The Max Payne series set the benchmark for stylish action in third person shooters. Over the years, countless other games have incorporated bullet time into gameplay, but only a few have succeeded in whipping up the delicious, kinetic action Remedy’s franchise was known for. Over the nine years since Max Payne 2’s release, technology has evolved by leaps and bounds, so naturally expectations have risen exponentially.
Even then, Rockstar stepped up to the mantle and accepted these challenges. Their goal was to wow players in 2012 the same way Max Payne did in 2003 - a rather lofty ambition since we’ve experienced games like Gears of War and Uncharted since then. And guess what, they’ve pulled it off.
Max Payne 3 is more of a reboot than a reinvention. The game has been made accessible to the modern day gamer from a gameplay and technical standpoint, but at the same time, Rockstar hasn’t forgotten the series’ roots, keeping certain aspects of gameplay firmly grounded in old school gameplay. Ultimately, whether you’re a fan of the franchise or have never even played a Max Payne game in your life, Max Payne 3 is a must-play because it is one hell of an action-packed roller coaster ride.
Last Action Hero
Like Rocksteady did with Batman: Arkham Asylum, Rockstar has taken great pains to give gamers an insight to Max Payne and the stuff that goes on between his ears. He’s a trooper at heart who’s been through a lot in his life, but like a modern day superhero of sorts, he never gives up. You can stab him, burn him, shoot him or even beat him up, but you just can’t keep him down. It’s this “never say die” attitude that makes you want to root for Max all the way to the very end.
Unlike younger hot shots like Nathan Drake and Marcus Fenix, he isn’t in the best of shape, and thanks to his drug and alcohol addiction, his liver is at exploding point. But that doesn’t stop him from throwing himself in front of a bullet or even a grenade for that matter. It’s this die hard mentality that gets him hired as a bodyguard for one of Brazil’s most affluent families.
Of course, all isn’t what it seems, and Max soon finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy that will take him all the way from the glitz and glamour to Brazil’s seedy underbelly. Through his journey, he’ll form alliances, make powerful enemies, and of course, shoot the population of an entire country in the face. The Max Payne games have always offered players a twisted narrative, and Max Payne 3 is no different. In fact, I’d say it’s the darkest of the lot and some of the stuff that goes down in this game is rather disturbing. Max’s internal monologues are back as well, and while they’re cheesy as ever, they have a certain tinge of dry, sarcastic humor that I found most amusing.
Bleak plot aside, you’ve bought this game for its solid gameplay, and in that respect, Max Payne 3 does not disappoint. Unlike the older games, this one features a cover system, but Rockstar don’t really want you to play the game like a conventional cover-based shooter. In fact, a huge mistake I made through the first level was treating it like one and I did not enjoy it. I soon realized that cover was nothing but a temporary safe place for Max, where he could maybe reload his weapons, pop some painkillers and survey the surrounding threat. The rest of the time, the game wants you to live dangerously by creating your very own John Woo movie, which obviously can’t be done by just sitting behind cover and shooting people. No guts, no glory.