Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3 uses standard third-person mechanics and combines them with brutal shootouts, a captivating story, and Max Payne’s bullet time ability, makes this successor to the Max Payne franchise a fantastic game from beginning to end

By Grayshadow, Posted 20 May 2012

It’s been nine years since we last the tormented former NYPD detective Max Payne. Max has suffered unimaginable emotional and physical hardships after the death of his wife, child, and former partner but finds a way to continue living through alcohol and painkillers. Instead of relying on his traditional techniques Max has adapted more conventional methods, such as cover, to dispose of hostiles. Max Payne 3 uses standard third-person mechanics and combines them with brutal shootouts, a captivating story, and Max Payne’s bullet time ability, makes this successor to the Max Payne franchise a fantastic game from beginning to end.

Right from the start you’ll notice that Max Payne 3 looks dramatically different from the previous installments. Instead of traversing the dark sidewalks and shabby tenements of New York you will be placed into extravagant parties, nightclubs, and on the heated streets of Sao Paulo. Everything Max encounters is wonderfully detailed, Rockstar should be commended for the amount of research they did to produce such elaborate environments. Max has taken a job working private security for wealthy businessman Rodrigo Branco after fleeing New York. Unfortunately things don’t go according to plan and Rodrigo’s trophy wife, Fabiana, is kidnapped on Max’s watch. As you search for the damsel in distress the story begins to flush out details leading to conspiracies and corruption centered on wealth, power, and poverty.

Max Payne 3, Review, Bullet Time

Max Payne has his share of demons and attempting to control them is a constant battle. Unlike previous games Max exhibits a level of complexity that was absent in his past adventures through the ever-changing objectives with heavily metaphoric dialogue. Although begging for a way to join his wife and child Max continues forward, unaware if he is seeking redemption or hoping for someone to end his life. This absent of the good guy attempting to defeat the evil foe allows you to connect to Max as a person rather than a fictional character.

Cutscenes are the highlight of Max Payne 3 and use a similar graphic-novel style in the other Max Payne games. The writing and voicing acting are terrific as each character is excellently portrayed with a distinguish persona. James McCaffrey returns as Max Payne as provides the same cold, metaphoric, and hard-hitting dialogue that is expected of Max Payne. The developers use blurring images and visual effects to shift color in order to showcase Max’s state of mind while under the influence of his addictions and physiological state. Every character is wonderfully detailed but the subtle touches to each character such as sudden shifts in facial gestures and the tone of their voice make them feel more alive. The environment may be beautiful but the characters that populate each area share the same level of detail.

Max Payne 3, Review, Bullet Time

The core gameplay of Max Payne 3 is a refined version of the pervious titles. You are still able to kill enemies in large numbers and replenish health using painkillers. When starting a new game you are given three aiming options: hard lock automatically targets the closet enemy, soft lock targets enemies within a certain range of your targeting icon, and free aim gives you full control without aid. Regardless of your choice shooting in Max Payne 3 feels paramount and extremely violent. Every shot rips through enemy bodies and leaves a puncture wound seeping blood. Each fight ends with a bullet cam of your final shot leaving your gun, soaring through the air, and viciously killing you target as you choose to slow the camera down or add additional shots to the already dead body. It’s unfortunate that Max himself that movement isn’t as nimble as the shooting. You can roll, sprint, and leap but at times recovering from these feats or attempting to use them in active combat can feel sluggish at times when quick movement is needed. With all the bullets Max has absorbed over the years it’s easy to forget he is an old man.

The most notorious elements of the Max Payne franchise have been bullet time and painkillers. When enabled you are able to slow time down, seeing as bullets pass by, enemies flop to the ground, and blood gush from newly open wounds. This allows you let you eliminate targets before they can react gives you an edge over everyone else. However in almost every situation Max is outgunned and outnumbered requiring you to properly utilize bullet time and ration painkillers in order to survive. In order to fill the meter you must eliminate enemies and if done with style can add more making each action risk vs. reward. While some situations require you to take the old-fashion approach of going in gun-blazing but a majority of the time you will need to play more defensively or face certain death.

Max Payne 3, Review, Bullet Time

Max Payne 3 hosts an array of guns for you to use such as pistols, shotguns, rifles, submachine guns, and grenade launchers. You can carry up to two smaller arms and one larger weapon, but to duel-wield Max must drop any large weapon, which is carried by his left arm. This is an interesting mechanic that requires the player to decide what weapons to take. When enemies get to close Max can melee opponents before delivering them to the afterlife. Every gun sounds as dangerous as it looks as it looks. Shooting your guns in slow motion, while listening to an outstanding soundtrack, makes you feel like a total badass.

The standard single-player mode last about 8-10hours depending on difficulty and choice of aiming. Max Payne 3 has an arcade mode which requires you to complete levels quickly for the best score. Another mode called New York Minute has you killing enemies in order to replenish the ticking clock over your head. There are a lot of collectables such as golden guns that hold special properties and hidden clues that provide more information about Max’s current objective.

Max Payne 3, Review, Bullet Time

When you’re done with the single-player campaign then you’ll probably want to hit the multiplayer. Max Payne 3 allows up to 16 players and up to 11 match types for both free aiming and soft lock. You start off with a limited choice of characters and pre-determined loadouts. As you level you gain access to new weapons, attachments, gear, and abilities, called burst, to purchase and use. However in order to trigger burst abilities you must fill your meter, similar to the bullet time meter, and choose to use it on a lower level burst or try and gain a stronger burst. The multiplayer is hectic fun that requires quick and decisive thinking.

The playlist options consist of standard deathmatch and team deathmatch with some unique options available when you level up. In Payne Killer two players take control of Max Payne or his partner Passos by killing them and gain points by staying alive or killing other players. You are given large amount of health regenerating painkillers and bullet time burst to put you at an advantage over other players but you are heavily outnumbered.

Max Payne 3, Review, Bullet Time

Gang Wars is five-rounds of varying objectives that tailor to the main story. In each round players must adapt to a new objective such as defending or planting bombs, capturing territories, and defending VIPS. After 4 rounds are completed the points are tallied and the final round is a deathmatch between the two teams.

Rockstar has created a dark and violent adventure that uses terrific but simple gameplay mechanics and combines them with outstanding visual design to support the strong narrative. Max starts this adventure dreading his life but emerges a new person at the end. The multiplayer is chaotic fun and the single-player campaign is outstanding. Max Payne 3 may be the brightest game in the series but delivers a stylish, brutal, and gloomy atmosphere that the franchise is known for, making it one of the best action games in the market today.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed (@Youtube


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  • 10 more hours with Arkham City and I'm starting this beauty.


    Posted May 20, 2012


General Information

Max Payne 3


Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Rockstar Studios
Developer(s): Rockstar Studios
Genres: Third-Person Shooter
Themes: Action, Adventure
Release Date: 2012-05-15

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