Max Payne 3 Review
publisher: Rockstar Games
developer: Rockstar Vancouver
|ESRB rating: M
release date: May 15, 12
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If you might recall the original Max Payne beat Matrix to the punch. Quickly after The Matrix hit theaters worldwide, everyone knew that a video game counterpart would soon follow, taking advantage of the trademark bulletime feat. However, before a Matrix licensed game was made, Rockstar burst onto the gaming scene with their own title, Max Payne, which relied heavily on bullettime mechanics. The game was so good, it turned 'Max Payne' into a household name. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne reaffirmed the franchise as one of the best shooters out there. Rockstar took their time with the third installment, but now we finally have it in our hands, so let's see what it's all about.
Many years have gone by and Payne is not how you might remember him. Haunted by his painful past, Max developed a rather nasty drinking habit (well, after all the horrible stuff that's happened to him, we don't blame him). Max is much older and dare we say a whole lot chubbier than before. Things kick off in the crowded city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where our hero gets hired by a wealthy and influential local family to work as private security. Things get hectic when a street gang kidnaps one of the family members. After that, Max gets dragged into an all-out war between various powerful factions in the city.
Maybe I should just stay behind this corner and not move.
I'm bald and dangerous, baby.
Anybody who read our reviews of the previous two Max Payne games knows only too well that we weren't all keen about the story presentation. The noire, comic-style story-telling seemed fine at first, but at some point it just got pretentious and boring; not to mention predictable. The narrative in Max Payne 3 certainly has its predictable moments too, although we appreciate Rockstar's decision to change the main character. Max is a sad, lonely man who carries a blatant world-weariness, which makes him a rather convincing central character (way more convincing than in earlier games, that's for sure). Although we can't describe the plot as particularly original, we can say with certain conviction that the true-to-life portrayal of an older, emotionally wrecked Max Payne is a turn in the right direction.
Those of you who played Max Payne before will no doubt be familiar with the gameplay. You have an option to dash through each section of the game by taking cover and shooting everything in sight. That's not all. Rockstar incorporated a nice little twist to the game's traditional bullettime mechanics this time around. If Payne is near death he'll enter a cool 'Last Man Standing' mode in which you have to shoot a single opponent in slow-mo before he shoots you. If you lose, Max dies, but if you win he gets a second chance and can fight on. This particular feature makes the game more exciting and it goes well with the overall pace, allowing the main character to remain on his feet even when overwhelmed by enemies.
Playing Max Payne 3 sporadically feels like you're playing a shoot-out sequence in a GTA game. Most of you may agree that the shooting mechanics of GTA are flawed and that really doesn't go well with the linear gameplay of Max Payne either. Many times you may be compelled to run in a certain direction, but will be held back by an invisible barrier. In addition to this, the cover mechanics don't always work properly. While behind cover you may attempt to change the direction in which Payne is facing, but instead you may accidentally leave cover. This happened to me on more than one occasion in the game, although it doesn't signify the game's biggest flaw.
8.3 Very Good
We like the character of Max Payne, congrats to Rockstar for delivering a game with a unique and spectacular atmosphere, great visual effects, brilliant audio and that goes for both the soundtrack and voice acting, it's still an entertaining shooter;
All the shooting and bullettime shenanigans gets tiring after a while, often feels like a GTA game without the free-roam component.