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Max Payne 3 (Single-Player) Review: A Taste of Perfection

By
Posted on May 29, 2012 AT 12:06pm

Max Payne 3 Single-Player Review

A washed up ex-cop with a few dirty habits, Max Payne is lost; wasting his life away in whatever New Jersey bar seems fit for the night. Throwing back whiskey like water in one of his sanctuaries of solace on a typical rainy evening, Max ruminates on nothing other than his past mistakes and regrets when a rotten spawn of the largest crime family in NJ and his brown-nosing ‘bros’ saunter in with intent to start trouble. Little did Max know that the events taking place next would, months later, land him bursting into a room full of a bunch of fully-loaded Brazilian gangsters to rescue some rich socialite brats of the most wealthy and renowned family in Sao Paulo, Brazil and plunged right back into the “same shit” he’s been desperately trying to erase from his memory all-together.

“So I guess I’ve become what they wanted me to be. A killer, some rent-a-clown with a gun who puts holes in other bad guys. Well, that’s what they had paid for so in the end, that’s what they got. Say what you want about Americans, but we understand capitalism. You buy yourself a product and you get what you pay for, and these chumps had paid for some angry gringo without the sensibilities to know right from wrong. Here I was about to execute this poor bastard like some dime store angel of death and I realized, they were correct. I wouldn’t know right from wrong if one of them was helping the poor and the other was bangin’ my sister…”

This dramatic portrayal of a broken man trying to figure out not only his life, but also life in general is spot on. Even if you have never played the first two games, you will still be immersed in what is one of the most in-depth and detailed shooter I’ve played, well… ever. Don’t get me wrong though, Max Payne 3 may seem to some people, a little depressing at first thought, especially to fan boys and girls of the shooter genre. It is anything but. One of the best aspects of the game is, is that anyone will love it – and you can attribute that, not only to the perfection of the game but the options you have for your style of play. In most every game you can pick your difficulty but most just make enemies stronger. Max Payne has several levels of difficulty but also the option of different types of aiming to make it even more interesting. The Free Aim, Soft Lock, or Hard Lock options of targeting are added on to the game to make it more your style of play, whatever that may be, and will range your play from a laid-back story through Max’s life to an intensely challenging experience that those more into the battle will love.

The “perfection of the game” that I stated above isn’t a shout out or suck-up to Rockstar for throwing Max Payne 3 my way, I honestly believe anyone who purchases the game will be more than satisfied. The gameplay is unreal, and the irony in that is that this IS the most realistic game I’ve ever played! Everything just flows together as if you were watching a movie or documentary on a washed up old man, it’s almost not right to call it a game. They can give the credits of their realism to the implementation of Natural Motion’s Euphoria character behavior system and the RAGE engine I elaborated on in my preview, which you can find here.

Max Payne
Max is completely aware of everything around him much like a real person. You wouldn’t jump into a wall if you saw an enemy would you? No, neither does Max, and neither do his enemies. I’ll admit that getting in and out of cover sometimes “confuses” him but otherwise, seamless gameplay are the two words I have for you.

One of the things I noticed most about my playthrough of Max Payne 3 was that I never got bored with it. With some games of the shooter genre it seems like you’re doing the same thing over and over again just in a different area and maybe a different weapon, enemies rush out, you take cover, shoot until they’re gone, then head out a rather obvious exit, cutscene and BAM! Enemies rush out, same thing over again. I never felt that way with Max, every gunfight was different… and your enemies won’t let you make it boring by hiding behind cover all the live-long day. Much like a real battle to the death with angry “gringos” or paramilitary assholes would be like, your subjects of blood-spill will indeed come after you and put a bullet in your brain if you’re being that of a coward! Another difference from the rest, Max Payne 3 is always changing. From your basic building shoot-out, rendezvous in a Brazilian strip club, sneaking around a boatyard for clues, hanging from an in-air helicopter shooting rocket-launcher clad kidnappers, to watching over the young, rich, and famous as they snort coke on a yacht… you get the picture. There was absolutely never a dull moment in this game and for that I’m thoroughly impressed… but if you want to experience something impressive, play Max Payne 3 and tell me what you think about Bullet Time.

Bullet Time has been an important staple in the Max Payne franchise, and it’s back again with full force for you to make the most out of your play. With every bullet you shoot being individually modeled, every enemy those bullets pump into react dynamically to the location of shot, force/type of weapon it was shot from, Bullet Time basically makes the game. Slowing down time to precisely pop a few caps in that ass, (or head, arm, leg, …other painful places I wont mention), doesn’t affect the action you’re immersed in like you would think either. Fluidity was the goal and they [Rockstar] definitely achieved it, that and pure awesomeness for being able to slowly watch your enemy fall to the ground as you blast him with even more bullets. Think of Tony Montana at the end of Scarface and you’ll understand what I’m saying.

Max Payne 3 Bullet Time
Bullet Time isn’t the only cool factor battle-wise. There is also shoot-dodge and a brand new melee move for you to test out. Shoot-dodge will have you leaping sideways out of cover in slow motion like Bullet Time, and blowing off heads of your foes as you fall to the ground still shooting. The new melee concept is for those close encounters of course, pull the trigger near an enemy and watch him fall after you smash his face with your gun and enter into Bullet Time where you can properly put a hole into his head. Greatest thing ever.

If you’re not such a fortunate Max Payne and you’re the one that gets that fatal shot to the face but have those trusty painkillers on hand, you will also enter Bullet Time, and if you kill the dirty gringo who shot you quickly, you will live to fight another day at the cost of one painkiller. If you’re unfamiliar with painkillers, not only are they like tic tacs to Max but also the source of his health regeneration.

The graphics in Max Payne are unbelievable, as you would expect… but with todays tech it’s rare to come across a game that you wouldn’t say that about. However the style of the graphics is what sets this game apart from the rest. Even in Brazil Max’s iconic Hollywood noir style cinematics and narratives are still at play, and have made their way back much improved. One of the aspects of Max Payne that fans of the trilogy love is his somewhat sarcastic, nothing held back thoughts that are narrated by Max himself not only in cutscenes but throughout your play. Pick up some painkillers and Max basically makes excuses for why he needs them, walk past a dead friend and Max states his feelings of remorse.

Max Payne 3 is certainly an amazing play. Never dull, always action-packed and humorous at times. Rockstar definitely kept with the old Max Payne ways and just made it much more of an interesting game. There were absolutely no flaws I witnessed in any tiny aspect of Max Payne 3, and can truly say that this game is perfection!

Final Score: 10/10

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