Game Review: Max Payne 3

Game Review:  Max Payne 3
Game Name: Max Payne 3
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Publisher(s): Rockstar
Developer(s): Rockstar
Genre(s): Action Shooter
Release Date: May 15th, 2012
ESRB Rating: M for Mature

The bullet always tells the truth

Rockstar studios get a lot of praise for their work on games and innovation in the industry. I’ll give credit where credit is due and that’s in their ability to tell a compelling story, which is done exceptionally well with Max Payne 3. Our story starts off with Max about to execute some poor SOB only to recall how he got to this point via flashback. Max is still dealing with his inner demons, battling his alcoholism/pain pill addiction , the death of his family, and how his life is always in a downward spiral of bad luck.  We then follow Max on his journey with his trademark inner dialog narrating the story through his newfound life as a bodyguard for a rich family in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Rockstar must have had their director watch a lot of Tony Scott movies because the game kept reminding me of Man on Fire. During game cut scenes, we are treated to a sort of haze/distortion effect seeming to symbolize the effects that alcohol/pain pills have on Max. This is comparable to the same flash imagery in Man on Fire when Denzel Washington’s character, Creasy,  is inebriated from alcohol abuse.  We are also treated to a lot of important phrase text flashing on the screen which is a nice touch but seemingly over done in Max Payne 3 to the point that it loses its purpose.

Story – 4 out of 5

Max Payne had a story to tell and it does a good job of telling it. Though the direction is a bit unoriginal it’s still engaging and interesting enough to keep you glued to the controller, wading through the gunfights to find out what happens next. Rockstar did a fine job of keeping the original voice of Max, James McCaffrey, for continuity with the last games. We even go back and get a few glimpses of Max’s past in New York and relive some of what was so great about the other games in this series.

Mechanics/Gameplay – 2.5 out of 5

Though Max Payne is enjoyable throughout, the gameplay is a little slow and simple. I appreciate that we don’t have an overly complicated control scheme, but the game just felt like it was missing something . The enemy AI was pretty smart in the game but often times I would die simply because of a random critical bullet and not having enough pain pills stocked up to initiate the Last Stand mechanic that would allow me to kill the shooter of said stray bullet and live to fight some more. Bullet time, a staple  of Max Payne games, doesn’t feel overused or gimmicky but does lose a little of its point with an already slow moving Max and enemies that seem so much faster than him.

Overall – 3.5 out of 5

Max Payne 3 is a must play if you like a good story in your video games, though it’s not something that will blow your mind. This game does fans of the series proud and does a great job of introducing newcomers to the series.


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