Max Payne 3 Review
Max Payne is back for his third and hopefully not his final installment of what is a tortured and almost always hard luck story. For the uninitiated, Max Payne is an ex-cop based in New Jersey whose tragic story began with the death of his wife at the hands of drug dealers. In the third chapter Max leaves behinds those roots while still continuing his hard luck life.
Let’s face it, after a while when consoles and/or PC games have been around for a certain number of years, games won’t “pop” like they initially did. With that in mind Max Payne 3 is no visual “tour de force”, but it does a fantastic job of giving you what you need and want: Carnage! Bullet time has your bullets whizzing at enemies with awesome trails — showing velocity. The bullets fired at you also come through and are clearly visible. The violence is just right and not overdone. Enemies vary and are not just cookie cutter. There is a visual presentation for the stories once done in a cartoony graphic novel style in his previous games, now are done in cutscenes which blend into the game itself. There is zooming for sniper rifle bullets and my favorite when the last enemy is dispatched the game freezes and shows you taking him or her down in slow motion and can be controlled by the gamer to view as long or short as you want to see the kill. In this area the game once again delivers.
Max finds himself in the middle of South America where he is now a bodyguard for a rich and powerful family of three brothers and their associates. As usual what starts off to be simple becomes quite complex as Max’s special skills and dead pan humor are put to use, but sometimes fail in his new career path. Max starts off protecting the wife of his new employer with a degree of success; what ensues is a repetitive and escalating plot against the family as a whole. By the end of his new adventure he has revisited his past, become plagued by his present, and reached redemption so to speak by the tales end. Max is forever haunted by his aforementioned past (which fits nicely into his new tale and doesn’t become overdone) and all the while fights it off with a “what else can I do?” flair and attitude. The story is done in a gritty style often through flashbacks that connect quite well. It doesn’t require playing his past two games to understand, but having played them would bring a better appreciation of the character’s tortured tale. Great presentation and a surprisingly fresh take on an old character.
This volume doesn’t stray too far from it’s roots as a third person, bullet time, visceral shooter. Max is a bit tricky to maneuver as you may have to press up to three buttons at once to get him on target, but his bullet time mechanic works like a charm. It works particularly well when he executes single leaps and jumps. The buttons all respond well, and Max never feels overwhelmed with the task at hand. He is also never left wondering where to go next, or a lack of enemies to tackle. Even on it’s easy setting you will be given a challenge, but with time and mastery of his controls you can beat the hardest of settings. Max can twist and turn in multiple angles to reach his target; creating a very nice style of play. Those points aside his biggest enemy is the camera. As it is in most games the camera has a pension for zooming in at wrong angles and trapping our hero in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is a cover system present, but could use some work, as you may be shot even when behind solid objects. Bottom line is that the controls accomplish their goal and give you an overall satisfying sense of fun and mastery of your character.
From the music used, to the sound effects, to the brilliant voice acting, this is one of the best areas. The music keeps your blood pumping and kicks in at just the right times. Every gun pops with an almost real quality. The sound of the rounds firing gives you that feel of being there just as they should. The voice acting is brilliant and at no time corny or B-list like. Max is awesome at delivering his deadpan and often grim humor. My favorite line of his, “I may have written the book on bad ideas, but my partner sure wasn’t afraid to quote from it!” Along with a plethora of other lines he delivers ensures you know that this is his game. The supporting characters give their lines with the needed vigor, but none shine as brightly as Max himself. Not for the lack of trying, but Max’s voice actor just nails him to a Tee. Put it all together, and you can’t beat this area
The online play in Max Payne 3 is great and different from other games. You get to use the unique bullet time which is a blast. Thankfully it balances the use of this device so players don’t over power each other. You can find matches with little to no problems, but things do tend to slow down a bit even when all players have a decent connection. You have many options to choose from and best of all some of the DLC for this mode is free…..FREE I SAY!! You can get different skins and different maps as with other multiplayer games. It’s a standard fair here.
Next to Gameplay this is probably the most important area of a game and Max Payne 3 doesn’t disappoint here either. The main story may clock in at about 9 hours which isn’t alot these days. Factor in that he can find Gold Gun pieces, New York minute mode and varying degrees of difficulty ensuring you won’t be left high and dry with the single player mode. Now take all that and put it into the online modes which lets you use bullet time in a fair and manageable sense and you will be coming back for more and more with this title. Max Payne 3 can keep you busy easily until the next big thing arrives.
Once again the guys at Rockstar Games have put together a title not only deserving of their brand, but a quality Max Payne title as well. In an age of rehashed, money hungry and time crunched unfinished sequels, I think Max Payne stands out nicely. Gamers will have fun with this title and it is not for the mamby pamby weak hearted gamer. While not heavy on story, it gives you that awesome mix of great gameplay, excellent controls and replayability that most gamers seek. With that being said I would give Max Payne 3 an 8 ControllUs out of 10.