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Max Payne's third outing came almost ten years after his last, but the long gap in time clearly wasn't too bad a thing. Instead of being developed by Remedy, who did the previous games, Max Payne 3 is made by Rockstar, the publisher behind Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption - so it's more famous for its open-world efforts than its linear ones, so Max Payne 3 is a refreshing change. Even so, this is a very good but flawed title. There's much fun to be had here, and anyone looking for a challenging eight-hour blast should look no further.
Max Payne is a mess. His wife and child were murdered years ago, and his one hope for love, Mona, is lost. He has a job in Sao Paulo, Brazil, working a security detail for the wealthy Rodrigo Branco and his family, assisting another man named Passos. Behind closed doors, he's not doing too well - not at all. His daily routine is going to work, then returning to his apartment, drinking his sorrows away and taking painkillers. Max has his work cut out for him when Rodrigo's wife is kidnapped at a nightclub, beginning a long romp through the cities and favelas of Brazil to find her, alongside Passos. Overall, Max Payne 3 has an entertaining and enjoyable storyline, although it's overshadowed by writer Dan Houser's previous work in Red Dead Redemption. It's very interesting to see how much can go wrong for Max and it's hard not to feel sorry for him. The writing is great and hearing Max's monologues are a joy to hear. However, the supporting cast of characters is uninspired for the most part, with boring antagonists, and I got a bit confused with some of the Brazilian names used like the Cracha Preto and Comando Sombra.
The trailers promoting the game prior to its release demonstrated how much effort was put into even the little details of the gameplay, and the end result certainly doesn't disappoint. At a glance, it appears as your common-or-garden third-person shooter. You face hundreds of enemies across several linear levels. Much like Uncharted, it alternates between gunfights and cutscenes or a set piece. There's also a robust cover system introduced to the series, activated by pressing square when near a surface. Any gun you see on the floor can be picked up, and you can dual-wield weapons. Look behind the general parts, though, and you'll find a sophisticated and fun shooter that's rather unique. Much like in previous games, you can use 'Bullet Time' and 'Shootdodge' to help Max in gunfights. The former simply puts you into slow motion, allowing you to more easily aim at moving enemies and dodge bullets. The latter is much more stylish; by activating it, Max jumps into the air in slow motion, in any direction you desire (with the great ability to avoid breaking his back when he lands on a hard surface). You can't use them to your heart's content though, as there's a meter, which depletes when you use either slow motion modes. It's a slightly odd system at times, though, as using ShootDodge depletes the meter, but can still be used when it's empty. Your health depletes quickly, so it's thankful you have a lifeline when near-death. You can find painkillers around the world which can be used when in a bind, but it's best to save them - having a painkiller handy when your health is fully depleted activates Last Stand mode, which sees you having to kill the last enemy to shoot you, within a time limit. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work well; for example, the enemy who last shot you might be behind cover, making it impossible to kill him. If you fail Last Stand, you're taken back to the last checkpoint. In summary, the gameplay is excellent but has one big problem: repetitivity. Even the best gameplay can't save a game from descending into repetitiveness and that's Max Payne 3's problem. By the end you'll be bored of the shooting, cutscene, shooting, cutscene routine. More variety would easily make this an essential experience.
