We'll need to see the rest of the Bursts in the game to get a final idea of how well it's all balanced, but what we've played so far is varied, interesting and fun. The variety of tactics made available by Bursts give Max Payne 3's multiplayer the edge it needs - offering tactical angles to exploit and guilty pleasures to enjoy. Rockstar has deftly and convincingly nailed the basics, although at this stage the overall feel is still closer to Red Dead and GTA than other third-person shooters. Line up the cover system and overall handling next to the triple-refined precision of Epic Games' genre-leading Gears of War 3 and the comparison isn't always as kind as you might like.
But even in a build lacking the final layers of spit and polish, the core ideas in Max Payne 3's multiplayer are undoubtedly strong enough to deliver a damn good time. Ever since its creation in the original game, Bullet Time has been responsible for all manner of gorgeously violent choreography. Take it online with 15 people and the solo performance becomes a full-stage production: the gaming equivalent of Ross Kemp's Swan Lake. Unless you're planning on investing in a SPAS-12 and some ballet shoes, we're really rather doubtful you could do a better job. See you online, then.