Max Payne 3 - Review - May 26th 2012

Its time to bring the Payne. When the wife of Brazilian real estate mogul Rodrigo Branco is kidnapped, its up to Max Payne to tear the city of Sao Paolo apart to get her back. From the slums of the favelas, to the penthouses and skyscrapers of the big city, no one is safe from Max as he issues a serious beatdown to anyone who stands in his way.

In keeping with the look and feel of previous entries in the franchise, the story of Max Payne 3 is told in the style of film noir, giving the game the dark and gritty feel needed to immerse players in the psyche of Max Payne. The story is advanced through a series of short cinematic cutscenes which link each of the many firefights Max finds himself in throughout the game. This combination gives the game the look and feel of detective films of the 1940s and 50s. Appearing alongside the short cinematic cutscenes are interactive cutscenes that are new to the franchise, in which Max finds himself sliding down slanted rooftops or shooting from an airborne boat in bullet time, the signature slow motion mode that Max Payne is known for.

The story is absolutely gripping.

Max can also use bullet time along with his addiction to painkillers to bring him back from the brink of death, giving him the chance to exact revenge on the enemy who last shot him as he falls to the ground. After exacting said revenge, players can rotate Max a full 360 degrees while lying on the ground, to take out enemies from all directions. In order to save Mr. Branco's wife, and bring those responsible to justice (or at least Max's version of it), Max needs weapons. Although the game does not feature a massive selection of weapons like other shooters such as "Call of Duty", the amount of weapons in Max Payne 3 is acceptable. With the ability to unlock golden guns by collecting weapon parts throughout the story mode, players will be left feeling satisfied, but not wowed. The game makes up for this by allowing players to dual wield any two 1 handed weapons.

Graphically, Max has never looked better. The game uses a combination of Rockstar's RAGE engine, alongside Natural Motion's Euphoria engine for character animation. This joint effort gives Max Payne 3 gorgeous graphics along with super-realistic animations. Although gameplay is extremely solid, it suffers from occasional collision detection and physics-related glitches. The controls feel very balanced, and often feel natural, until players are faced with a close-quarters gunfight, where the controls suddenly become clunky and cumbersome - similar to wielding a broadsword inside a schoolbus. Adding to the immersive Brazilian experience is a fantastic original score composed by Los Angeles based band HEALTH. Each musical piece accompany Max and his ever darkening demeanor as he takes an extended tour of Sao Paolo in search of those responsible for the kidnapping of Branco's wife. Also featured in the game is local Sao Paolo rapper Emicida, who recorded a song to be included in the game.

The violence is pretty graphic, but the gameplay is hugely satisfying.

Max Payne 3 is the first of the franchise to feature a multiplayer mode- and it shows. The multiplayer experience bears a striking resemblance to that found in Grand Theft Auto IV. The graphical and audio quality is degraded to allow for faster load times and lag-free gameplay. Although the bullet time effect was implemented into the multiplayer experience, it doesn't work nearly as well as in the story mode, and often leaves players wondering why they went into bullet time yet no one around them is using it. Multiplayer maps are based on - or taken directly from - the story mode, and although there are some fairly large maps, they often feel small during skirmishes. Even though the story mode is almost bug free, the same cannot be said for the multiplayer mode. As enemies are dispatched, they are often sent flipping through the air in unnatural directions. Included in the multiplayer mode are character and loadout customizations, as well as "Call of Duty" style challenges, known as "grinds." However, many of these features leave players feeling they were tacked on at the last minute. The game features a clan system called the "Social Club," but at the time of this review, was unavailable due to errors in the Rockstar servers.

RJ Barranti



Max Payne 3 features an awesome story that keeps players on the edge of their seat until the very end, but a lackluster multiplayer mode leaves players wanting.


The original score by HEALTH is extremely fitting with the games look and feel, but it would have been nice to have gotten more than one track from Emicida included in the game.


Even at his worst, Max has never looked better! But the same cannot be said for multiplayer.


A lack luster multiplayer mode will leave the game collecting dust on shelves once players reach the end of the single player adventure.


Final Score:

With a great plotline and immersive, true to life environments, Max Payne 3 lives up to the expectations of fans and first-timers, but multiplayer buffs should look elsewhere to get their fix.


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