Max Payne 3 Review
With savage gunplay and an absorbing personal story, Max Payne 3 is an exhilarating shooter that grabs hold of you and doesn't let go.
- Tight, terrific gunplay intensified by bullet time and hard-hitting violence
- Great writing, voice acting, and cutscene presentation
- Detailed environments that get destroyed in spectacular fashion
- Impactful sound design
- Fun, chaotic multiplayer.
- Max's shootdodge maneuver is sometimes frustratingly ineffective.
Like it or not, times change. When Max Payne last appeared in a game in 2003, he blasted his way through countless enemies with reckless abandon, aided by his signature ability to slow time and deal graceful death. Today, reflecting modern sensibilities and perhaps his own age, Max takes things slower and makes judicious use of a new cover mechanic. Yet the addition of this contemporary element doesn't mean that Max Payne 3 plays like every other third-person shooter. Far from it. With its gripping narrative, brutal violence, and fantastic implementation of Max Payne's bullet-time ability, this is a distinctive and outstanding game through and through, and it's easily a worthy successor to the Max Payne games that preceded it.
Wherever you go, there you are. It's a truth Max Payne knows better than anyone. Fleeing his New York life to take a job working security for a wealthy family in Sao Paulo, the hard-drinkin', pill-poppin' Max finds that his demons come along for the ride. Though the details of the plot add up to your typical story of conspiracy and corruption, of the rich and powerful preying on the poor and helpless to become even more rich and powerful, the writing, acting, and presentation elevate this tale well above a boilerplate video game crime story.
It's hard to stay ambivalent once you see the horrors being suffered by the innocent here, and you'll likely want to see Max's quest for vengeance through to its conclusion just as badly as he does. Max reveals a complexity here not seen in earlier games, as he hits rock bottom and must either stay there or face his demons head-on and make himself anew. Other characters, too, reveal a surprising humanity. You might be tempted to write off Marcelo, the youngest brother in the wealthy Branco dynasty Max is hired to protect, as the shallow playboy he often appears to be. But in moments of disarming honesty, he reveals to Max a depth that lies beneath the facade he presents to the world.
Cutscenes use multiple moving panels to pay homage to the graphic-novel-style storytelling of previous games without feeling beholden to it, and the considered use of blurring and other visual effects echo Max's state of mind, perhaps making you feel as if you're the one who has been hitting the bottle a little too hard. James McCaffrey does an excellent job reprising his role as Max, bringing a wider range of emotions to a character who has previously often been one-note. The writing is terrific; Max's world-weary wit is as bone-dry as ever, and as he ruminates on things like loyalty and loss, much of what he says has the sound of hard-earned wisdom. Subtle touches throughout the game make Max seem convincingly alive, such as the complex look that crosses over his face at the start of one stage when bloodshed seems inevitable; it's as if he dreads what's coming, but does his best to mentally prepare himself for it.
Max Payne 3 has far more sunlight and color than earlier Max Payne games, but the menaces Max faces here are at least as dark as those he's faced before. The locales Max has to gun his way into or out of are alive with authenticity and detail. Nightclubs throb with dance music and light shows; children play soccer in the favelas; run-down hotels are packed with leftover junk from their earlier days of luxury. And it's not all tropical locations and bad Hawaiian shirts for Max Payne here; a few great flashbacks that take place in Hoboken, New Jersey, reflect the snowy weather and urban atmosphere of earlier Max Payne games, as well as Max's previous fashion sensibilities, and connect his new life with his old one.
Though some things may have changed for Max Payne, one thing that hasn't changed is his ability to blow bad guys away by the hundreds. Three aiming options for the campaign let you customize the gunplay to your liking: hard lock takes much of the challenge out of things, snapping on to the nearest enemy; soft lock sticks to enemies once you've got them in your sights; and free aim leaves it all up to you. Regardless of the option you choose, shooting in Max Payne 3 feels terrific. This is partially due to the game's unflinching violence. Bullets visibly tear through bodies, leaving holes that spurt blood as your enemies die. Each encounter with a group of enemies ends with a bullet cam, showing your final, fatal bullet soaring through the air and striking its target in grisly detail, and giving you the option to pump excessive, unnecessary ordnance into the poor bastard. It's a cathartic and satisfying way to end each firefight.
Bullet time, the defining mechanic of the Max Payne series, lends gunplay a cinematic intensity that remains exhilarating from the start of the substantial campaign until its finish some 12 hours or so later. When bullet time is enabled, you can see every pellet that bursts forth from a shotgun, every bullet that whizzes past your head. Windows break apart beautifully; concrete shatters to reveal the rebar underneath; and all other sorts of believable destruction to the world around you takes place as you and your enemies try to gun each other down.
