Released on May 15, 2012, for consoles and on June 1, 2012, for PC, Max Payne 3 is Rockstar Games’ return to a beloved franchise. For a small recap, Max Payne is about well, Max Payne, and his struggles in life. The first game followed the death of his wife and daughter and subsequent revenge and small downfall into alcoholism. Max Payne 2 picks up pretty much where the first left off and Max was cleared of his prior murder charges and he finds himself going after a woman who knows much of his past. Max Payne 3 picks up with a nice intro detailing Max’s problems and how he ended up where he was at now, 8 years later.
The Story – Max Payne 3, set 8 years after the second game, takes place in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Max is doing protective detail (mercenary work) for a rich family who, for lack of a better way of putting it, cause problems just by being rich in a poor city. Some organized thugs kidnap the wife of the head of the family and Max sets out to go get her back. Well, not everything goes his way of course and it takes Max across several places in Brazil while dealing with flashbacks of his time in New York leading up to Brazil.
[toggle_box title=”Toggle Game Details” width=”Width of toggle box”]
Title: Max Payne 3
Genre: Third-person Shooter
Developer: Rockstar Games
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: 5/15/12[/toggle_box]
- Flashbacks – This is one of the highlights of this game for numerous reasons. Many claimed that the lack of the graphic novel effect of the previous games had made Max Payne 3 a rather “bright” game. Rockstar had implemented several missions in New York to give players that nostalgic feeling, one that created the many dark tones of the previous games. Plus, these missions were actually fun to go through and they gave a little backstory on Max’s leading up to his work in Brazil.
- Bullet Time – A staple of the series, bullet time allows Max to slow down time and do this kick-ass stunt/dive in order to shoot down his enemies. No matter how many times you do this, it will always feel rewarding. And, well, due to the Euphoria physics engine, if you dive into a wall, then you will most definitely crash into it with a thud.
- Voice Acting – James McCaffrey returns as Max Payne. While Rockstar initially said they did not plan to bring him back for a more “older” actor, ultimately they had changed their mind. He does a great job of keeping Max alive as a character and being nice and angry when he needs to, a job well done indeed.
- Plot Twists: While Rockstar is not exactly known for major plot twists, Max Payne 3 does deliver a few. For the sake of this review, I will not name any specifics, but I can say that I was surprised by a few moments in this game, ones that made me realize that I was truly enjoying this title.
- Music: The music in this game was rather well done. There was one moment in particular, near the end of the game, when Max is rampaging through an airport. While you go through one of the lobbies, this song plays that feels so perfect for the moment that you almost will just stop and listen to it as a way of taking it in.
- Health: Oh yea, one of the few games to keep the tradition of a health meter. I absolutely love this and I feel more games should use it, but hey, this is what made Max Payne, and the keeping of tradition (and painkillers) is what keeps this gameplay going strong.
- B-e-a-utiful: I reviewed this game on the PC and I have to say, I was blown away (and so all the screenshots were from my playthrough). This game is beyond a shadow of a doubt one of the prettiest games out that and easily one of the most beautiful in Rockstar’s repertoire unless GTA V can beat this.
- Lots and Lots of Portuguese: While I am not opposed to the use of other languages in a game, I was rather impressed and unimpressed by the amounts of Portuguese in this game. It is understandable that you will not have everyone speaking English in Brazil, but sometimes a little translation for the cutscenes would have been nice; BUT, there was reason behind this. Max explains that he does not know the language and since you play AS Max, well, it makes sense that from his perspective, it means nothing. So, brilliant on the narrative, but sometimes it would be nice to know exactly what they were saying.
- Melee: While I do not believe all game need a melee, I do feel that there should be a good implementation of it in some way. Max Payne 3, for me, was not implemented very well. In the game, when you want to melee, just stand next to the guy and fire your weapon. In some ways, the few executions were kind of cool but as a whole, I felt it could have been done differently, more specifically, a little more fluidly.
- Sneaky, Sneaky: If you want to play stealth (in the few sequences where it seems to be legit), then good luck. They will give you a silencer in a few spots but with the lack of a method of getting up close and personal to melee, it won’t happen. Also, the fact that your enemies have Spider-man type awareness makes it almost impossible to sneak up on them as well. This is mainly an AI deal, but something that I feel could have been changed.
- Chaotic Damage: I call this point chaotic because I felt sometimes Max would take obscene amounts of damage from nowhere and then you can go run in the middle of 20 enemies and not get scratched. It felt off and it results in some deaths that were rather out of nowhere. This, paired with the last stand, could have been improved a little bit. The last stand is nice but sometimes you will be pointed towards your killer and the camera will make you miss your shot or he is in his own cover, making it impossible to kill him. Not exactly a terrible issue, but something to be corrected in the future.
Well, would I say that I am pleased with Max Payne 3? Yes. Would I recommend it? Hell yes. It sticks to what made the first two games classics and this one only takes it further. Improved gameplay, great story, voice acting, with a rather small amount of issues is what makes Max Payne 3 another Rockstar classic. It sold an amazing 3 million in its first week, so I think it is safe to say it has been very profitable, even given its long development time. While I did not review multiplayer due to personal time constraints, I have heard it is rather good and features some things that will be included in GTA V. Also, it has some nifty DLC, so it is worth checking out for sure.
[box_light]We believe that the score is the least important part of a review. It’s tough trying to assign a numerical value to an experience. Furthermore, is there really a difference between a 7.5 and an 8? Gamers place too much importance on arbitrary numbers. This is why our scores are hidden by default. Only look at them if you absolutely need a number between 1-10 to see if a game is worth your time. You can read our review guidelines here. [/box_light]
[toggle_box title=”Click To Reveal Scorecard” width=”Width of toggle box”]
Replay Value: 8
Amazing – This is a must have, you’ll see this game on top ten lists at the end of the year.[/toggle_box]