Review by LinkiReview Guide
-design = out of 11
-mechanics = out of 11
-replayability = out of 11
-visual design = out of 11
-sound design = out of 11
-performance = out of 11
-characters = out of 11
-plot = out of 11
-music = out of 11
/11Max Payne 3
: ReviewReviewer Experience
: After completing the game on all difficulties (excluding Easy, of course), obsessing over the details and nuances of the story, finding nearly all the collectables, trying my hand in multiplayer, getting gold/platinum in every level of Score Attack and trying out the New York Minute mode - all with Free Aim - I concluded that I now had a credible understanding of the game. Good enough to post a review, at least. Note this was played on the PS3 version.Background Info
The Max Payne games were a Remedy production for the first two entries of the series, accompanied by Rockstar only as a publisher. After finishing the second Max Payne, Remedy moved onto a new project and Rockstar swept in to produce the next chapter of Max's journey into the night themselves. The first screens of Max Payne 3 were published, showing a bald, overweight, damaged, bearded man in a wife-beater shooting up a sunny Brazil. Understandably, fans were surprised. Some where shocked and in disgust at Rockstar's treatment of Max Payne, others were curiously optimistic as to what Rockstar was doing with Remedy's classic IP. After a long wait, trailers and more info was revealed, calming some fears down for some. Now, it's actually been released and all pre-release speculation must make way for actual experiences with the game itself.GameplayDesign
The core of the game revolves around gun-play and the utilization of bullettime/shootdodging and cover. Each level has to do with surviving groups of enemies in different scenarios. It is a very contained and linear experience, yet it still rewards exploration on the side with "collectables" such as golden guns, clues, encountering tourists, watching T.V. and practicing Max's piano ability. The encounters with the enemies are what the game is all about though when it comes down to it. Is that a bad thing? In this case; not. At. All.
Thanks to the brilliant bullettime, shootouts give you the chance to orchestrate ridiculously stylish battles that would make Hollywood sh*t themselves, then order more sensationally spiteful news stories to make videogames look bad on morning television.
In most scenarios Max starts out in cover giving you a chance to decide how to tackle the situation and adds some strategy to the game. Many people fretted that the game would be a cover shooter, but it's obvious once you play it that the enemies are programmed to flush you out, making cover only a place to plan what you're going to do next. Shootouts themselves are decently designed and set up differently every time, which never really makes the game feel repetitive, even if it is in nature.
It also may come as a surprise (and a shock, especially for players who haven't played older shooters) that the game is unforgiving in it's difficulty. Checkpoints have been purposely spaced out, so if you die in the middle of a skirmish, it won't transport you back in the midst of it, instead you will have to try the whole battle out again. This may grate on some, but it's a fair penalty and one that gives you incentive to really be as stylish as you can when you take the enemies out, which basically means avoid getting shot. Another trait that's been carried on from previous Max Payne's is no regenerative health. Instead the player must take painkillers to be keep the pain at bay, adding more strategy to the mix.
A new component has been added to the pills feature this time around; if you get shot too much and still have a painkiller available, you will get knocked down and will enter an automatic bullettime in order to shoot the guy who knocked you down, giving you another chance to continue. This is called Last Man Standing mode, and it works well without taking away the challenge of fights.
The levels themselves move seamlessly into the next without break, but this can take away too much player control and becomes even detrimental to your chances of survival. Say for instance you just cleared an area of enemies and you're about to pick up some ammo and pills lying around, then the game cuts to the next scene automatically. And sometimes the amount of painkillers you stocked up will go suspiciously missing in the next scene. I know Max loves his pills, but if I didn't see him taking them, then it was in the wrong. Note that I am not referring to crossing from one chapter to the next, rather going from one scenario to the next in a single level.Report9 out of 11The design of the game succeeds in nearly all sectors, making the players feel like they are creating their own action scenes on the fly. Only a few irresponsible design choices (having to with taking away control from the player) knock it down a couple numbers.Mechanics
The controls of the game are mostly strong. The shooting is incredibly accurate and in depth for a third person game, with the ability to aim and shoot in all areas in 360 degrees, no matter what state you are in. You can fire from the hip or aim properly, fire from a prone position after shootdodging or after surviving getting knocked down, fire flying backwards, forwards, etc. There is barely any moment where you are unable to shoot, and that's good to know. There is a couple seconds after getting up off the ground from being prone where you cannot, however. And even though it's only a small moment, it can cost you your life.
Cover works better than any other Rockstar game that's included it. It feels less "sticky" and easier to move around in. Blind fire is a bit more risky this time, but feels more realistic and thus, dangerously fun. One thing that was sorely missing was the ability to slide into cover, which was quite surprising in such a stylish game. Another problem is when I would shoot whilst in cover at an enemy behind the cover I was in, so I was vulnerable. This wouldn't be a problem if Max didn't pop his whole upper torso out to shoot, leaving me open to the gunfire I went in cover to hide from in the first place.
