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Max Payne 3 Review

Max Payne is back, older and wiser but certainly not slower, unless he’s slowed time to gracefully place a bullet between an enemy’s eyes. It’s here, its action packed, its visceral and its colorful? Find out what’s on the up and up in this new Max Payne by Rockstar. Yes, the same guys who made legendary games such as Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto IV. 

Max Payne has hit rock bottom in his life and has found a way to pick things up after he finds himself staring at too many glass bottoms. It’s a typical redemption story that could have been written by some intern for a Michael Bay movie but the delivery is magnificent. Let me say that again, the delivery is magnificent. So magnificent you’ll forget about the ordinary plot.

Gone are the comic book like story telling of the Max Payne titles. This feels more like a 30’s detective story set in modern times. Rockstar has tried to keep with tradition by throwing in comic book elements such as split screens but they come few and far between, awkwardly placed, I might add. However the new style actually looks VERY good. You feel the dark and gritty atmosphere as you follow the story.

Max Payne looks good. Sure you notice the aliasing in some parts of the game but these don’t distract you too much from the well built levels located all over Sao Paolo Brazil. From office buildings to the favela, locations are incredibly detailed and feel very real. If you think it can’t look any better, wait ’til the firefight starts. When the bullets start flying and you slow time for your little ballet of death, Max Payne 3 looks even more amazing. You’ll see bullets flying through the air and hit computer monitors, stacks of paper, parts of walls falling off, tables getting ripped to shreds. Ahhh.. adrenaline, you come and give me joy. What we don’t like about the presentation though is the transitions. They change the color palette and stretch the screen out to double the image, much like when you watch a 3d film without the glasses. If you have a history of epilepsy, consult your doctor before playing this title. Also the random words being flashed across the screen as the narrative plays out. Weird. Just plain weird.

As much as we love the visceral look of the firefights in Max Payne 3, its sounds even more exciting. The music ramps up as you start pulling the trigger. The ominous music as you put people’s lights out one by one is exemplary. The gunfire, aahh the gunfire, sound so satisfying especially when you’re using handguns. I don’t know why using semi automatic weapons on this game feel so relaxing. Maybe I’ve been watching too many action films.  The voice acting is superb as well. James McCaffrey did an excellent job. His voice fits Max Payne narrating his own life like Morgan Freeman fits playing God.

Max Payne 3 shines the most with its gameplay. A lot of fun can be had as you fire your weapons and watching them fly through the air as you eliminate the bad guys (they probably deserved it too). And then there’s the legendary bullet time. I thought this game mechanic has been played out too much but when I saw it again in Max Payne 3, I fell in love with it all over again. I especially like the way the bullets are suspended in mid air as you jump for cover. Funny thing though, using bullet time in some cases gets you killed. For example, you use it to jump away from a gunner and hit a wall as you do, bullet time is immediately cancelled leaving you lying down there waiting to be showered with bullets. There are a few additions to the gameplay one is the cover system. It’s a typical feature you’ll find in most 3rd persion shooters so adding it to Max Payne 3 is a no brainer. The other one is the kill cam. When you kill your last enemy in an encounter, the game shows you your last few rounds as it hits the enemy in a cinematic rendering of gore and violence.  I hit a guy with a high calibre round through his mouth. Look, no more trips to the dentist for you.

As for replay value in singleplayer, you get the standard difficulty levels that ramps up quite fast. There are also gun parts that you may want to collect to assemble golden versions of some guns. Multiplayer in Max Payne 3 is quite good, too. Albeit it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, it does offer quite a few unique game modes. It has the gang war mode where you enlist with a certain gang and take territories from the opposing gang. There’s also the Paranoia mode where your teammates look like your enemies causing all mayhem in the battlefield. It still offers the standard deathmatch for your classic players our there. You can customize your weapons and character through unlocks you get by progressing through the multiplayer part.

All in all Max Payne 3 is a great addition to the series that ads new features and shows a lot of respect to the original fan loved titles. Even if you haven’t played the previous titles and you’re a fan of 3rd person shooters, Max Payne 3 has a lot to offer you.

Graphics – 8

Sound – 9

Gameplay – 9

Replay value – 9

-Review by Cero and Sir David

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