Max Payne 3 Review
Genre: Action, Third Person Shooter
What we liked
What we didn't
Eight years later and Max Payne is back, but is he at his best?
So it’s been eight years and many times it’s been delayed, but Max Payne is finally back. I approached Max Payne 3 with some doubts as to whether it would match up to the original Max Payne games (especially Max Payne 1), but I’m very glad to say that Max Payne 3 is very good.
Max Payne 3 is set 8 years after the events of Max Payne 2. Max has quit the NYPD and spends most of his time drinking and taking painkillers (which he is addicted to). He then runs into an old friend from the academy, Raul Passos, who offers him a job as private security for a very powerful family, called the Branco’s. So he sets off to Sao Paulo, Brazil and that’s when things go from bad to worse for Max Payne.
The story is one of the great things about Max Payne 3, being just as gritty as the older Max Payne games and still having the ‘noir’ feel. You also begin to really feel for Max as the game progresses. He starts out as someone who’s all but given up on life and he drinks all day and he’s popping painkillers like they were candy.
He’s not your typical hero like in many other video games, which makes you want to root for him even more. The character development is very good as well, as when things start going really bad, he decides that he’s going to quit the drink, shave his head and goes out for revenge.
As well as being very cinematic, Max Payne 3 is also a very violent and bloody affair. After completing the game, I totaled in well over 1000 kills, so there’s a lot of shooting and lots of death and destruction.
While going on this rampage through Sao Paulo, you will be taking Max through several different locals, from the local football stadium, through a nightclub and through the slums of Sao Paulo. You will also go to some other places in flashback sequences (some of my favorite points in the game), back to good old New York, as well as at the Panama Canals.
One problem with Max Payne 3 though is that in some places, there are too many small cut-scenes, which can sometimes slow the pace of the game. Seeing as how the action comes in thick and fast, the game would be better if it was kept at a fast pace and just have the small cut-scenes as in-game. It can also be annoying after a cut-scene like this as Max will automatically get out his pistol, even if you had a shotgun or assault rifle in hand. Then after the cut-scene, the majority of the time you then have to fend off loads of enemies with a pistol, which would have been a lot easier with your bigger gun.
The other thing that really sets Max Payne apart from other games, apart from the story, is the controls and I’m happy to say bullet-time is back. It still is very cool to see you slow down time as you fill your enemies full of holes. You press in the R3 button to slow down time, so you can go for precise head shots. You can also push the R1 button to do the classic diving bullet-time dodge, where if your fast enough, you can take out a whole group of enemies in one go. The bullet-time has a bar that you need to fill to use it, which is filled by killing enemies. This means that it isn’t overused.
The enemies react in a very cool way when being shot at, thanks to the Euphoria physics engine Max Payne 3 uses. This means that the enemies actually react properly when being shot, sometimes they stumble, crease over or they just slump to the floor, giving a very realistic feel to the game. You can also slow down time when you kill the last enemy in a group by holding down the X button. There’s nothing like slowing down time as you shoot a guy in the face and see the massive bullet wound appear.
There are also some bullet-time events which are almost cinematic, like when you are sliding down a slanted roof in slow-mo so you can shoot a guy in the head while he is holding a hostage. There are quite a few of these events throughout the game and they look very cool while you are doing it.
One thing which I believe Max Payne misses out on is some of the stranger, more surreal parts that Max Payne 1 and 2 had. For example, the level on Max Payne 1 when Max is walking through his house without any guns and then he has to follow the blood trail while hearing his baby girl crying. These moments were some of the most memorable moments from Max Payne 1 and 2 and I think Max Payne 3 missed out by not including anything like this.
So all in all Max Payne 3 is a very good third-person shooter, with a great cinematic feel, as well as having some awesome bullet-time effects, but the game can sometimes be a bit too serious and there is not the odd, fourth-wall humor fans got in the original games. However there are still some classic references, like the old, classic theme and James McCaffrey’s gravely voice as Max.