Rockstar Brought the Payne – Max Payne 3 Review
By Garrett Green On 6 Jun, 2012 At 06:14 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarMax Payne has not led an easy life. He lost his wife and daughter, was framed for killing them, moved on to a new love interest only to lose her too, and has killed hundreds of gang members and dirty cops trying to blow Max’s brains out for one reason or another. And did I mention the alcoholism and addiction to painkillers? Yes Max has lived a rough life to put it mildly, unfortunately for him but great for us, his life doesn’t get any better in Max Payne 3. Corrupt military forces, human trafficking, gritty story telling and slow motion kills pave to the way for a great action packed adventure.

Max Payne 3 is a very cinematic game from the slow motion death cams to the flickering camera and chromatic distortions. When looking at it, it feels a lot like the film Man on Fire, A LOT like it. This may urk some people, I know at first it felt out of place for me. But the more I played, the more it felt like an intricate part of the presentation. The death cams are surprisingly fun and never get old. Every time you clear an area, the game will let you know the last bad guy is down by entering the kill cam mode. You can slow down the bullet in this mode and really milk the shot and keep on shooting to turn your enemy into a bloody mess in slow motion.

In many ways this game is vastly different from it’s predecessors. What was once the dark dirty streets of New York is now the tropical and dangerous São Paulo. From the bright and sunny streets and office buildings, to the neon lights and house music of the club, to the dank stadium areas, the environments in Max Payne 3 are gorgeous and the variety really adds another layer that was missing from previous Max Payne titles. Max Payne himself isn’t too shabby either. His character model looks superb and subtle touches to how he moves really adds realism to him. Something as simple as tucking the two handed gun under his arm to reload his side arm is a nice touch. However, no matter if you are duel wielding or holding a rifle, Max always feels the need to switch to his side arm when you enter a cinematic screen. A little annoying when, in many cases, you are attacked by a huge group when you come out of the cinematic.

I suppose I should discuss the actual gameplay in this video game review. Not to worry, the gunplay and bullet time dodges is polished to a very high degree. Enemies respond to being shot surprising well rather than a few stock reactions and this plays into the strategy of defeating certain enemies. Later on in the game, enemies will don body armor and helmets making them bullet sponges if you don’t aim for the right body parts. Of course aiming for the head is the optimal choice but aiming for something like the leg will slow them down enough for you to get off a good shot to knock off their helmets so you can go for a kill shot. The dodging mechanic is well done as well, maybe to well done. If you are not paying attention to which direction you dodge in, you could end up jumping into a wall or desk or something which could stun Max and leave him open to fatal attacks. It makes you carefully way staying in cover, which can be shot away over time, or jumping out in the open in slow motion to kill your targets. Chose wrong and it could mean death.

Max Payne is no joke when it comes to difficulty. This game can be very unforgiving at times so expect to die many times in the later levels. For those who enjoy a challenge like myself, this is right up your alley. Every time you beat the game it unlock harder and more challenging modes.  If that sounds too frustrating for you, play the game on the easy levels. While I can go on and on about how great this game is, it does have it flaws. A few times during cinematics, the soundtrack would drop out and then try to catch up to what’s happening on screen. This resulted in Max’s dialogue not matching his actions. Once the dialogue even talked over a later dialogue, which was very distracting. However this rarely happened to me. Few times the game did hiccup too dropping the frame rate but other than that I didn’t run into any problems. There isn’t a lot of exploring to do as the level designs are pretty linier but there are some collectables and easter eggs to find.

Lastly I must talk about what I’m sure many gamers were wondering about, the multiplayer. Very new to the Max Payne franchise, multiplayer comes with a variety of modes that you unlock the more you play. It annoys me when only a few modes are available in a multiplayer but it is very easy to unlock which was a good thing. Surprisingly, the game mechanics from the single player transfer well to the multiplayer, even the bullet time.  A player needs to kill opponents to build up a meter to use bullet time. When activated, everyone in the area will slow down. Bullet time does not last long so knowing when to use it is key, it could mean the difference between scoring a triple kill, or leaving yourself laying on the ground exposed to a shower a bullets.

Max Payne 3 is a superb title and worth every penny. While not perfect, it is extremely close to it. Gritty story telling and tight game controls mesh flawlessly together to give the player a complete and rewarding experience. The game can be very difficult at times and have a few bugs here and there but overall it’s great. Anyone who has not played this game should run out and get it, it’s definitely worth the buy. Max Payne 3 is available for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

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