Published on May 23rd, 2012 | by Charlie1
Review: Max Payne 3
Summary: Charlie takes a look at Max Payne 3, is it any good? read the review to find out!
It’s been almost 9 years since the last Max Payne game (The Fall of Max Payne) and almost 11 years since the first game in the franchise was released. It’s also been almost 4 years since that terrible Mark Wahlburg movie came out that was supposed to be good, but wasn’t. But this is 2012, and now a new Max Payne 3 has come about. Is it as addicting as Max Payne’s painkillers? Is it truly a worthy sequel?
So with the return of James McCaffrey, already you’re looking at the real Max Payne; it wouldn’t be Max without him. The game takes place many years later (around about 2012) where Max is up to his usual duties. Drinking. Taking painkillers. Killing people. The game starts when you learn about Max’s job; protecting the family of the Branco’s, a very wealthy family in the midst of São Paulo. But this story is bound to take a turn of the worst when the family becomes under attack at a party organized by the Branco’s. Fortunately, Max manages to save everybody, but it’s when a few members of the party go to a club that things get real out of hand when Fabiana, the wife of Rodrigo Branco, is kidnapped by the same gang as those from the Branco party. Now Max, with the help of his friend and partner Passos, have to try and get her back before things spiral out of control. But of course, things do spiral out of control (it would be no fun otherwise). The story is very gripping and will be filled with many twists and turns that you never would have seen coming; characters you may like at first may suddenly change your opinions. Playing the game myself, the game impacted me very emotionally. The campaign itself is pretty lengthy; around 12-14 hours competition time, which is what you can really expect from both a Rockstar game and a Max Payne game.
Now with a different developer (since Remedy have given full rights over to Rockstar), some may think that this would mean a different style of gameplay, and surprisingly, Rockstar have tried to keep the game as original as possible. Now what I absolutely love about Max Payne 3 is how simple it is; it’s not like any other shooter of recent days. There’s no level up system, there’s no new skills you earn throughout the game, there are no perks, no weapon attachments; there’s none of that. This is pure, classic shooter, and that’s why I really appreciate Rockstar for this game. They kept the first two games’ simple concept and didn’t make it worse; in fact they made it better. Back in the day, Bullet Time was marked down as a “gimmick” after the release of Max Payne 2 due to multiple other games following the same concept. Max Payne 3 see’s the return of bullet time, and looks even better than ever. Max Payne 3 combines the way bullet time regenerates, by either killing enemies (which is what Max Payne 1 did) and just by regenerating at random moments (which felt like what Max Payne 2 seemed to do more so).
Max Payne 3 also see’s the return of the health regeneration system, where your health regenerates by consuming painkillers (hence why Max is addicted to them). Each 1 packet of painkillers will replenish a certain amount of health approximately 50% of your health back. The other side to painkillers is that if you have some painkillers on you, and an enemy has taken all your life, you go into a “Last Man Standing” phase, where if you kill them before you either hit the ground or before they hit you, you will take those painkillers and kill them with 1 shot (it depends on the enemy that if they die in one shot). That’s pretty much the gameplay side of things; clearly Rockstar haven’t changed the gameplay majorly which I am very thankful for, because if they did, it wouldn’t be Max Payne; well I mean it would be ‘Max Payne’ but not “Max Payne”. Although I suppose they have changed one side of the gameplay; in the previous two games, you could carry an arsenal of guns and essentially ended up as a one man army. Max Payne 3 makes things realistic, where Max’s limitations are somewhere along the lines of 2 pistols and 1 main gun, like a shot gun or a rifle; I feel like that if Rockstar had no limitations to what Max could carry, it just wouldn’t feel right for this day and age. Something completely new to the franchise is the way the screen likes to jump about and throw weird effects at you. At first glance, I thought to myself “this is going to annoy me when playing the game” but surprisingly, it really added to the game; it made your head slightly hurt, but a good kind of hurt that made you want to keep playing (don’t worry. It’s not a painful kind of hurt either). However there is one thing some Max Payne fans may be disappointed with; the story is no longer told in comic strips. Whilst scene transitions are shaped like comic strips, all cut scenes are made with pure in-game footage, something Rockstar has pretty much done with most of their games. I was fine with that to be honest; no way did Rockstar need to change their tradition.
The game has it’s own set of collectables. The first collectables are golden guns, where you need to find pieces of a golden gun, and when you find all those pieces, your guns will show up gold if you pick it up throughout the campaign. The other collectables are ‘clues’. Even though they don’t impact majorly throughout the campaign, they really help to get a feel for the Max Payne universe. And to make life a lot easier, Rockstar have made it so that you can go into any level at any difficulty whilst ultimately starting at any checkpoint throughout a level. It’s the complete package.
