"Dime Store Angel of Death" slaughtering ...one bullet at a time - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
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"Dime Store Angel of Death" slaughtering ...one bullet at a time

Reviewed on PC

After being fired from “New York’s finest” Max appears to have picked up drinking to pass his free time and fallen to pill addiction. A friend offers him a private security job in South America for the rich Branco family. But you already know these facts already, let’s bite into the game…


STORY

The story is a dark exciting thriller but at times it does feel a bit clichéd. It’s a tale of betrayal, corruption, and redemption presented in a neo-noir style rather than the plain “film noir” that we have come to know in the previous ones. But this is not necessarily a bad decision, it has its strengths and weaknesses. It’s easy to see how some movies have influenced the style of some scenes found in the game (eg: Elite Squad, City of God, and Man on Fire etc.).

The story is not delivered in the pages of a graphic novel but instead you have stylised cutscenes that jar and shake and distort and split. While these produce a quite unique look to the game it may also be likely to irritate a few players out there. In addition these “effects” also reflects Max’s psyche, it is noticeable that each time he sips a drink, the distortions get more violent. It is known.

Another thing some players will most likely not be fond of is that the game has a lot of cutscenes in between those parts where you fill people with bullet holes, especially the when they make Max pull out his sidearm instead of the awesome Assault Rifle you just picked up. And a 5 second scene for opening doors and for pushing buttons may cause some level of distress to certain players too.


WRITING

The writing of the dialogues/monologues is surprising well done by Rockstar Studios, but is in no way close to the complexity of the writing done by Sam Lake of Remedy, this may just be my opinion but the complex metaphor laden lines of MP1 and MP2 surpass the work done here. But Max is still pretty much Max, only more cynical and glum. But I will admit most lines of Max from MP3 are straightforward but hilarious nonetheless, especially the introduction of an interesting feature - Max says a few words after picking up painkillers.

“I’d have felt worse taking someone’s medication if everybody in that place hadn’t been trying to kill me.”


GRAPHICS

Max Payne 3’s graphics powered by the RAGE engine look impressive, and the Euphoria based physics look greater than ever, after seeing this I don’t think I can go back to the old school Havok Ragdoll physics. The amount of effort put into the environment and the little clutter objects is amazing, each room in a level looks real, it tells you a story of its previous occupants. I also noticed the little details they added for great effect, as each mission advances its easy to note Max’s sweat on his clothes, and the really cool “dynamic normal maps” (?) it is seen as Max moves, take note of the folds and wrinkles at the back of his shirt move too, I found this to be quite a nice touch. And of course the bullets punching the faces of your foes, ripping their flesh and spraying blood on the walls and the floor in Bullet-time are also breathtakingly awesome visuals... if you are into that sort of thing.

 


GAMEPLAY

 

The gameplay is Max Payne 3’s strongest point, apart from the character of Max of course. It’s safe to say Max Payne has reclaimed his throne (the TPS Throne). Max Payne 3 uses the old school third person camera, not the over-the-shoulder one that we see too often. I will try to break up the gameplay into chunks knowledge.

Play-style

On easier difficulties it’s definitely playable in the run-and-gun of old, but it is possible to do it on Hard mode too but the enemies get dangerously accurate further into the game while taking cover only when you need to gather your thoughts, but keep in mind there is no regenerative health like most games, you will need to collect painkillers to keep you alive and numb at the same time. By holding the Right-click (Left trigger) it is possible to enter a “zoom” mode where he sacrifices movement speed for more accurate shots, this is a feature found in many modern games.
Players can also use cover and fire behind them, but staying in cover for too long allows the incredibly advanced AI enemies to pull flanking manoeuvres, I once got flanked on both sides by angry shotgun wielding paramilitary folk, but it was nothing a good ol’ shootdoge backwards can’t fix.

