Max Payne 3
Description official description
Max Payne 3 is the third main game in the series and takes place a good few years after the events of the previous entries. Following his work as a DEA agent and a New York City Police Department detective, protagonist Max Payne moves from Hoboken, New Jersey to São Paulo, Brazil. Looking for a new life and to leave his past behind, he works in a private security detail for Rodrigo Branco. When Branco's wife Fabiana is captured by a street gang during a rooftop party, Payne sets out to save her but the events quickly spiral out of control. He still drinks heavily and even though the drawn comic book panels are no longer present, the cut-scenes still incorporate the panel look and now further the story using the in-game engine with the characteristic inner dialogue voice-over and the film noir elements. Halfway through the game Payne also exchanges his typical suit or trench coat for a bearded, short-haired look wearing a shirt. Compared to the previous game and because of the location the visuals are also often much brighter.
The game is played as a third-person shooter where Payne is often outnumbered by enemies. To survive, the series' prime bullet time mechanic is essential. Activating it slows down time and it allows him to jump, dodge, shoot, and lock onto multiple enemies in succession to take them out. Its length is determined by a bar on the right that needs some time to fill up again. While in a grounded position after a jump Max stays in that position and can quickly shoot in any direction. Defeated opponents leave behind weapons that can be exchanged or be emptied for additional ammo. Multiple weapons can be collected and through a radial menu another one can be selected quickly. Payne is also able to dual-wield pistols and he uses shotguns and automatic weapons. The gameplay incorporates a cover mechanic where cover can be sought near virtually any object. From that safe position it is possible to aim and shoot, or jump out. To survive, cover needs to be used constantly and specific body parts such as head shots are often required to dispose of enemies quickly. Health is shown through an outlined figure on the right. As Max gets shot, it fills up red. To avoid dying he has to pick up and swallow painkillers that come in small supplies.
Certain objects in the environment can be examined for clues and flashing buttons can be shot to open doors and gates. For cinematic effect there is a bullet camera that follows the projectile until impact. The player can manually slow down the camera and rotate, and then continue shooting. Not all of the story is told in chronological order. Some parts are played from flashbacks and next to locations such as restaurants, clubs, rooftops, docks, hotels and the favelas, there are sequences where Max shoots from a helicopter or while on a boat racing on a river. Many times cut-scenes seamlessly turn into gameplay scenes. Next to the main objectives the shooting style is rewarded through grind achievements and optional golden gun parts can be collected to form sets. The main scenario is supplemented with an arcade mode, and the New York Minute mode unlocked after completing the game once.
Multiplayer is entirely new to the series. Next to regular deathmatch games it has a Gang Wars team mode based around gaining experience, using perks, defining custom loadouts, etc. The games include variants of capture-and-hold and capture-the-flag. It also incorporates the bullet time mechanic where activating it affects every opponent in the character's line-of-sight. Crews that are set up through Rockstar's Social Club environment can be carried over to different games.
Credits (Xbox 360 version)
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Average score: 85% (based on 63 ratings)
Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 78 ratings with 1 reviews)
At the first sight of this game, the new graphics, textures, shadows, lighting and pounding soundtrack will certainly wow anyone. In regards to weapons, the game realistically only allows three to be carried at a time, but the variety is where it gets good, not only by gun types but some of those have utilities including scopes, flashlights and occasionally suppressors. And speaking of weapons, the combat manoeuvres are a great deal more plentiful and give Max the fighting chance, so far as duck and cover tactics go.
The Story Mode has a generous length, almost as long as the first game, and the flashback chapters that you play also feel nicely in place, not all like the lazy and unimaginative prologues in the second game. The Grindings encourage the player to get creative in killing styles and certainly deliver replay value. And there's even more value where the single-player story mode is complemented with two arcade modes and a multitude of multiplayer options to bring non-stop amusement in this title.
The cutscenes that involve Max Payne's alcoholism and addiction to painkillers were okay the first time, but get repetitive, treating players like they haven't got the point. The dreary messages just aren't teaching any morals or anything you haven't already seen from Max Payne before. What sort of motivation to play the game is that supposed to bring?
While the game does have its fair share of new features, it's lacking in interactive objects such as vending machines and radios and there are only a few televisions. Those are things the game can manage without. But then the one thing Max Payne could have done with is grenades and molotov cocktails, which are only used by enemies. And the only thing that's missing from the game for effective grasp of the gameplay is a tutorial.
The Bottom Line
Who would have thought that Max Payne would make a drastic return after a decade wait from the second title? Rockstar definitely took the Max Payne series to new heights, leaving that Noir Detective style behind in favour of an action-based game that stands out from the rest of the series. When you've gotten the hand of the game mechanics, you may feel like you're playing a Call of Duty Modern Warfare game in third-person. Fair to say, this title revived the series where the second game brought it down. Lessons learned.
Windows · by Kayburt (27432) · 2021
- GameStar (Germany) / GamePro (Germany)
- 2012 - #3 Best Shooter of the Year (Readers' Vote)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Sciere.
Additional contributors: Patrick Bregger.
Game added May 21st, 2012. Last modified December 2nd, 2023.