Rockstar Games faced no small challenge by taking up development on Max Payne 3. After nearly a decade since Remedy made the last entry in the series, could they live up to expectations? Was the series’ signature Matrix, slow-down mechanic and noire style even relevant anymore? Lucky for us, Rockstar took up that challenge and has created a game that lives up the game’s legacy while moving it forward.

Max Payne 3 looks very different than its predecessors. Gone are the dark alleyways and tunnels of New York in favor of the luxurious penthouses and rundown favellas of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Max is working as a private body guard. Mixed with Max’s addiction to alcohol and painkillers, things only snowball from there. The change of setting is not the only aesthetic change, however.

The graphic novel style storytelling from the orignal games is replaced by dynamic multi-frame cutscenes interlaced with flashes of light and distortion with the occasional random highlighting of words. These help give the game a true sense of style. However, in trying to illustrate the world through Max’s over-drugged, intoxicated eyes, Rockstar may have gone a little too far. While it certainly sets the game apart from others, it can become tiring and distracting during one of the game’s many long cutscenes.

Max Payne 3 a gritty, all-out action game and makes no apologies about it. The gameplay retains the style of the series with the mechanic of diving and slowing down time still intact. Rockstar has made a slight addition with a cover mechanic. While this may seem like a small change, it makes a discernable difference in how the game is played. In many fights, it is to your advantage to utilize cover instead of the stylish bullet time jumps. While the addition is helpful in bringing the game up to modern standards, it is still a shame that the game’s initial hook is almost put on the back burner.

Unlike many modern titles, Max does not regenerate health. Instead, you rely on painkillers to replenish yourself. Not only does this make the game a bit more interesting as you can’t just sit back in a firefight and wait to get back to full strength, but it also fits the narrative of Max’s addiction.

Rockstar has done a terrific job with the writing and sound of Max Payne 3. Dan Houser’s script is one of the best examples for good writing in a video game. Max is not a good person, he abuses pain killers and alcohol and ignores the duties of the job he has been paid to do. Despite this, you start to feel sympathetic towards his character because Rockstar has done such a good job of humanizing the man.  The voice acting is spot on throughout as well and the soundtrack always manages to capture the moment on screen.

More than all this, it’s the small details and polish that make the game such an enjoyable experience to play. Little touches like holding a large weapon in one hand while you have a handgun drawn instead of slinging it to Max’s back bring a sense of realism that you don’t get with many other games.

Like many games recently, competitive online multiplayer has been added for the first time in the series. It’s set in the same world with many of the same factions as the single-player, but it’s a very different experience. You can still trigger slow-motion that will affect the entire map in multiplayer, though in much smaller quantities. Overall though, it’s pretty standard with deathmatch, team deathmatch and objective-based modes. It’s well thought out and fun, but it’s probably nothing special.

Rockstar has continued its string of excellent titles with Max Payne 3. Despite a few small annoyances, the game is solid throughout. It’s one of the year’s best and I’d be hard pressed not to recommend it to fans of the old series and newcomers alike.

Grade: A-

Intellectual property law may prevent Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report from appearing on The Late Show, but it cannot stop his identical twin cousin.

Last week, Stephen Colbert brought a familiar face to visit The Late Show. Tucked away in the woods living happily ever after with Jon Stewart was Colbert’s character, host of The Colbert Report, champion of America, Her Excellency The Rev. Sir Doctor Stephen Tyrone Mos Def Colbert, D.F.A., Heavyweight Champion of the World** featuring Flo Rida La Premiere Dame De France. Or Stephen Colbert for short.

Colbert resisted bringing the character to The Late Show, choosing to introduce the world to the real Stephen Colbert. But the Republican National Convention selecting Donald Trump as their candidate for President demanded that Colbert dust off his Captain America shield and return to glory for one night only. And one night only is all we are going to see of that man.

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Colbert announced on The Late Show that immediately after the live show on July 18, 2016, Viacom’s lawyers called up CBS and said that “the character Stephen Colbert is their intellectual property.” And so, Stephen Colbert revealed that Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report would never be seen again.

Luckily, Stephen Colbert had an identical twin cousin! How might that work, you ask? Well Colbert’s mother was an identical twin and she and her sister married identical twins and gave birth at the same time and both named their sons Stephen Colbert. Rest assured attorneys, the two men are very different people. The banned Colbert went to Dartmouth, the cousin Colbert only applied there. The banned Colbert wears smart fitting suits, the cousin Colbert prefers a breezy American flag button down. Night and day those two.