Basic movement is nice, with Max moving with a tangibility that makes each step real and fluid. Unfortunately, precise, slower walking is clunky and makes exploring tight areas an uncoordinated, frustrating hassle. If you hold down the X button Max will "run". It's barely any faster than normal travel, and I don't see why it's even an option. There are opportunities to climb objects at some points, not too many. Sliding over cover is smooth and responsive.
Shootdodging feels exhilarating and looks awesome, which is good news considering you're going to be doing a lot of it (if you plan on playing on the higher difficulties). One of the great things about it is the fact that you can do it in any direction.
Melee is a hit and miss. You could have an enemy on the floor in pain and about to get up, so you go up to him and try to melee him. Max will do a shoddy kicking animation yet the guy will still be alive, so you do it a couple more times and then he stops moving (might as well have shot him instead). Talk about unsatisfying. But then we have the melee attack where you're holding a firearm and run up to a standing enemy and an interactive execution begins with Max brutally beating the sh*t out of him, then shooting him in the face. Talk about satisfying
out of 11
The gameplay mechanics all come together to work exceedingly well, cultivating in the best shooting gameplay available for any third person game (or even FPS, but that's a personal opinion). When it comes to close quarters - whether it be tight movement or melee - it's too unpredictable in it's effectiveness, taking down the numbers a couple notches.
On the cover, it's a linear shooter with a couple modes here and there and some online. That's it. If you look at it that way, you're not going to find much here. But if you are a Max Payne fan or just a fan of using games as your own personal toolbox to create awesomeness in general, then you are going to find a lot to love here with Max Payne.
For single player enthusiasts, there is a good amount of things to do. Obviously, you can complete the story on each difficulty setting. Multiple types of collectables can be found throughout the story. Cheats can be unlocked through various tasks. There is an Arcade section that changes the game into two different styles of play; Arcade Mode and New York Minute.
Another, "unofficial" reason why I'm going to go back to the single player is to pick and choose my favorite chapters and try to complete them in different, stylish ways. Set up your own set pieces with different weapons, smart use of timing and bullettime, and watch the results. I did this with the previous Max Payne's and that's what I'm going to do with this one.
Then there's the multiplayer. I myself haven't really gotten into it yet, so I can't say all that much. It should be fun playing with friends and crews.Report7
out of 11
Great amount of single player content for a linear shooter, especially in these times of 6 hour campaigns and then it's onto the online. In the end, it won't deliver the long lasting fun of an open world game, but that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
The standout visual element of the game is the flashy, multicolored effects that happens in game and in cutscenes. An obvious way of making you see the world through Max's f*cked up state of life, it does a good job at it. If the player doesn't understand this intention, it may just be seen as seizure inducing sh*t. Which is understandable.
Panel transitions and key words that hang in the air also occur to give off that graphic novel nature of Max Payne. It works well, and is some nice graphical effects, but some are sure to miss the original style of cutscenes in the older games. Nevertheless, time has moved on, and you can't expect Rockstar to not include motion capture cutscenes. They love that sh*t.
One thing fans were most worried about is that the constant dark noir look of the older Max Payne's appeared to be lost. Indeed, a good amount of the game is set during daylight. But there is also a lot of rainy/snowy nights, dramatic lighting, imposing shadows, setting suns, gritty environments etc. It's not a sunny paradise, that's for sure. The way shadows and the lighting affects the already gritty looking environments is very atmospheric. In one scene Max walked outside into a strikingly moody sunset (very fitting after what just happened in the previous scene) over the nightmare-ish favelas with strong orange rays that made Max's bald head shine wonderfully.
I don't even know if I have to point this out, but the detail is astronimical. Seriously. All that detail from Rockstar's open world games has exploded into these smaller locations. It's just incredible. Report9
out of 11
The strong vibe of the game walks hand in hand with the outspoken, unique look that will separate it from other games with similar settings in the long run. Sound Design
Yelling foreigners, loud shots, breaking glass, a low bass rumble then ensues and the slowed down screams of death ends your screeching, machine-gunned frenzied, slow-mo flight through the air. You'll be hearing that scenario quite a bit, I reckon.
Not much to be said here though. The sound is high quality. A cool thing to note is that all details in the environment when shot sounds just like it should, which is damn impressive. Report10
out of 11
Gets the tough job done of putting you into the deadly world of Max Payne, and an exceedingly eclectic one that is.Performance
The RAGE engine's first linear game since... Table Tennis (?) handles itself well. High definition environments with highly awesome animations show us Max Payne in the new generation. Shootouts are beautiful works of art, with bodies being spliced up in a poetic ballet of blood and flailing. The game has detailed city backdrops, which are gargantuan compared to the backdrops of Max Payne 1, really showing us how technology has moved on since 2001.
