Plus XP

The Next Level In Gaming

To be honest I was dreading writing this review almost as much as I was dreading the game itself coming out. I saw the previews and my inner fanboy came out, mostly he was saying oh God! Max Payne is having a midlife crisis on top of all the shit he’s been through in his poor poor life. Call me conservative, but I had always hoped the MP3 would be taking place in NY again, the darkness and the snow, the rain and bleak surroundings being the perfect setting for an noir shooter. But we must all move with the times like it or not, everything changes for better or worse and we must accept innovation. Does it work? Erch…

So Max has now moved to Brazil to take a job as a high paid bodyguard for a family of rich socialites who spend most of their time partying and not much else usual. With the old money tied up with the three brothers of this unhappy little family, Max looks set to enjoy his semi-retirement drinking and whoring until his heart gives out. Except of course that doesn’t work out, organised gangs target the family and tits go up in the blink of an eye. It’s up to Max with his indestructibility and reaction times of some kind of alien on speed to solve the case, rescue the hostages and get the hell out of Brazil.

The Max Payne experience is broken up fairly evenly between its particular brand of storytelling and its definitive use of the bullet time mechanic. Its unsurprising that Max Payne 3′s bullet time is the best I’ve ever seen and the games strongest aspect along with its graphics, despite its awkwardness at times. I found myself hitting the wall annoyingly often despite my best laid dives and slides. It still flows well with the increasing difficulty and franticness that the plot throws at you . The gun fights can feel so intense and exhausting that it shows just how immersing and frustrating the game can be.

The storytelling, one of the most memorable parts of the Max Payne 3 has been drastically changed for MP3, gone are the comics book style cut-scenes and instead we are treated to a trippy irritating in-game cut scenes through Max’s eyes. Flashes of light and distortion used to convey his drunken drug addled self are used far too often and the quality of the dialogue is not as high as in previous games. But that fault plays second fiddle to the main weakness of the game, the plot. Its labyrinthine, confusing and in the end, a wee bit stupid. We take for granted that Max is going to get into a scrape, it’s just his luck but the manner of it, once it becomes clear is frustrating to put it mildly. As the plot tickets I became more and more confused, characters were reintroduced despite having only a short scene at the beginning. Combined with the annoying visuals it can be a real headache at times.

I don’t hate Max Payne 3, it’s no where near as bad as I expected. It was very entertaining, and when we weren’t seeing things through Max vision it was very pretty. But the nature of the beast has changed, and as such should be left well alone. The two sides of the coin that made up this series has had one side eroded while the other polished, which as far as trilogies go is not the worst thing to happen to it but was largely expected. What I’m saying is, it’s a solid game but I hope they don’t make another. Let the poor guy have a holiday and hold onto what’s left of his humanity. We all need to walk into the sunset at some point…



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