The campaign doesn’t stop there; oh no no no. Rockstar have included a brand new mode called “New York Minute” where you are given 1 minute on the clock to complete the level. Impossible you say? Well furthermore, you can earn some extra time by killing enemies, and the actual aim of the mode is to not complete the game in a minute, but to turn that minute to a higher time by defeating enemies and getting through the level as quickly as you can. But if you die, you have to start all over again. I learned that the hard way. This is definitely an enjoyable mode, and with leaderboards, you can have even more fun with it. You can have even more fun with it when you can choose what Max Payne look you want to go for, including the very original Sam Lake look (the creator of Max Payne). And the fun still doesn’t stop there, because if you manage to complete each chapter in “New York Minute”, you’ll unlock the hardcore mode to it. And if that still wasn’t enough, then there’s also a “score attack” mode, where you’re required to complete a chapter and earn the highest score possible. The best part about all of these modes is that they count towards your multiplayer level of the game.
Speaking of which, we move onto the final portion of this review: the multiplayer. Now let me set the record straight here; the multiplayer isn’t brilliant, but it’s certainly a great addition to Max Payne. The multiplayer uses 2 sets of servers for multiplayer; those that like to use “Soft Lock” (where your aim slightly hinders towards an enemy) and those that like to use “Free Aim” (where you need to aim at the enemies yourself completely). Unlike most multiplayer games where you’re given a whole list of modes to play on, Rockstar makes you work for those new modes, where you’re required to complete what are called “Grinds” (little challenges of sorts) before you can unlock them. They’re relativity simple grinds, like kill 50 people to unlock a new set of modes etc, but you get other grinds that will unlock new weapons, character customization items and even some bonus experience. You need to remember that this isn’t Call of Duty; Rockstar literally make you work for new things, which I really appreciate them doing because most games with multiplayer just don’t do this; it’s all “oh here’s all the playlists. Go play them”.
Now I will admit, I was one of the people who was doubtful about “Bullet Time” being in multiplayer, and I honestly thought it couldn’t work. The way it works in multiplayer is that you build up your meter by killing other enemies. You can then enter bullet time with people in your field of view, slowing down everyone in your view. Now I can see how Rockstar believed it could work, and in most cases it does. But there are moments it gets rather annoying when so many people are just wasting their bullet time counter and when everything just keeps slowing down pointlessly. Not to mention this feature is slightly bugged; you might be hidden in cover out of somebody’s FOV and yet everything will still slow down for you. Really that should not count.
The playlists that are available first hand are Rookie Team Deathmatch, Rookie Deathmatch (consider this Rookie Free-For-All), Team Deathmatch and Deathmatch. You should pretty much get the jest on what to expect from these modes. Each match lasts 10 minutes and you’re required to vote from 1 of three maps (I always liked the idea that we get to choose the map). The problem here is that all the multiplayer maps are pretty much that of the single player locations you visit throughout the campaign. Rockstar should have come up with brand new ones to keep the game feeling fresh throughout.
Other playlists you can unlock are those such as “Payne Killer” where everybody is against each other at first. The first two people to kill somebody become Max Payne and Passos. It is then when the entire game is against only those two, so yes you could have a match of 2 against 6. Now it might sound a little rough, but fortunately, if you’re either Max or Passos, you not only have more health, but you start off with 2 packets of painkillers. The winner of this mode is the person who did the most hits to the enemy whether they were Max Payne/Passos or if they were just one of the enemies. It’s definitely a unique playlist, one that I’m sure many developers may use in their games.
Another game mode that you can unlock is “Gang Wars”. This consists of 5 different rounds (or chapters in this case) which vary what needs to be done. Chapters can vary from a team having to defend checkpoints whilst the other team tries to capture them, or both teams are fighting it out to claim turf on a map, or one team has to try and place bombs whilst the other team defends and tries to defuse them; ultimately, this playlist will take up a lot of your time, but it’s good to see a lot of variation. Other modes include Large Team Deathmatch and Large Deathmatch. When you think about it, the only type of game modes available are merely Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Gang Wars and Payne Killer, except with higher difficulty types of these modes. That’s not really enough, and Rockstar should really have included many modes which other shooters seem to be including. Perhaps these modes may be included in future DLC. With all this in mind, the multiplayer can feel a little shabby in moments, but who’s to say that stops you from having a great time?
The game does come with a couple of bugs however; there was one moment when I paused the game only for it to resume with Max and Passos falling through the map endlessly. To make matters worse, it was during a Bullet Time moment, meaning everything happened so slowly.
Max Payne 3 is what a Max Payne game should be all about. It tells a fantastic story with fantastic characters featuring fantastic voice acting (lots of fantastic there) but with the shabby multiplayer, it lets the game down a little bit, but not by much.