The average person will complete the game in a decent 8-10 hours, although there are numerous reasons to have another playthrough. Hidden throughout each level are parts; find all of them for a particular weapon at it becomes golden. As far as I know, it's a purely cosmetic enhancement, because, gold. Who'd turn down a golden gun? Playing through the game earns you 'grinds' of which there are several. Each grind is rather simple; get X number of headshoots, shoot X number of enemies while on your back. Each grind has four stages, from bronze to platinum. A bronze grind might be for getting 50 headshots, where a platinum grind might be for 500 (instantly making you feel nauseous about the number of brains you've destroyed in the game and questioning your humanity). Also, clues are scattered throughout levels. These include a photo on the floor of a car park, and a bloodied door. There is too the fact that this is a rather tough game. Years on from the days of the Mega Drive and the like, games are very accessible and player-friendly, so playing Max Payne 3 was a shock to the system. It's likely you'll die a good handful of times in a level, and I must have spent 20 minutes to half an hour replaying just one section in the last level, as I kept dying - and that was only on normal, and there are three difficulties above that! Finally, there are some game modes outside of the story. Arcade sees you beating a level, trying to earn headshots and slow motion kills to get the highest score possible. New York Minute involves completing a level within a time limit, with kills adding to your timer. If the timer runs out or you die, you're forced to play the entire level again, regardless of how close you are to the finish line. New York Minute Hardcore, lastly, is just stupidly hard. It's on normal mode (still pretty hard, as I said earlier), and has you playing through the ENTIRE game in a time limit. This time, if you die or time runs out, you must restart the game. Anyone trying to complete this might be mad. To conclude I enjoyed the range of additional activities, even if one of the extra modes you can play is just about insane.
The graphics in Max Payne 3 are quite impressive overall. I was most stunned by the environments overall, which are very varied, rich and detailed. From a favela filled with violent gangs, to the darkened streets of New Jersey and an airport, there's a lot to see here. Character models don't fare quite so well, but they're still detailed and aren't too out of place against the beautiful environments. For me the best visual aspect was the cinematic touches added to the gameplay and animations. You can have a lot of fun with ShootDodge, jumping into things and seeing Max roll into a ball on the floor, and it's impressive to see the little touches added into the gameplay. There's been much effort into showing how Max reloads while holding two weapons at the same time and how he shoots backwards when facing away from the enemy. Another entertaining feature is seeing how things go into slow motion when you kill the last enemy in a fight, or shoot an enemy in Last Stand. Irish-born actor James McCaffrey returns as Max Payne and does a fine job. His downbeat, negative monologues are massively enjoyable to hear in particular. I have never heard of most of the actors of the supporting characters, which includes Julian Dean, Frank Rodriguez and Robert Montano. There's no one here that stood out as bad, plus it's nice to hear some different voice acting (these days it seems to be all Troy Baker and Nolan North in games). The sound design is also superb; the noise made when you shoot a gun is impactful, and the thud made when you hit the ground after Shootdodge is very satisfying. The music played while in a gunfight ups the intensity, as does the loud Brazilian voices you'll hear in shootouts.
Overall, Max Payne 3 is a great game definitely worth your time if you want a fun third-person shooter. The story is no masterpiece, but interesting even if it can get a bit confusing at times and some of the characters seem a bit generic and boring. One disadvantage of the story is that the cutscenes last so long and most are unskippable (clicking X tells you 'still loading' most of the time), resulting in some impatience when you just want to re-run through a level to grab anything you missed before. The gameplay is wonderful. It's clear a lot of time has been put into making it as good as possible, with lots of cinematic touches and brilliant slow motion features. The replay value is good, and the graphics are at times beautiful, with top-notch animations. Voice acting is not particularly memorable but very decent, plus the music creates a lot of tension in battles. Max Payne 3 isn't perfect but for its first linear action title, Rockstar Vancouver has done an excellent job in making this appeal to fans and newcomers alike.
Thanks for reading! This review is also posted on Ciao under my name YoshiCheesePuff.
Ive been a past fan of the old Max Payne films, they were the original crime noir series and I think a real insiration for films like 'the spirit' and 'sin city', as the camera work, the comic book feel and the lack of or illumination of colour in the past games seem to spawn this tehcnique in other types of media. The previous games were set in and around New Jersey and were quite depressing and grimy in their feel...alhough I used to love the snowy weather effects.
This game is mostly set in Sao Paulo, Brazil, also some levels are based in Panama and in New Jersey as there are a couple of cool 'past events' levels , where you see how max`s friend Passos recruits him to be a private bodyguard for a rich Brazilian family.