Bullet time slows your enemies down significantly, letting you aim and fire faster than they can respond. But despite the significant edge this gives you over your foes, they are no pushovers. They make smart use of flanking tactics, so you need to stay aware of what's happening on all sides, and, yes, you need to make effective use of cover. There are still situations aplenty where an old-fashioned head-on approach can get the job done, but by and large, you need to approach combat in Max Payne 3 a bit more defensively than in past games.
Max's vulnerability, and the feeling of danger that accompanies it, makes combat much more nerve-racking than it was in earlier Max Payne games, but it does come with a downside: Max's signature shootdodge has suffered. You can still leap through the air in slow motion like a John Woo action hero, attempting to blow your foes away before you land, but because your enemies also make good use of cover, there's a good chance some of them won't be vulnerable to your airborne assault, and as you get up from the ground after a shootdodge, you're something of a sitting duck. The result is that you may end up using shootdodge from time to time not because it's a particularly effective tactic but because, risks be damned, it just looks so cool.
I bought this game for 20 euros and regret it... I don't like this game whatsoever. It's just lacking somehow. Wish I bought a different game. Oh well..
So basically in these comments I see the same 3 people liking all the comments of people who came to say the reviewer gave the terrible score because only they can have an opinion and no one else.
Glad I rented it. I gave it a try for two hours, suffered through that. Stupid. No comparison to a quality game experience like Halo 4 or Far Cry 3. I am very surprized to see such a rating for this rotten game.
dont waste your time watching the dark night rises again get drunk and play this game!! this game is rowdy !! best $14 ever spent thankyou walmart
Awful review for an awful game. Mind-numbingly repetitive, monotonous gameplay, stale, inane dialogue and a threadbare, uninteresting storyline makes Max Payne 3 a slog after the first 45 minutes. Reviews such as Petit's should come with a disclaimer: GameSpot lacks even an ounce of journalistic integrity and tailors its reviews to the highest bidder. To allow such a positive review for such a terrible game, you must either be incompetent or corrupt - in GameSpot's case I'd venture to guess they're the latter. A lot people pay $60 for games, Carolyn Petit. That's a lot of money for most of them. Just something to keep in mind.
@Legends_Living Yes, it's almost like the rewiever has *gasp* an opinion :O
@Stebsis Idiot, of course everyone can have his/her own opinions, but this is a professional critic in one of the major online gaming review websites in the world, able to influence people and determine the success/failure of a game. So if they just choose anyone with an opinion to write a review for them, how incredibly stupid is that? And I do agree with Legends_Living, pretty boring, draggy, and in short an awful Max Payne game with an uninteresting story. Only thing it has going for it is graphics, sound and voice acting but that's about it.
I read the review, I loved the previous iterations, weighed up the pros and cons, and I LOVE this game...
The reviewer, even being a "professional" as stated above, is giving her OPINION! SHE LIKED IT and thus spread her thoughts. Apologies for her not saying, "I Liked this game, but for the sake of the hating trolls, 3/10..."
The game itself is very good, but still full with bugs. So far I'm right at the boat chase. At this point the game got stuck a few times, which is not good. So far happened 4 times already that I was in cover with Max and he couldn't get out of cover, couldn't shoot, like the whole controller stopped working (and no, the controller wasn't turn off). Now I died in the boat chase and when I reload the checkpoint it's stuck looking at a cabin with the sun behind it, but I can't do anything at all. I don't see Max or anything, just the scenery until I die forcing me to start the level all over.
I really loved the game as long as it worked, but the last bug stopped me from playing. Really bad, the game would've been superb if it didn't bug on me so many times in such a small time...
@waterbuffel I experienced zero bugs. Not one...the game is just bad...and I played on PC. Are you playing a pirated copy?
this game is real shit!!! but how disappointing this was not included in game of the year!!! really!! fuck you gamespot
This game is awful... I try to play and get shot as little as possible... The bad thing about that is that it puts you in the worst spot possible every time after guys run in and it takes 2 full seconds until you get complete control of max....I felt like I was being scripted through levels... As in other max paynes there were hidden meds or meds as you go (you could find meds if you needed health), not in this one.... it gives you the meds your have.... I think theres only 2 a level (I'm not sitting through playing each level of this crapfest)
The levels are very small and made smaller by cut scenes... (Seriously, cant you just let me go) There is a cut scene every 2 minutes... which makes the game longer but boring...
The controls are extremely sloppy... I felt like half the time max did the complete opposite thing of what I told him to do....
No matter where you shoot people its still a body shot... There are slow mo scenes where you will shoot the guy in the head but it still goes through the scene of the guy getting shot in the body (The very first level this happens and where the bullet hole goes into the bad guy it would have to go through the lady your trying to save....
You cant shoot through easy stuff... If there is something flimsy in front of you that you should be able to shoot through it will not... Extremely sloppy! (And guys will be there shooting you while you cant shoot through this object...)
