Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3
Max Payne 3 Cover
Platforms Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Genre Bullet-dodging rent-a-cop
Score 9.5  Clock score of 9.5
Buy from Amazon

After nearly a decade of remission, Rockstar’s alcoholic, slow-mo, bullet-dodging ex-cop anti-hero is finally back and more badass than ever with their long-awaited third installment of his saga, Max Payne 3.

From the menu you can choose from story or multiplayer mode supporting up to 16 players online, or arcade mode where you can go back and try to get a higher score on previously beaten levels from story mode as well as the opportunity to hunt for and hidden valuables you may have missed your first time through. As one would expect by now from a game coming out of the Rockstar Studio, story mode is a fanatically written experience riddled with compelling characters and a complex plot full of unexpected twists and turns.

It turns out between games Max got a job working as a gun-for-hire, protection detail protecting the Branco Family in Brazil. Rodrigo is a wealthy real-estate mogul with his wife Fabiana; Victor, a local politician; and Marceloa, a drunk. The game begins at a Branco family party and it’s not long before all hell breaks loose and there are some "unexpected guests" that crash the party, making it your job as the one-man security to stop. Before you know it an entire conspiracy unfolds from these hitmen and you find yourself embodying the old Max you know and love, shooting up everywhere in South America from Brazilian night clubs to poor run-down favelas. From huge soccer stadiums to giant yachts sandwiched inside the Panama Canal, tearing Brazil apart to find those who are trying to kill the people you’re hired to protect becomes pretty messy. Sometimes there are even flashback sequences in Hoboken, and you find yourself back in the slums of New Jersey duking it out with the mob again. The game’s variety in location and enemy proves to be one of its many strengths.

Anyone who has played any of the current-gen Rockstar titles (Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto IV) should know what to expect as far as controls, it’s that same “generic Rockstar feel”: loose and juusssst right. Max Payne 3 is much more than just one of the best third person shooters out there, right from the beginning it seamlessly transitions telling the story flawlessly between cutscenes and gameplay, in return feeling more like a mixed-media epic complete with compelling interpersonal character development and South American politics, which brings me to the game’s writing.

Max Payne 3’s story is by far the most subversive I have ever experienced from a video game in my life. I have seen plenty of great writing in games, but not like this, just the kind of writing so good it makes me want to come back and keep playing. Max Payne’s plot sucked my mind into this world and had me feeling the pain of this alcoholic widower wasting away his life saving some rich people he doesn’t care about in a third-world country he has no business being in for God knows why, it had me up at night thinking about what real-life South American economic struggles are life. Between extremely engaging and all-too realistic re-enactments of an alchy gringo losing it in a poverty and violence-stricken nation, along with the constantly-running sarcastic commentary by Max for a change of pace, experiencing this game’s story getting 20-hour constant load-up of whatever the best of Hollywood has to offer. If Halo is a great shooter like Die Hard is a great action film, then with it’s excellent story and writing, Max Payne 3 is a great shooter like Scarface is a great film. Its story, its characters, its scene after memorable scene is what sets this third-person shooter far apart from the thousands of others available.

My major gripe Max Payne 3 is its presentation. The cutscenes of the game are presented almost seamlessly with the gameplay, and whenever Max or any character says something that is considered important (which is almost everything), the words fly up dynamically as white text on the screen. I know this sounds like nitpicking, but I don’t mind subtitles, or if it’s only happening a bit, but it goes on literally every time someone talks, every time I’m trying to watch something happen in the story, and it just get’s really annoying.

My other two problems I found are that even while watching each cutscene and hunting for collectables, I still managed to beat this game in under 15 hours. On top of that, the replay value is relatively low, coming in the form of nothing but the ability to hunt for golden gun pieces that I may have missed in my first play through.

Even with these few faults, and especially with its new 30-40 dollar price tag, Max Payne 3 is a must-own for almost anyone with a 360 or PS3.

Overall: 9.5/10

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