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Real Stephen Colbert (are you confused yet?) asked cousin Colbert if he’d be willing to make himself available for future appearances on The Late Show, a task cousin Colbert was more than willing to take on. Loopholes!

Another intellectual property to fall to the wayside was “The Word,” a segment Colbert revived from The Colbert Report to introduce the word, “Trumpiness.” There’s a way around this one too. Introducing, “The Werd.”

Watch all of the Stephen Colberts in action and get the lowdown on “The Lesser of Two Evils” in the full segment from July 27.

The Late Show continues its live coverage of the Democratic National Convention tonight at whatever time Hillary Clinton is done speaking on CBS.

When in doubt, look to Harry Potter. At least, that’s what Marvel and Sony are planning for the latest Spider-Man reboot.

When Tom Holland showed up in Captain America: Civil War as Spider-Man, fans were obviously hesitant to throw too much weight behind his version of Peter Parker. The webslinger had been seen at the forefront of a blockbuster movie twice in the past couple decades, and even the biggest Spidey fans were wary of yet another incarnation.

But Holland swung himself right into our hearts with his charm and enthusiasm, both on screen and off. The cast took him under their wings and fans were soon to follow. So, when it was announced that he’d be starring in another solo Spider-Man film, titled Homecoming, the response was optimistic.

There are a lot of things Marvel and Sony are doing differently for Homecoming, not least of which is actually working together. Peter is also much younger than we’ve seen him in the past, and his story will focus as much on his time in school as his time fighting bad guys.

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In fact, the school year may even help structure Homecoming and subsequent Spider-Man solo films. Speaking to Collider, Kevin Feige even said they may take a leaf out of Harry Potter’s book:

“Should we be able to make more after [Homecoming]? Sure. This is sophomore year, is the next one junior year? Is the next one senior year? Is there a summer break between each of those? I don’t know what, but it was sort of how do we do a journey for Peter not dissimilar for what the students of Hogwarts would go through each of their years, which was one of the early ideas we had for the movies.”

This structure allows for a consistent progression of time for both the characters and the world. We’ll say goodbye to Peter at the end of the school year, but welcome him back again at the beginning of the next. It allows for changes to take place over the summer, for new threats to materialize, and for the story to stretch its legs and develop over the course of nine months, rather than a few short days.

But first we have to see if Spider-Man: Homecoming will be the hit both Marvel and Sony are hoping it’ll be.

How are you feeling about the current developments regarding ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’?

Netflix has passed on picking up Agent Carter for a third season, and now they’re explaining why.

The cancellation of Agent Carter sent shock waves through the Marvel fandom. We get so few female-led properties in the superhero world, and Peggy was unapologetically kickass on every level. When ABC didn’t renew the show for another season, fans immediately started pitching to Netflix, hoping they would give the S.H.I.E.L.D. founder a new life.

Alas, it wasn’t to be so. In an interview with EW, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos explains why they decided to pass on the opportunity.

The first reason was because they’re looking for “truly original brands to own.” Netflix, as you probably know, already has a pretty clear corner on that market with Daredevil and Jessica Jones, both of which have been wildly popular, as well as their upcoming series Luke Cage and Iron Fist, all four of which will eventually merge into an Avengers-esque crossover series called Defenders. Plus, the Punisher is getting his own series, too.

ABC had already owned and put out two seasons of Agent Carter, which means, creatively, Netflix couldn’t take over the show and make it their own. They would have to honor what came before and make sure it had the same look and feel. Considering how wildly popular their original series have been (for reference, check out the current buzz about Stranger Things), it’s understandable that they’d rather focus on something they can build from the ground up.

The second reason why Netflix passed on Agent Carter is a bit more technical in that the streaming service likes to release its original content globally, something that would be difficult, if not impossible, due to Agent Carter’s current international restrictions. As Sarandos says, passing up on Agent Carter was “a business decision more than a creative one.”

But neither of those reasons make the situation any better for fans of the character and her solo show. While Netflix would’ve been an ideal place to watch Peggy’s next great adventure, we’ll have to hope the showrunners and Hayley Atwell can swing something else instead.

Are you disappointed Netflix isn’t picking up ‘Agent Carter’?