MMO News, Reviews & Opinions
MMO News, Reviews & Opinions
- Written by Sm1tty Sm1t
In a world where it’s trendy to be “the good guy”, Max Payne is a bottom-feeder. Having brutally lost his wife and daughter, Max has plunged himself into alcoholism and drug-addiction to escape the realities of the world. No longer an officer of the law, Max finds himself drowning in local pubs to dull the pain that memory keeps from scarring over. To be frank, Max is a piece of shit; he lives in the gutter and breathes only to continue his addiction.
In Max Payne 3 he continues his descent into nothingness as he escapes his life by retreating to Brazil as a bodyguard only to again be plunged into a crossfire. This ‘escape’ to Brazil is forced as Max ends up in a firefight with the wrong people, killing the son of an important ‘businessman’ who is known for making people disappear, which begins the first of many plot questions: if Max is so self-destructive, why would he be concerned about repercussions from a barroom brawl gone awry?
Nevertheless, after using some connections Max ends up in Brazil protecting a well-to-do family of a millionaire which includes the stereotypical playboy brother, trophy wife, and her down-to-earth sister. Repeated attempts are made to kidnap one or all of the trio and, despite the army of bodyguards the millionaire has at his disposal, Max consistently finds himself in situations where he’s outmanned while trying to protect the family. Even after multiple attempts, the family continues to flaunt their money and status publicly at bars and parties, each time narrowly avoiding capture or death which causes players to ask, “Why?” Why would they continue to put themselves in harm’s way if it was obvious (and it was) that armed men are trying to kidnap them?
Throughout the game Max continuously picks up and uses painkillers as a form of regaining health lost during battle. Each painkiller pickup spurs a one-liner that further alienates players, driving home the point that Max is an antihero and not someone to be looked up to. Then, miraculously, Max becomes a better person. Though still dependent on the pills, Max seems to have some sort of epiphany that instantly causes his demeanor to change. He goes from gritty, dirty antihero to a ‘changed man’. It’s as if, for unexplained reasons, players are expected to look to Max with praise, as if giving a silent nod to the internal turmoil that he’s seemingly overcome.
Despite the multiple story questions and plot holes, the shooting mechanics (the foundation of the entire series) are solid and enjoyable. Max Payne 3 still utilizes ‘bullet-time’, used to slow down time and give Max an opportunity to pile ammo into an enemy’s face. Despite the fun of slowing down time, not much has been added to bring the mechanic into a new age. The meter (controlling the length of time you’re slowed) seems to deplete faster, but it’s still the bullet-time you remember and love.
Max Payne 3 is a cover-based shooter and even with the addition of bullet-time (particularly useful if you find yourself in wide-open spaces) Max needs to stick to cover or you’ll find a loading screen in your future. Unlike other games released recently, the main protagonist doesn’t take kindly to bullets. After only a few shots you’ll be dropped -- and God help you if an enemy scores a headshot. The resulting death screen features Max Payne with a gaping hole showing where the bullet penetrated creating one of the most disgustingly satisfying (or rage inducing) ‘Game Over’ screens to date.
There are plenty of guns to pick up during combat, from assault rifles to shotguns and even RPG’s. Max’s “roll-and-grab” maneuver is satisfying when, during combat, he somersaults, grabs a weapon, then finishes the pack of nameless henchmen that constantly come in waves. It’s those little additions that create worthwhile gun battles in what could have been mundane combat, but instead add a layer of depth to push players on.
The single player campaign isn’t the only option to players, either. A multiplayer mode has been implemented, but to the detriment of the community it was initially rife with cheaters. Thankfully Rockstar instituted a ‘cheaters only’ lobby, forcing those caught in the act to stew in the filth of their peers. Aside from that, Max Payne 3 treats multiplayer much like most shooters have approached it, providing players with unlockable equipment and skills as they progress from level-to-level. Also in-line with modern-day shooters is the appearance of varying game modes, including those that add a layer of story. It’s a wonderful concept, putting motivation behind wanting to virtually shoot anything that moves, but feels misguided. Do players really need a reason beyond ‘winning’ to spend time in the multiplayer?
As a gritty, self-proclaimed ‘noire’ title (another debate altogether), Max Payne 3 is a decent shooter that provides a modest amount of fun. Unfortunately, for those that venture in looking for a deep story to immerse themselves, more questions are created than answers. Still, the gameplay is solid and as you expend thousands of bullets into deserving enemies you’ll find that if you can ignore the storyline you will certainly enjoy your time with Max. Unfortunately, story is the hook that separates the murky-water that is shooters and allows players to become connected on a deeper level, and Max Payne 3 just doesn’t have that.
Overall Score: 6.5 out of 10
Disclaimer: This game was provided by Rockstar for review purposes