Bullet-Time

Bullet-Time is simply amazing, after MP3 was released on consoles I had to play MP2 to comfort myself to deal with the 15 day “delay” and it made me recall how awesome the slo-mo dodges and kills really were. And so when I finally did get to play MP3 I was still blown away. In its third iteration it is fitted with all the new technology advancements such as the new physics engine and its reaction to bullets and projectiles just make this the visually amazing. I can’t express how great it looked to see enemies react to each bullet.

The Bullet-Time killcams are back, like after you dispatch the last enemy in the area time slows down, and it allows you to slow it down even further and also gives you the ability to just carelessly shoot more bullets at the corpse… in Bullet-Time.

Shootdodges are back too, these nifty moves allow Max to jump through the air and deliver justice to wrongdoers in John Woo style. But with each shootdodge Max grunts as he jumps and he grunts as he lands, his old age is starting to show and he takes longer to stand up after hitting the ground too, making him an easy target for enemies shoot at. But a new little feature allows him to stay on the ground in a prone position for as along as he lives to allow you to pick off any survivors of the previous shootdodge instead of trying to stand up while a guy is shooting a t you. I noticed many reviewers from other sites stated that shootdodging is not useful, it only gets you killed, and this is wrong, as it needs to be utilized properly – one important pointer to fellow shootdodgers, use the momentum of the dodge to get up much faster from the ground by moving in the direction you jumped in without giving pause as he lands.

 

A new feature is the “Bullet-Time hotspots” as I like to call it, these are spots triggered scenes where Max is doing something incredible and you are given Bullet-Time and infinite ammo take for example this scene: Max is hanging from a hook attached to a chain that is hanging from the ceiling while bad guys are coming in through a door down below, go nuts.

Another new feature called Last Man Standing, it is a state that Max goes into if his health depletes as long as he didn’t receive a headshot (in that case you are DEAD), and in this state he expends a painkiller to give himself a chance to kill the dude who got the last bullet in him, failing to do so before max is down and dead results in DEATH. This is quite useful but I’m not really a fan of it, I’d prefer death over a cool looking Bullet-Time shot (sometimes laughable, at the way Max positions himself to take the final shot).

 


Weapons

The balance found in the weapons is one of the finest I have ever seen in a game, generally the biggest weapon is the best, in this game the weight of a weapon also affects the speed at which you move the reticule and most often that time gets you killed. The dual wielding feature has been stepped up another degree of customisation that allows players to dual wield with any combination of one handed weapons, Uzi and sawed-off shotgun? No problem. Old-School fans will be a bit disappointed that Max can carry only two sidearms and a single two-handed weapon, and when he is carrying a two-handed weapon he can equip only a single sidearm and not both at the same time.

 


Multiplayer

It’s still a mystery to me on how Rockstar Studios managed to add Bullet-Time in an online environment. But nevertheless the online component in MP3 is bloody fun!
As players progress through a round they build up their adrenaline bar, this can be used to activate various bursts, bursts are used to tip the scales in your favour, bursts include the Bullet-Time shootdodge (all players caught in the activators line of sight, including the activator, enter Bullet-Time, but only the activator can move the reticule freely while the others move it in an extremely slow speed) health power-ups, defence, and increased damage etc.
There are several Multiplayer modes available including the traditional Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Payne Killer and Gang Wars. Unfortunately at this time I haven’t been able to try most of these modes, but without a doubt they seem interesting and can be played for a really long time after you have completed the Singleplayer mode and those Arcade modes.

 

 


Conclusion

As a fan of the Max Payne series we found closure to his story at the end of the second one, but Remedy themselves added the “Max Payne's journey through the night will continue” bit, which left us is suspense and 9 years after that Rockstar reminded us with a near-perfect gaming experience that Bullet-Time is not just a gimmick its a way of dealing death, an art, like Sun Tzu’s scripts on war, we tell ourselves we don’t need another Max Payne, we tell ourselves a lot of things, all cr**.

9.5/10

Comments
  • Nice Review
  • pretty spot on review man, you definitely deserved the herding. I am one of those who hates the "shakiness" during the cutscenes, it is a really cool feature but I felt they did it way to much. And if shoot dodging is getting you killed, I think your doing it wrong.