The Euphoria engine has never been better. You've probably already seen it in action, whether it be via the Tech videos or the game itself. (I can only dream of what GTAV is going hold in store for us)
There are some mildly serious technical issues I've experienced with the game (remember, I've been playing on the PS3). Sound would drop out and come back in later, making everything out of sync, or not come back at all. Random loading screens would appear then not load at all, forcing me to quit the game and start again. Max's body would sometimes drop into blue hell after initiating a Last Man Standing. Outside the game, a certain cheat hasn't unlocked even after completing what needed to be done to unlock it. That's particularly irritating. Almost as bad as locked DLC content on disc. Almost
out of 11
The graphical bravado on display is bogged down by technical issues that plague many areas of the game, however so rare. If it gets patched, bring the score up by three.StoryCharacters
Max Payne, the man in the title, returns. The writers got the character down to the last nuance. The words he uses and the kind of sentences he strings together are what I expected to hear from him. But remember, it's been a while. And in those long years he's been absent, he's been popping pills and drinking it down with alcohol. This baggage is clear in his characterisation, which is great to see. Not many action heroes, nay any video game characters, are as deep and human as Max Payne.
The supporting characters all have their parts to play. Passos, Rodrigo, Fabiana, Giovanna, Victor, De Marco, Marcelo etc. Maybe it's because I've played it through many times already, but I found them all to be memorable. There was, however, one guy who came out of the blue and thus didn't really get much notification from me; Neves. And Da Silva also was sort of like "Wait, why are you here with me right now? Who are you?" I must admit he has grown on me, and his cool detective persona fits well against the backdrop of all these shady, noir types.
The acting on display here is top notch, as to be expected from a Rockstar game. Apparently though, the accents of the foreign speakers aren't correct? I myself didn't notice this and can't say anything as I have no idea how they're supposed to sound anyway.Report10
out of 11
Characters that feel like they could exist in the real world. Flawed, shady, memorable individuals with their own persona's. Max Payne himself was already an iconic character, and now he's only become even better, earning his place as one of the most deepest characters ever played out. Only a couple of characters are forgettable, coming in and out of the story too quickly and too late for their own good.Plot
Try closing your eyes and imagining Max Payne 3's story as a noir graphic novel. I don't know about you, but it's clear to me the goal of creating such a story was reached.
The basic plot revolves around Max's seemingly never ending plight to save fallen women. Of course, it runs much deeper than that. Conspiracy, double crossings, corruption, vengeance, etc. It's all here.
The story is complex, not only in the amount of twists and turns, but in the gray area between good and evil. A man you see as your enemy earlier in the game finds himself with Max's mutual respect, allowing the former enemy to live out his own personal vendetta.
Morals and principles are in place with Max, but they story is more about letting go than redemption or revenge.
Max is still an avenging angel though. At least by the second half once he shaves his hair, as a symbolic moment of taking back control and becoming the dark avenger we know and love.
Symbolism is everywhere in this game. Slightly opened doors, blood trails, broken windows - all things the player will see frequently, as Max will notice himself. If you didn't get it by now, these are all images of the night the payne
out of 11
It may take multiple playthroughs to get it all in, but the story remains engrossing on the first and fifth playthrough. Just like a good book, it's all about 'just one more page...'. Indeed however, some players may find themselves forgetting what's going on in the story. Whether this is a case of player fault or the game itself being too abrasive, well, is too subjective to be seen as a big problem with the story itself.Music:
Between the gunfire and yelling, the soundscape is perpetuated by a dynamically atmospheric soundtrack. From pumping, percussive action music, to moody nostalgic synth. The soundtrack is the soul of Max Payne 3.
The classic theme, of course, returns. Max himself even plays the theme on a few pianos in game, which I thought was quite cool. Report11
out of 11
The right music at the right time does so much for making the game that much more enthralling, and Max Payne 3 has it's musical timing (and taste) spot on.Final Report
Max Payne 3 is one of the greatest action games ever created, and is (at the very least) the best shooter conceived this generation. The game creates digital cinema that is of higher quality than most of actual cinema out at this time. And I'm not just talking about the storyline, acting, dialogue, etc. I'm also talking about the gameplay itself. There are a few issues with the game, and some may find the unique nature of the game's visual style a needless distraction. If you are one of those, try to look past it, and if you do, you will find a brilliant shooter that evokes the punishing nature of difficulty from yesteryear.9/11