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Max Payne 3
"Max Is Back"
PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Third Person Shooter
Its been awhile since the last Max Payne, and it took Rockstar long enough to get Max Payne 3 on the market. After an excruciating long wait, Max Payne 3 is finally here. And while it may not resemble their previous entries much, it does so in the best ways that lets it. Was the long wait worth it? Does this game live up to the name of Max Payne? Lets find out...
Right from the intro, the first seven minutes or so, you know this is Rockstar and you know this is going to be a triple-a experience. As soon as I heard the first words spoken from that of Max Payne, a smile came across my face. Max Payne, former detective, finds himself a no body is this latest entry of the series. Nothing more then a drunk and an addict to pain killers, he finds an opportunity that he thinks can revive who he use to be. Upon meeting a Hispanic guy name Paso's, he does not know what he is going to enter. After the family he was sworn to protect is kidnapped in Brazil, Max slips on his tropical shirt, gets a few pain killers, and a gun with a mag, and he is ready to go on an adventure all across Brazil. While it is a new direction and it does offer something fresh, the new bright, vibrant Brazilian atmosphere didn't really impact me as much as the darker, crime riddled streets of New York did for me in the previous Max Payne games. But luckily there are a few well made flash back chapters that take you in a more darker atmosphere, and each of those were very welcoming.
Now, the true reason that makes Max Payne is not Max Payne himself, but his special ability we all know as "Bullet Time." This game right here does slow motion gameplay better then any other game out there. This is the most fun I had with slow motion gameplay, especially the shoot dodge mechanic, which can create many bad ass (And may I say "hilarious" sometimes) moments in the heat of combat. Bullet time is essential to this game, you simply cannot play with out it, not because its so addicting, but because the game is so damn hard.
Max Payne 3 can sometimes feel beautiful, sometimes it can feel epic, sometimes it can feel dark and gritty, and MANY times it will be one of the most frustrating experiences you will ever have in gaming. Allow me to talk about that later.
The controls feel as beautiful as the game looks. Some of the greatest gameplay I ever played in a third person perspective. It just feels so natural, so responsive, its flawless, even the reticle feels right and not all (clunky ?) like in a lot of third person shooters. Implementing Bullet Time feels as natural as it can get. Switching weapons though can be a pain, like when sometimes I want to switch to my primary two handed weapon, but for some reason the stupid weapon wheel selects duel welding and drops my rifle, and I have to jump back out in the middle of the hundred people I was trying to get away from in the first place, attempt to frantically grab my gun, hoping not to miss the button before getting shot up to swiss cheese. This happened to more then it needed to in the game.
Another thing was how when things got over the top after about chapter six (The night chapter when you get the silenced pistol). I mean, at this point, every enemy has body army and the highest powerful weapons, there is like a hundred of them every where, and the game is border-line impossible after this point (I played on hard difficulty the whole way through). I mean, I had to empty like two clips in a few of these guys and they still wouldn't go down! The hell. I warn you right now, you will DIE alot in this game. Think of it as Dark Souls with guns. One thing that really pissed me of, was how every enemy had 99.9 percent pin-point accuracy. I mean, we have drug addict street thugs that are as skilled as SWAT officers. As soon as you lift your head up from cover for more then two seconds, a hundred bullets from every direction come swarming at you from 3 miles away and end you that easily. Of course I'm over exaggerating this, but its pretty unrealistic. No body is this damn good with a gun, like, its gotta be at least half a foot ball fields' distance these enemies are capable of shooting you at, 9/10 times.
In my game, I had this minor glitch, nothing big, just a minor one that ended up the biggest pain in the ass I ever experienced in my gaming life. The glitch is when an enemy fall down from either you shooting them or just plain physics, they don't die. When I first played this game, I literally spent hours replying and running around in the first action sequence, trying to figure out how the hell to advance to the next location. It was then, I saw my reticle turn red over one of the body and then I shot the body and FINALLY I got to continue. This became a growing and constant pain for me over the entire course of the game, always having to look for body's and shooting them. This later made this game an inch under impossible near the end, during the level where you have to bomb the construction site. The map would shake from the bombs going off, and I literally had two seconds to shoot every enemy on the rooftops before they would tip over and I couldn't get my reticle to hover over them where I could shoot them, forcing me to reply this sequence over and over before quitting, yep. This part pissed me off so bad I abandoned the game for like two months before jumping back in and reliving the terror again, but yes, I made it through, and when I did, I took a nap and didn't look at the game for another week.
