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Max Payne 3 (Xbox 360) artwork

Max Payne 3 (Xbox 360) review


"Max Payne has not had an easy life; he lost his wife and daughter to drugged up psychotics, his friends to gunmen and his job to drink. Since the last time we have seen Max he's lost it all, no longer a cop and on the verge of claiming his life or letting his habits do it for him he has nothing save a handful of painkillers and a bottle of scotch. So as you can imagine he needs a new start which he finds when he takes a job as protection for a rich family called the Brancos who live and work in São Paulo, Brazil. However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows for our flawed hero because as you'd expect things go bad quickly with Max being powerless to stop them..."



Max Payne has not had an easy life; he lost his wife and daughter to drugged up psychotics, his friends to gunmen and his job to drink. Since the last time we have seen Max he's lost it all, no longer a cop and on the verge of claiming his life or letting his habits do it for him he has nothing save a handful of painkillers and a bottle of scotch. So as you can imagine he needs a new start which he finds when he takes a job as protection for a rich family called the Brancos who live and work in São Paulo, Brazil. However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows for our flawed hero because as you'd expect things go bad quickly with Max being powerless to stop them.

So as you can imagine the game is driven by a well written plot that will have you deeply engaged in the experience; it's excellent. I couldn't help but feel a sense of pity towards Max as you see the story unfold. He's in the thick of it and, in a truly washed up fashion, he simply tries to drink his problems away. I found that events in the story, in hindsight, could have been avoided or could have turned out much better if Max was sober. It's unique to feel this way about a character, to know that his flaws keep causing you, as the player, trouble. It adds to the noire that has always been in the series; that dark shadow that hangs over Max, the same one he can't rid himself of. The story of the game is not only Max's dealings in Brazil but flashbacks of how he got to where he is today and as the story progresses Max is trying to change; his actions and narration of later events shows him beginning to do so, it gives the feeling of actual progression which is welcome.

In terms of gameplay nothing is lacking. At heart the game is a cover based shooter which works well, especially with shoot dodge and bullet time. I won't deny I felt it would not work and that I'd either find myself glued to a wall or ignoring all cover and leaping through the air like a maniac whilst slowing time between jumps with bullet time to mop up any remaining enemies. However I was wrong, all three features work in brilliant unison so I can leap over a pool table shooting the fools who have used it for cover and then in a seemless transition I have: slowed time, shot a thug or two then I have gotten into cover whilst dodging a hail of bullets from their friends all before the dead have fallen to the ground. As you may be able to guess shoot dodge and bullet time are amazing, there's something oddly satisfying about leaping over cover whilst shooting some idiot who ran headlong into the line of sight. Despite all this good there is some bad, Max will die a lot as the difficulty can be crushing, the AI of the enemies is really intelligent. I was flanked more than once and this lead to several frustrating moments in which I could see no other way but to stay down and pick my shots which was disappointing because shoot dodge and bullet time make the experience more intense even though they are slowed down. I like cover based shooting but if there are more exciting ways to deal with some enemies I would like to exploit them and not be killed in the process. This is a minor issue because when you do finally beat those particular moments you feel good. Max Payne 3 does what all games should do; it challenges you even on the easiest difficulty and although the challenge can make the game a real pain at times it's still fun.

The other major component of this game is its multiplayer. It has the standard deathmatch and team deathmatch as well as rookie variants of these classics for players just starting out. The game also has two unique game modes called Payne Killer and Gang Wars; in Payne Killer the first player to kill another becomes Max and his or her victim becomes Raul Passos, Max's partner in the story, these two must then face off against everyone else and try to survive. If one is killed his or her killer becomes Max or Passos depending on who the victim was. The two who survive the longest win. Gang Wars is a story driven mode in which the events of the last round effect the goals of the next and these goals can range from planting bombs to killing specific targets. These modes are hectic fun and you won't get bored of them. All multiplayer modes feature the use of shoot dodge and abilities known as Bursts which give an advantage to you and/or your team, these abilities are intergrated well as players who are in the vicinity or line of sight of another player in shoot dodge are slowed down with him or her. Bursts are abilities that help you and hinder your enemies whether it be tricking enemy players into attacking their own team or making them believe you are on their side. All of these abilities are powered by adrenaline which is built up in the match. Multiplayer isn't perfect but its fun and manic so you can't go wrong.

Max Payne 3 is an amazing, thrilling experience that will have you glued to your seat for hours, upon completing the game you have arcade game types such as New York Minute and Score Attack to keep you going as you replay story levels but with a twist your either trying to complete it in a minute, gaining precious seconds for each kill (New York Minute) or you are playing for fun but now you get a score at the end of the level for kills, accuracy as well as other things (Score Attack). This game will make your heart race and you will love it. All of its features accumulate into a masterclass of how games should be made, yes it has the occasional slip up but it's simply brilliant and worth every second of your time and every penny you would spend on it.



Rating: 9/10

Craig's avatar
Community review by Craig (June 17, 2012)

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