Back when there was a clear distinction between game genres, Max Payne was a phenomenal shooter that stood out in a league of its own: Action, story, noire elements…It reeked of classic. Today, with the dividing line between genres constantly getting blurrier, I was expecting a hint of RPG elements to the game in the form of management of abilities and gun preferences. Don’t get me wrong, the game is still a narrative tour de force and the action is satisfying, but I would have applauded that extra inch of depth to the gameplay.
Much like a Greek tragedy, Max again finds himself stuck in situations he otherwise would rather avoid and fans of the original two will welcome the strong return of the character. The story now progresses via rendered cut-scenes instead of comic strips, and the transition to and from them is expertly handled, granting a seamless flow to the story.
The action sequences are satisfyingly beefy with a properly adapted cover mechanic, and kill cams that allow you to keep shooting at your dead victim as he falls to the ground in slow-motion glory. 1,000 kills later, I noticed that none of my unlucky targets were women. Including them may have complicated Max’s emotional state as a self-proclaimed righteous man, but what matters is those crossing your path were being put down and my kill-count was unaffected.
The game covers around 12 hours of campaign gameplay and offers a rather rich multiplayer mode offering the basics, including deathmatch and weapon customization, as well as introducing new modes and the inclusion of the bullet-time mechanic. The MP is not flawless and is obviously not the purpose of the game, but it stands out among Rockstar’s older attempts at it. If you are not in to MP, Rockstar has also added offline features such as the arcade mode and time trials to keep busy until the release of a DLC.
Rockstar Games have created a magnificent opus with Max Payne 3, and I challenge anyone to offer up an equal experience in production, story and action sequences.
Max Payne 3 is developed by Rockstar Games and is available for PS3, XBOX 360 and Windows.