Yes, I have heard of a challenge in gaming, and I do like a challenge, but non-stop through out the course of a 12+ hour game with some things that don't play out right (That glitch and the unrealistically amazing accuracy of the enemies) it can prove a nightmare. I didn't quite enjoy this game as much as I wanted to due to these things I mention. But im not done yet, this rant shall continue in the content discussion.
Before I start talking about the actual "content" of the game, I want to talk about the level lay out first, which is a huge factor in the shooting segments in the game (Which is 95 percent of the game). What Rockstar does, is they basically hand you a gun, pits you in a location full of enemies, and won't let you out until you kill everyone. That is what you will be doing through out 95 percent of the game. That is this game's biggest greatest problem, repetitiveness. Apart from the fifteen minute non-skipable cut scene's (Which are visually stunning and helped my mind relax after all the frustration) and the occasional on rail's segments (The first one in chapter two on the helicopter was cool) you will literally be doing nothing but shooting your way through countless waves of border-line invincible enemies through out the whole game. This is what this game practically is, one long ass never ending shooting gallery. You can go look for golden gun pieces, but for what? Just so your gun can look gold? I couldn't really give a damn if you paid me to. There are a few times where you an watch this dumb cartoon, which isn't even amusing in the slightest bit. One game that is similar to this one and reminds me of this game is Alan Wake, who I believe the company (Remedy) made or helped with the previous two Max Payne's. Its gameplay is largely similar to the gameplay found in this game. But I enjoyed Alan Wake alot more because it had more interesting collectibles (The manuscript pages) and you even got to relax and watch a few episodes of this scary tv show, which I loved. Also, Alan Wake had the few cool morning and driving segments where you wasn't shooting stuff.
My question is, why didn't Rockstar choose to do something similar with Max Payne 3, I mean, they are Rockstar, the makers of Grand Theft Auto, one of the most activity filled game series ever made. So why didn't they give you some (FUN, not a side chore of collecting golden gun parts) segments or side activities to let give you a break after shooting things non-stop. A good example of this is the Mass Effect trilogy. In those games, when you weren't shooting things, you was exploring a beautiful galaxy, venturing within hub worlds on other planets and customizing your cabin on you ship with fish and space hamsters. Or take a game like Skyrim, where a huge percentage of it DOESN'T have you fighting things, instead building up your character, crafting weapons and armor, decorating your house, looking for a spouse, and even more. I know Max Payne isn't a open world rpg, but still, Rockstar, one of the kings of giving you many things to do, there could have had more things in this game to do besides shoot things.
Now, the actual shooting gallery's aren't even well set up either. You can only shoot and take cover, while sometimes you may have an opportunity of shooting some kind of explosive propane tank or something letting you do some environmental damage, but there is no way to go besides forward. All you do in these shooting chunks is walking forward and shooting. I wish Rockstar would have opened the playing field some more, I wish they could have let you do stealth. They should have let you go in more directions, take multiple paths and use different tactics besides shooting your way forward. Some stealth would have been great, I mean damn, I would have killed for some stealth features. Why not have some better close quarters combat, a hand to hand melee system like in Uncharted. I mean if the game had more features like this, the experience would have been less frustrating and more enjoyable. You can't even breath in this game, its just sitting behind cover, and shooting forward, NON STOP for 12 HOURS!!!!!
All right, enough of that. Now lets talk about the extras, oh wait, do you know what you get as "replay value" after finishing the game once? You get to do it play through the repetitive torture twice again but with a point or time system. Yea right, Ima pass. But, one great part of Max Payne, is the multiplayer. Max Payne 3 includes a damn great multiplayer component, perhaps one of the best I played in a third person game and certainly the best Rockstar has ever created in any of their games (With Red Dead Redemption as a close second). Rockstar gives you so many reasons to invest your self with the multiplayer, its crazy. Starting off, you get to create your own gang, with fully accessible and strong character creation. You get to make a gang logo, and as you get good, you start to get this incredible sense of satisfaction of growing the status of your gang. It keeps you playing. Bullet Time is even implemented, which is great, there is nothing more to say. The multiplayer maps are well layed-out, many of the game modes are unique and great, such as Gang Wars (My favorite) and Payne Killer which is cool also. There is also a swarm of DLC maps out right now, which are all worth getting if you love the multiplayer. The multiplayer has a very robust stats system, which tracks many things all the way to the many different locations your character has been shot. On top of that, the leveling up system is great also, with many perks and extra weapons to unlock as you further progress. Multiplayer is no doubt the best part of Max Payne 3, and saves for many of the faults the main game may have had.
But really, in the end, I would have had a better single player experience then a good multiplayer experience, if I want to play multiplayer, then I just start up Battlefield 3. It reminds me how flawed the game actually is, and good multiplayer isn't enough to cover the flaws up. Next time Rockstar, prioritize the Single Player experience.
