a bit special," said Lee Singleton, general manager of Square Enix London Studios, in a press release. “Sleeping Dogs” is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2012 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

Modern Warfare 3 Gets Content Drop

Better strap that flak jacket back on because Activision’s third care package for “Modern Warfare 3” fans will drop soon and more is on the way. The next DLC is a new multiplayer map called Overwatch and Xbox 360 owners can get it as soon as Feb. 21.

Overwatch is being described as a map that drops you into a construction site atop a New York City skyscraper. The battle takes place along two levels in a near symmetrical layout, with the central bridge and side routes open to attack from multiple angles. Watch your every step, as a lack of safety barriers surrounding the perimeter leaves nothing between you and a 70 story fall to the ground below.

About 20 of these so-called “content drops” are planned for the rest of the year for MW3, the first and second of which is already available on Xbox Live for Call of Duty Premium members. Elite Drops 4-6 will be available in March for Premium Members on Xbox Live and will include the multiplayer map Black Box and two brand new Special Ops Missions, Black Ice and Negotiator. The full calendar of content is available here.

“Resident Evil: Revelations” Review
Nintendo 3DS

Lately Capcom has been pumping out “Resident Evil” games like a Banana Republic prints money, so it should come as little surprise that “Revelations” is the second RE game to hit the 3DS in the past nine months. What’s shocking about “Revelations” isn’t that it exists, but that it’s arguably the best non-Mario game to yet hit Nintendo’s portable.

As opposed to the action-heavy ways of the last few games in the series, this tiny version plays more like the suspense-building survival horror we remember and love from the 90’s. That’s despite the fact that the game is actually set after “Resident Evil 4” and before the fifth game – as a menacing new horror takes the fight above and below water on the supposedly abandoned Queen Zenobia cruise ship.

Zombie-killing vets Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield return to the action even though there aren’t actually any zombies to slay in “Revelations” – just biological monster things that resemble some of the mutant baddies from the Silent Hill series.

This Resident Evil was built from the ground-up for the 3DS and it’s amazing how good looking it is – “Revelations” is hands down the most visual striking game for the system. What’s not quite as great is the controls –- which makes use of the new Circle Pad Pro accessory (AKA: The Frankenstick). When attaching it, you can add on a second circle pad to your 3DS and “Revelations” plays more like a recent console version. Without it, your characters control only slightly better than a tank from “Battlefield 3.”

But overall, if you’re a 3DS owner in need of a good scare and a revisit to the “Resident Evil” universe, “Revolutions” is a must-buy.

For more from Ryan Smith, follow him on Twitter: @RyanSmithWriter

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