As you end up in Sao Paulo you try to look after the family Bronco, but one by one most of them are taken out by the Commando Sombre, a revelutionary group of poor guys form the favellas who love nothing more then to kidnap and to kill rich fmailies to show them a lesson, and the UFE, the special forces of the brazlian police (based on the BOPE special forces group) who initially seem to want help the bronco`s but then turn on them. Max, with the help fo Passos and the one straight cop in town, DaSilva, gradually uncovers a ghastly plot between one of the Bronco brothers, the head of the UFE involving human organ traffiking and the dissapearence of many a favella kid. Its all politics and conspiracy and in the middle a fat , middle aged gringo called Max Payne, who has a role to play, the American fall-guy, but Max doesnt want to play ball.
This is a gorgeous looking game, well rendered and the enviroments look great, ive been to the favellas in Rio and they loko similar, the music is great, espeically in the clubs and the strip bars, it exactly what Brazilians like hearing, at least when I was there for 6 weeks it was.
The game is split into 14 chapters played out in football stadiums, clubs, rooftops, favellas - (where max sports his new bald look, a hawaiian shirt and a pistol.
The weapons are all there, double pistols, machine guns, bazookas, grenade launchers and many can be doubled up so you can fire two at the same time.
The character acting is great, especially Max, his saying are hilarious and keep you smirking. The acting and the scenes can be a quite graphic , being a rockstar game, and there are some disturbing scenes of torture and murder, so it definately not one for your 5 year old nephews xmas stocking.
I loved playing this game , its quite long and you get your money`s worth.
Max Payne is the third game in the Max Payne series. I've not played any of the previous games in the series, but I've heard good things about this game so I figured I'd give it a go.
Max Payne is no longer a cop. The game starts off in apartment where you soon see he is addicted to pain killers and alcohol. He takes a job protecting a wealthy family, but things get out of control and he has to fight to protect the family and survive.
The main menu gives the options of story, arcade and multiplayer. I decided to play the story mode first. This took me to another menu to choose the difficulty.
You can select easy, medium or hard and hardcode and old school can be unlocked once you've completed the game. I choose medium which then led me to a third menu where you can choose whether you want shooting to be hard lock, soft lock, free aim.
After going through the menus the game starts with a long video. The first of many. The game then instructs you on how the controls work. The game soon jumps into the action with people shooting at you. You make your way around the building, trying to rescue the wealthy people and kill everyone shooting at you.
Moving around is easy as you use the left analog stick to move and the right analog stick to move the camera. Shooting feels a bit awkward to start with as you use R3 to aim and R2 to shoot. I kept wanting to use L3 to aim and R1 to shoot and with such long cut scenes I often found myself being shot a lot when the scene was over as I'd forgotten it was R2 to shoot and had automatically pressed R1. As you press X to sprint it's not easy to press that and use the right analog stick to move the camera around. You can also use L2 to target which works pretty well for keeping track of people once you have targeted them. Killing people is pretty easy at the start, but it gets harder later on, especially when shooting people at a distance.
You can see killings in slow motion if you press X although some are shown in slow motion anyway. While in some ways it's cool to see the bullet flying through the air in slow motion it's really just another video clip and as you have the option of pressing X to see it in slow motion it doesn't really make sense for some to automatically be in slow motion.
The manual states for controls that x is climb, vault, sprint and roll and yet most of that stuff is done during the videos. For example, at the start Max jumps over a wall and slides down a roof during a video and later on he slides across a ledge of a building and jumps over to a platform. Even running for the helicopter was a video clip, not part of the gameplay which is a shame as these few simple things would have made the game much more interesting.
