Max Payne was an Instant Success when it was first released back in 2003 and people were swayed by its Matrix inspired bullet time action, gritty graphics and comprehensive storytelling using graphic novel inspired ideas, It received critical acclaim by almost every hard-core gamer on the planet. It has been nearly a decade since we last saw Max Payne shoot its way to consoles, in that timeframe it was uncertain whether the franchise had a progressive future and the series was sort of kept at a halt and this made fans impatient and frustrated. But finally a third game was announced later and it has been brought to life by none other than the gargantuan developer Rockstar Games, The mastermind behind Red Dead Redemption and The Overkill Grand Theft Auto series. Well the wait was suffering for most of the fans, but it was definitely worth the wait for Max Payne’s Third outing. Read on for an in-depth analysis.
The game runs on the RAGE (ROCKSTAR ADVANCED GAME ENGINE) engine, developed by Rockstar games, the game looks beautiful, it is a shift from the old corridors and dark grungy streets in the previous Max Payne games to the wide open tropical setting of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The game has an independent Euphoria physics system embedded along with the primary engine for physics and destruction which adds to the beauty of environmental destruction in the game. Bright sunlight, muted greenery, and the semi-rural environments look great and at times photorealistic. The action is explosive and the shards of destruction are plenty. The cut scenes in the game are portrayed in the similar “graphic novel” like previous Max Payne titles; it is a tribute to earlier Max Payne games. The cinematic gunfights look great and add a great depth to the games progression. The game’s violence is extremely horrific; expect to see body shears, lost limbs punctured wounds and so on. But there are few polish issues in the game that could have been neglected considering the game’s long development cycle like frame rate drops at times of heavy gunfights and few texture popping issues. Aside from the minor issues Max Payne 3 is indeed one of the best looking games this year.
The sound in the game is top notch and adds brilliantly to the game’s visuals and storytelling element. The dialogues are great having a cinematic appeal. Explosions and weapon sounds are realistic, for example the assault rifle sounds deadly and is capable of delivering a punishing blow to the opposition. The ambient sounds add to the games tension whether you are casually strolling on the semi-rural plains of Sao Paulo or engaged in a hard core gunfight. Like most Xbox 360 games I would recommend a decent pair of surround headphones as it would be worth the enhanced personal cinematic experience.
The games story mode is lengthy and satisfying; the game looks very different from its predecessors. The closed corridors and dark shadowy alleys are now replaced with the bright heated sunlight and the tropical setting of Sao Paulo (Expect to find varieties of Hula Shirts, no kidding).Max still has his ailments and problems, pills and drugs are a common aspect of Max’s life. Apparently max ditches New York and starts working as a private security detail for a rich and famous businessman Rodrigo Branco. Unfortunately shit hits the fan and Rodrigo’s wife Fabina is kidnapped which leads to a larger turn of events thus laying the foundation for the story. Despite the change of locale the series has not lost its roots. Gangsters, corruption and deception are a coming thing in the game till the end. There is a constant emphasis on Payne and the characterisation is portrayed brilliantly. The Game plays like a standard third person shooter with two main core mechanics added.
Bullet Time and shoot Dodge make a welcoming return to the game and are extensively refined. Master these mechanics and you can shoot your way through the game with ease. The games kill camera tracks the final bullet to its target adding to the explosive action. Also timing the mechanics is a very important aspect. The gunplay is refined; there are plenty of assortments to choose from like pistols, assault rifles and so on. Dual wielding pistols not only have a good aesthetic when bullet timing but also help in tight spots. Overall the weapons feel balanced and accurate. The downside of the game is the excessive use of cut scenes makes the pacing an issue and sometimes feels like too much is happening in too little time. But that is something very minute and can be blurred by the hefty action and gritty story. Overall the gameplay is fun, smooth and has plenty of variations. Now once you are done with the long story you can re-experience the gunfights in the game’s arcade mode. These fan-favourite modes puts one minute on the clock and awards you with additional time for each enemy that you kill. The arcade mode in the game revives the classic “Score Attack” and “New York Minute Mode” from the first two games and refines on it further like adding rewards and points so you can unlock goodies like characters avatars and XP. Overall the experience is engaging, satisfying and rewarding.
In addition to the single player experience the game offers a somewhat added multiplayer experience, it is nothing new or innovative but it offers fun and competitive gameplay for those trigger happy individuals. While Rockstar did refine the brilliant single player experience, they managed to incorporate the shoot dodge elements in the multiplayer as well; I was surprised as I wondered how it would all fit in the multiplayer aspect of the game. This is one of the aspects that make Max Payne 3 an all rounder guns blazing shooter.
In multiplayer you can play with up to 16 people in three different game modes. You can also choose to play either a free-aim or soft-lock aim game within these modes!
Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch are exactly what you think they would be, with many customizable aspects such as loadout/weaponry, character customization, etc. which are all present in each game mode. The gameplay in the mode was a bit chunky to me, and reminded me a lot of the GTA IV multiplayer.
Payne Killer is more so the King-of-the-Hill of Max Payne. Max and Passos, Max’s partner throughout the story, fight for their lives as long as possible. The first killer of the game becomes Max and the first victim becomes Passos. They both get special weapons and abilities to use against the hordes of ‘baddies’, which would be the rest of the people playing that did not become Max or Passos! Everyone that is not Max or his partner are all on the same side, and can only score points by injuring or killing Max and/or Passos, with a bonus for becoming one of the two. Max and Passos earn their XP by killing those that are after them, and the winner is the player who scores the most points throughout the game, doesn’t have to be Max or Passos. I had a great deal of fun with this mode.
Gang Wars is the single player inspired mode that will draw countless players to it. . If you’ve played through and love the story mode you will be drawn to this mode even more so than the other due to the fact that key events from the story are used as an opening for these multiplayer matches. Motion-comics and Max’s iconic narratives are present in this mode as well. Gang wars definitely take the crown within the modes, as I feel it truly reflects Max Payne’s originality brought to multiplayer. The maps, are pretty well skilled themselves. With quality overcoming quantity, it’s not as if you will get tired of the same areas because they are so great! But, if you have a different opinion than I, Rockstar has announced five downloadable map packs being released throughout 2012.I am looking forward to the DLC.
Adrenaline is a difference from the single-player game. You collect it from shooting and killing enemies and looting corpses as you play. Using a Burst costs you adrenaline. Bursts are special abilities like Bullet Time. You earn bursts by building your adrenaline meter. Each burst has three different levels, which basically are just more powerful variations.
Your stamina and health is represented by the character outline in the lower right corner of the screen. Health slowly regenerates and unlike story mode, painkillers are only used as a quick burst of health. Stamina recharges automatically after each use and is used to be able to sprint and roll. Character customization is rewarded to players throughout the six factions that are from the single player story, which were the Comando Sombra, De Marcos, UFE, Tropa Z, Punchinellos, and Cracha Preto.
Max Payne 3 multiplayer is a great addition, but not something that would replace your love for multiplayer classics such as Halo, Call of Duty or Battlefield. With a feel just like Grand Theft Auto, in a Max Payne setting, I guess you can’t go wrong, but the single-player mode of Max Payne 3 is the stand out of this game.
Max Payne 3 was worth the wait, the story is superb, game play is fun and dodging bullets is a blast.
Multiplayer is fairly decent and adds to the overall game. Rockstar games delivered it right this time. This truly is a worthy successor to the previous Max Payne Games. This game is indeed a Must buy.
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