The story of Max Payne 3 is simple and feels like a new direction from the previous titles. The game makes use many very cinematic and beautifully created cut scenes. While some may hate the video effects, I loved them. The story is easier to get engaged to then the comic style cut scenes in Max Payne 2. But thats not saying its better. Let me talk first about the basis of the story. Max Payne is has hit rock bottom. He takes a chance when he meets up with this Hispanic cop name Paso's, who helps him shoot his way out of a situation they met their selves in. Max is hired to protect a extremely wealthy family, and things don't start off well when the daughters are kidnapped. What basically follows is a roller coaster ride of an action game as Max does what ever he can to re-aquire the two daughters. While the story is simple, and it isn't bad, I feel it doesn't compare with the story in Max Payne 2, which was just more interesting and dramatic. I liked the characters alot better in MP2, like Mona Sax. In MP3 the characters aren't horrible, there just meh. I never did like any of the characters in this game then I did in the last game. To me, as far a story goes, Max Payne 2 was the high light of all three games, but I also feel MP3 is just setting its self up for Max Payne 4.
Max Payne himself, delivers a stellar performance as one of my most favorite characters in a video game. He is no super hero, he isn't the savior of humanity, he isn't a model citizen, he's Max Payne, and he can do what ever the damn he wants. The dialog he speaks is so intelligent and precise, I listened and paid attention to every word he said. His attitude and voice make him stand out from many other game characters, he kind of reminds me of Sam Fisher in the the Splinter Cell series. His voice is so distinctive, you can tell who's it is a mile away. He really makes all the games, and I can see thats why they name the games after him. One thing I have noticed though, is the pacing of the game is great. The story and chapters flow flawlessly and are perfectly balanced. The final chapter itself, along with the final moments are all done great and are a satisfying finale. I do anticipate Max Payne 4, and I think Rockstar will have something better waiting for us when it gets here.
Gameplay Features and Variety:
Like I stated before, the gameplay is beautiful, all though there is not much variety. You point, shoot and have the ability to activate bullet time. Oh and you can take cover. Thats basically it. You can't do much else in a combat situation, there is hardly any freedom, no other paths to take besides pure annihilation. Me, while that can be fun sometimes, I would also like to engage in battle using stealth, it would have broken up all the monotony that makes up almost all of the game. Rockstar, next time, give us more freedom, I want to experience something like in Dishonored or Arkham City. Let me have more vertical combat, interact with the environment more, let me be able to kill a whole batch of enemies silently. I want more variety, if this game had that then it would have been alot more fun and forgivable.
Also I want more side content and activities to do, give us more open environments. If Rockstar can pull this off for the next game, I will love it more. Im crossing my fingers...
Bullet time and the multiplayer and Max Payne as a character. Bullet time is one of the greatest features a shooter can offer, and without it, this wouldn't be Max Payne. The multiplayer is great and Max Payne is one of the greatest characters of gaming this year, and I've enjoyed knowing him from the start. I will continue to stay and see what he has to offer in the future.
The game is one of the most beautiful games I have played recently, with a abundance of rich detail and outstanding physics. Max Payne 3 is very high in quality when it comes to gameplay and presentation. Also, the soundtrack is great also, being one of 2012's best and creating a unique feeling atmosphere for Max Payne. There are many aspects like these to appreciate in this game and defines what Rockstar is capable of doing in these areas.
Max Payne 3 is one of the better games of 2012. While not as good as it should have been, its is still a game worth experiencing. With its defining bullet time mechanic, its high quality presentation, the character of Max Payne, the soundtrack, fluid gameplay and the strong multiplayer, there is many things to like and enjoy about this game. Don't let my rants over the lack of variety and repetitive gameplay give you a wrong idea, because Max Payne 3 is a very solid experience, with many great action moments. It is a roller coaster ride I guarantee many action junkies will love, with a solid story to back it up. If you like Max Payne, or action games in general, then pick this game up. Where Max Payne 3 impresses with great gameplay and a solid story, its hurts in areas of variety and story replay value. If Rockstar can fix all my issues with this game in the next one, then I will be looking forward to a one of a kind experience, but right now Max Payne 3 is just short of great.
The Good Stuff:
Solid Story +
Great Gameplay +
Bullet Time +
Great Multiplayer ++
Amazing Graphics and Physics +
High Quality Presentation +
Excellent Soundtrack +
Max Payne +
The Bad Stuff:
Dreadfully Repetitive --
Lack Of Gameplay Variety --
Lack Of Side Content --
Minimal Replay Value -
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