On the plus side they do combine video elements and gameplay as there is talking while you are moving, which is realistic and adds to the story and gameplay. However, sadly this does not mean less cutscenes. I felt more like I was watching a film. If I wanted to watch a film I would have done. It is probably better if you like films like this but personally I don't. What's happening isn't interesting enough to make me want to keep playing the game, or watching it. I don't need to see 5 minutes of Max getting drunk, then 5 minutes of people sitting in a helicopter laughing and drinking. It doesn't really add to the story. I guess it shows you more about what the characters are like but it could be far shorter clips.
You can find numerous guns that are dropped by the enemy when you kill them. However, finding a gun doesn't mean you'll keep it. After the cutscenes I was back to my previous gun.
It does seem that you can have unlimited deaths. When you die it goes back to the last checkpoint and you are almost healed. This is useful, especially when you are about to fight a large number of enemies. If you do find yourself being shot at a lot you can partly heal yourself using painkillers. Using them just requires the tap of the Up button, although finding the painkillers in the first place sadly isn't so simple and I could never find them when I needed them. They are a nice feature to the game (however unrealistic for healing gun wounds). They seemed to randomly appear as I never actually saw any before picking them up, only once they were in the health meter.
Despite just basically being walking around and killing people the game didn't feel repetitive.
Arcade mode has three options. The first is Score attack which is just replaying the chapters except you score for kills. Then there is New York Minute and New York Minute Hardcore. New York minute is unlocked when you complete the game and the hardcore option is unlocked when you complete New York Minute. As I have not completed the game I have no idea what these are.
Multiplayer is the online mode. This loads quite fast, which is surprising because loading time in the game wasn't always that fast.
Multiplayer gives you a number of options.
* Rookie team deathwatch
* Rookie deathmatch
* Team deathmatch
* Payne killed (needs to be unlocked)
* Gang wars (needs to be unlocked)
* Large team deathmatch (needs to be unlocked)
* Large deathmatch (needs to be unlocked)
While this may look, at a glance, a good amount of options half are locked and the other half are just deathmatches which is quite disappointing. I have to admit that the deathmatch game was better than I thought it would be though.
You do respawn instantly (assuming you press X to do so), although after being killed a couple of times without killing anyone it took a few seconds longer before I was able to respawn. After killing two people I could then respawn again instantly so it seems that as long as you can keep killing you'll be able to keep respawning quickly, not that it takes long anyway.
The voice of Max really suited him and the other characters sounded fine too. The music suited the game. It was almost sad music at the start to fit in with his new life and moving into new place. The music does get quite repetitive. I can't say I really noticed any other music during the game except when they were places like the Nightclub and music was playing there.
The graphics are amazing and detailed. The characters and settings all look realistic. The characters move like real people, although they did seem to walk with their legs a bit too bent. Sadly the graphics were often ruined with a horrible coloured camera effect, which made everything blurry and jumpy during videos and sometimes during the gameplay.
I don't mind when a video goes to the characters point of view for a few moments and shows their vision is blurry if, for example, they've taken drugs or are drunk, but to constantly keep showing them effects and worse is just annoying. Maybe they had a reason for it, perhaps to show how the character sees things, but you can imagine how he sees things from what he's doing and what is happening around him without the effects. They just made me feel sick and gave me a headache.
The cutscenes and death scenes are made more interesting with a comic strip style effect but even on this they sometimes add the strange colours.
As this is a new release it currently costs about £35 to buy this new and about £30 used from Amazon. It is also available on the xbox 360 for about the same price and for slightly less on the PC.
I didn't complete the game and really have no interest in doing so. By the half way through the first chapter I already knew that this would be the case as the effects were getting annoying and showed no signs of going away, but I kept playing in the hope that it would change or there would be more gameplay and less video. There might be a good story hidden somewhere and perhaps there is more gameplay later on, but it's just not enough to motivate me to continue and suffer through the effects.
However, for the gameplay that there was, it was well done. It was easy to move around, aim and shoot and the graphics are amazing without the effects.
If you like this type of game it's worth playing it, but personally I think Max Payne could have been so much better.