Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Max Payne 3 Review

Max Payne 3 is the third installment in Rockstar Games Max Payne series and is set eight years after the events of the last installment.

Max Payne 3 is the third installment in Rockstar Games Max Payne series and is set eight years after the events of the last installment. No longer a cop, Max is close to washed-up, drunk and addicted to painkillers. Without a job on the force, Max has left the greater New York area, and finds himself in Sao Paulo, Brazil, working as private security. The story of Max's descent from vengeful, leather-jacket wearing detective roaming the alleys of New York to the broken, shaven-headed man out for justice on unfamiliar streets far from home is at the center of Max Payne 3. In addition to Max's classic shoot-dodge moves, there is now a combination of Natural Motion's Euphoria character behavior system and Bullet Time to enhance his moves. Partners and sidekicks will play a large role in this game to help Max in his quest for vengeance.

The Good

  • Tight, terrific gunplay intensified by bullet time and hard-hitting violence  
  • Great writing, voice acting, and cutscene presentation  
  • Detailed environments that get destroyed in spectacular fashion  
  • Impactful sound design  
  • Fun, chaotic multiplayer. 

The Bad

  • Max's shootdodge maneuver is sometimes frustratingly ineffective. 

Like it or not, times change. When Max Payne last appeared in a game in 2003, he blasted his way through countless enemies with reckless abandon, aided by his signature ability to slow time and deal graceful death. Today, reflecting modern sensibilities and perhaps his own age, Max takes things slower and makes judicious use of a new cover mechanic. Yet the addition of this contemporary element doesn't mean that Max Payne 3 plays like every other third-person shooter. Far from it. With its gripping narrative, brutal violence, and fantastic implementation of Max Payne's bullet-time ability, this is a distinctive and outstanding game through and through, and it's easily a worthy successor to the Max Payne games that preceded it.

Max Payne 3 has far more sunlight and color than earlier Max Payne games, but the menaces Max faces here are at least as dark as those he's faced before. The locales Max has to gun his way into or out of are alive with authenticity and detail. Nightclubs throb with dance music and light shows; children play soccer in the favelas; run-down hotels are packed with leftover junk from their earlier days of luxury. And it's not all tropical locations and bad Hawaiian shirts for Max Payne here; a few great flashbacks that take place in Hoboken, New Jersey, reflect the snowy weather and urban atmosphere of earlier Max Payne games, as well as Max's previous fashion sensibilities, and connect his new life with his old one.

Max's vulnerability, and the feeling of danger that accompanies it, makes combat much more nerve-racking than it was in earlier Max Payne games, but it does come with a downside: Max's signature shootdodge has suffered. You can still leap through the air in slow motion like a John Woo action hero, attempting to blow your foes away before you land, but because your enemies also make good use of cover, there's a good chance some of them won't be vulnerable to your airborne assault, and as you get up from the ground after a shootdodge, you're something of a sitting duck. The result is that you may end up using shootdodge from time to time not because it's a particularly effective tactic but because, risks be damned, it just looks so cool. 


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