Max Payne 3 Xbox 360 l PS3 l PC
DEVELOPER: Rockstar Studios
PUBLISHER: Rockstar Games
RELEASE DATE: May 15, 2012
It’s been nearly a decade since Max Payne last graced video game consoles, and fans of the franchise have been impatiently awaiting the glorious return of their favorite noir bad ass.
Await no longer, ladies and gentlemen, as Max Payne is finally back for Max Payne 3, the newest game from Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption mastermind Rockstar Games. It’s been almost a decade, indeed, but has the tortuous wait been worth it?
In Max Payne 3 we pick up with Max years after the end of the last game, retired from the NYPD and working personal security for a very rich and powerful family in São Paulo, Brazil. He was recruited by a man named Raul Passos, with promises of it being an easy gig away from all the painful memories that New York City constantly reminded him of. But, as anyone who’s played these games before knows, there’s no such thing as an “easy gig” for Mr. Max Payne, and soon he’s right in the middle of yet another ongoing firefight.
As it turns out, rich and powerful families in a not-so-rich-and-powerful area have an undeniable target on their backs, and some of them are looking to get paid by the family Max has been hired to protect. Even worse, they’re willing to go to immense lengths to get that money. Just another day for Max Payne.
I’m not going to waste anyone’s time. I’ll get right to it. I freakin’ love this game.
The biggest curiosity going in, in regards to finally being on a next-gen console, was how the patented Max Payne bullet time feature would play. To be honest, it’s not a whole lot different than it’s ever been, only crisper and cleaner to use. But what is different is the pay off. If you’re a crack shot (and you can choose at the start whether you think you’re good enough to free aim or if you need some assistance), sometimes you get rewarded with a bullet cam so you can follow your shot right to its destination, and even in slow motion if you wish it. Sure we’ve seen the bullet cam before, but it wasn’t much to behold. Here, however, it’s a bloody brilliant good time (especially with the awesome power of shotgun). Paired with the ability to take one last shot at the guy who put you down, Max Payne is more hardcore than ever, even when the odds are stacked strongly against him.
The story is top notch as well. Perhaps even better than the last two, but that will depend on you the individual player. I personally enjoyed it very much, as, along with the storyline involving the family Max is working for and the people out to take advantage of them, we also see Payne battling his inner demons more desperately than ever before. He’s always been a man of the drink and of the pill, but now he’s possessed by them; they get him through the day and overtake his very being after the sun sets. It all makes for great drama as you play through the game.
As far as negative aspects of the game, I really can’t pinpoint any. The only thing I can think of that Max Payne purists might just be troubled by is the noticeable lack of that film noir vibe the first two games presented. It’s true, Max Payne 3 is nowhere near as noir-y as the previous games (though you will find nods back to the cold and gritty old ways in here), but people also complain when you do the same old thing over and over again. Sometimes it’s good to move on to new things and new territory. In fact—and some may consider this a turn off—the new game feels like a Bruce Willis movie directed by none other than Michael Bay at times. Maybe not the tone some were seeking in the game, but damn if it’s not a ton of fun to play.
Max Payne 3 is a brutal symphony of violence, in the best possible way. The noir will always be there to be used as it’s seen fit to do so in any possible future installments. For now, folks, a bit of over-the-top action goodness feels pretty right to me.
As for the multiplayer, I’m not exactly an authority. I’m not a huge online player as it is, but when I do it’s usually first-person shooters (did I just write the worst Dos Equis commercial ever?). That said, the small amount of dabbling I did play of Max Payne 3‘s multiplayer was entertaining. Fans of third-person multiplayer should find some added entertainment here.