Max Payne 3 Review

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Max Payne was a game-changer. It introduced cinematic style and complex, multi-dimensional characters to gaming and revolutionised third-person shooters in the process. Since then, the genre has been taken to a whole new level with games like Gears of War Uncharted. The onus of developing the long-awaited third instalment now falls on the capable shoulders of Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto), but linear shooters isn’t quite their forte, so it was interesting to see how they coped with being in the unfamiliar role of underdog.

Off the bat, Rockstar has done a fantastic job on the character of Max Payne, from the voice work and making you feel for him and his predicament, to the realism with which he is rendered on-screen. Every movement is life-like, from stumbling into cover to lunging into a shoot-dodge. He looks and moves every bit like the alcoholic, unfit ex-cop he is. Bullet time, the signature Max Payne feature that lets you slow time down, in concert with a cover mechanic and the physics engine makes for some thrilling gunplay. And that’s great because Max Payne 3 basically comes down to advancing from one shootout to the next, separated by frequent cut scenes that move the story forward. There isn’t much gameplay variety, and you will miss that from time to time, but the great pacing does well to minimise that sentiment.
Much of the game plays out in Brazil, and Rockstar deserves kudos for creating some insanely detailed and atmospheric locations that reflect the affluence and the poverty of Sao Paolo. Max also sports a very different look than we’re used to, but there are some things that haven’t changed. You’ll still need painkillers to heal Max; there’s no regenerating health. And while cover is an option, this game is designed as a run-and-gun shooter, so you’re always encouraged to approach it as such. There are a few annoyances in there, but they do little to sully the overall experience.
Bullet time and the shoot-dodge (which initiates Bullet time when you lunge in either direction) are insanely fun to use and the brutal final kill cam is the icing on the cake that makes the 12-hour campaign a blast to play. Once you’re done with the story, the Arcade mode lets you approach the campaign more as a sport, scoring you for kills and a stylish approach. What really made us sit up and take notice though was online multiplayer. This isn’t the half-baked multiplayer we saw in GTAIV, but a deep and complex take on the Max Payne universe that’s just as fun (at times even more) than the single-player mode.
The two main modes of multi-player are Payne Killer and Gang Wars. In Payne Killer, one player plays as Max, while the other is his buddy Passos. Strong and better equipped, their goal is to survive, while every other player guns for them. Kill either of them, and you assume their identity. Gang Wars takes the cake though – a long-drawn battle spread out over five mini-games with shifting objectives. It’s been done before, but it will keep you coming back thanks to the way you can personalise your experience with wagersand vendettas against other players.
Max Payne 3 doesn’t change the game, but it’s just about as good as the best third-person shooters out there. Its polished and action-packed campaign, coupled with the surprisingly addictive multiplayer, makes this an instant hit for Rockstar.
What we liked: Fun gunbattles, great presentation, addictive multiplayer and one of the best looking games around.
What we didn’t: Campaign is slightly one-dimensional.
Rating: 4.5/5.
Price: Rs 2,499 (Xbox 360, PS3), Rs 999 (PC)

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TechFond - Latest Technology News & Analysis | Innovation | Startups | Reviews: Max Payne 3 Review
Max Payne 3 Review
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