Versions tested: PS3
Max Payne 3, developed by Rockstar and is available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The first two games was developed by Remedy Entertainment and if you’re a fan of the first two, you might be disappointed with the third one like how I was.
Like previous instalments, you play Max Payne, a cop turned vigilante after his family was killed. He’s been abusing alcohol and painkillers before a man named Raul Passos offered him a job to be a bodyguard to the wealthy Branco family in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Of course, bad things start to happen and Max Payne finds himself on a killing spree again.
Whatever charm that the previous instalments had, it’s missing in this one. Rockstar basically made Generic Shooter 3: With Bullet Time. There are a lot of cinematic to gameplay transitions which really interrupts the flow of playing. I spent as much time watching the game which was fine if the cutscenes were good, but they weren’t. Rockstar used a lot of blurry scenes and discolouration to show the effects of the substance abuse on Max Payne but after awhile it just started to get annoying.
The comic book style storytelling was replaced with lots of panel transitions which didn’t have the same charm compared to the previous Max Paynes. One of the bad things about the cinematics are, the constant need to change back to the gun I was using prior to the scene. Max Payne keeps changing the equipped gun in practically every scene and when it transitions back over to gameplay and you’re standing in a room full of baddies wanting to fill you up with holes, it can be extremely annoying.
The game features a cover system but it felt like it was an afterthought. There are no cover to cover movement and getting into and out of cover feels slow and sluggish. Character controls doesn’t feel good either, he can be a little hard to control at times. The game also keep throwing baddies at you, which kind of feels like a cheap way to make the game more difficult.
The environments, although very linear and the ability to backtrack is non-existent here, it is extremely nice to look at and feels very detailed. Sao Paulo was rendered very nicely by Rockstar and visuals is probably the game’s strongest point. Animation is also very nice to look at, dive with Max and he will fall realistically and stays on the ground where you can continue to fire at the bad guys and continue to fire when getting up which feels great. There is of course, bullet time, push a button and everything slows down, diving will slow down time as well and it uses an adrenaline meter which fills up when you’re firing at or getting shot at by bad guys. Another thing I liked was the minimalist approach to the HUD (heads-up display).
The game is fairly long, took roughly 10 hours to finish but the grind and repetitiveness of it all made me feel fatigued and when it was over, I was glad it was. There is multiplayer to lengthen the experience, it was a little fun in the beginning but after awhile, it too got a little boring. There is no need to key in a multiplayer code which was good.
Should you buy this game? Yes if you like shooters but only if you can get it for a much cheaper price. It’s not worth full retail. This game has too much Hollywood fluff and flair and not much substance to it.