You shoot guy 5 times in the head and they still get up and kill you... In other versions you shot them in the head they were dead... In this one sometimes you shoot them5 times and then turn your attention to another threat... Meanwhile the threat you shot 5 times gets up and shoots you (IT DOESNT MATTER IF YOU SHOOT THEM IN THE HEAD)
It gives you little awards for groin shots, which is nice... But at the same time I dont understand... If it doesnt matter where you shoot them why give little awards... You shoot them in the groin it is just as effective as shooting them in the head (Or for god sake the leg, which if you clip them in the leg its a realistic animation, but then they get up like nothing happened!!! DUMB!!!)
I did not like this game very much.
To many damn cutscenes and repetitive gameplay. Hell, I need a cut scene to climb a damn ladder.
Good thing I brought this for only $20 on black Friday.
A ten year hiatus between Terminator 2 & Terminator 3...epic fail! A ten year hiatus between Max Payne 2 & Max Payne 3...epic win!
@SkullsnChains77 Actually it's epic fail as well
Love the game, but this review is a bit off. I thought the dialogue was pretty terrible at times. As if the writers were just trying desperately to be a bit more risque with it. "This place has more smoke and mirrors than a strip club locker room" was pretty terrible, yet a good example. Half the time you grab a set of painkillers Max has something stupid to say, such as "Hur hur I don't think they'll need these anymore -- CUZ I KILLED THEM HUR HUR!"
The soft lock although very useful (I guess I'm terrible at the game) is pretty frustrating at times. Sometimes it locks onto some enemy too far away rather than the one you're already trying to fix your crosshair onto. Also at times it's pretty frustrating how it'll seem like you pumped a full clip into an enemy's chest, he falls down, you assume he's dead and move onto the next guy. First guy gets back up and pulls off a clean headshot on you.
Anyways, I do feel the good really outweighed the bad, but I had to point out the finer grievances I had.
This game is so boring. Story line is terrible, its basically a linear version of grand theft auto with the ability to fly in the air whilst shooting. First two Max Payne games were brilliant. This was a let down. Problem is anything rock star release gets an automatic 9/10 on this website.
@mmarab say what? this game is insane! have you even played the first two? wtf dude
@Deniss99 @Kryptonbornson Denis of course I have played the first two, otherwise I wouldn't have said it. Although if I hadn't played the first two, its irrelevant anyway. This game is repetitive, mindless and its score (9/10) is a joke.
Compare it to something like MGS4 which got 10/10, this game got 9/10.... really!! MGS4 as an overall game is only 1 point better than this... Hmm I think that is ridiculous. Lets be honest all rock star games are the same, GTA, L.A Noire, RDR etc, The core elements of all their games are just exactly the same. Played one, you played them all. This is just my opinion, I was just sharing it.
A. how long is the average campaign in MP3 ?
B. I have never played a MP title......does it compare to Stranglehold (if any of you have played that game)?
Picked this up for sale at Wal-Mart bundled with Liberty City Episodes for $20 during a promo. Really glad I did. From what I've played so far the game is pretty clunky. Bullet Time is really the only saving grace here, Max moves and shoots in traditional Rockstar clunk fashion. Why do all Rockstar characters move like they have sticks up their asses?
Grab this game for $20 if you see it. It's worth the $20 for sure. $60 for this game is a complete ripoff.
@GorezoneResin I bet it's alot easier to be honest at $20 no? You don't have that buyer's remorse for the extra $40 wasted you need to justify.
@Kryptonbornson That's exactly it. Buying the game at $20 let's me enjoy it for what it is, which imo isn't the blockbuster triple-a title everyone expected.
@GorezoneResin Max Payne 3 sucks, but I guess we're in agreement about the principle with good games. In the case with awesome games like Rage and Bulletstorm that oddly as good as they are, don't feel worth the $60 price tag. I suppose a mediocre game like MP3 wouldn't seem as bad at a discount.
I haven't played previous max Paynes so what I feel about this game is solely based on its own merits...that being said this game is absolutely incredible and my biggest complaint is the first few levels do get repetitive with how it starts up (but once you get further into the game you realize that the reason everything went sour is a certain individual) so that takes care of itself and I have always been more into a cover system than jumping and dodging bullets so that didn't hurt my experience. The only thing I didn't like was how if you weren't paying complete attention you could easily lose track of the story (especially with the two later factions as they are very similar) but once you think about it they are easy to tell apart and its all fine in the end
I have found that the best option for shoot-dodge is one of two things...either that last guy is getting really annoying by bunkering down in cover so you leap beside his cover revealing him or leaping from cover to cover to get a better angle on another guy (first time playing a max Payne game and I have to say I absolutely loved it)
I really enjoyed how bullet suppression works and how little time they give you to aim. Often you have to spray some guys and wing 'em or scare them to have just enough time to headshot a guy. Other times you go for the quick shot and knock down the guy to take him out of the picture for a moment. The learning progression of going from trying to headshot real quick and duck down to controlling the enemy fire was very enjoyable. WHo needs slow motion!
(story was cool to)