the Andrew Bailey

Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3 was not developed by Remedy, but by a division of Rockstar (the Grand Theft Auto people). Years after closing the book on how he and his family were screwed, Max Payne gets hired as private security for a rich business owner in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Oh, except he had other run-ins before, which some levels flash back to. (Ugh, couldn't we have started from there?)

Screenshot of bullet time in Max Payne 3

While I can appreciate having a self-curated weapon selection compared to having every one, the way to select them is complicated. The name of a weapon isn't displayed when you walk up to it. It's only in a contextual selection menu does a name appear. You can't specifically drop a weapon, either. I didn't notice any ranking or damage output rating for any weapon. I disliked how a cinematic would play, and when it ended, I had a handgun selected that I didn't have ammo for. I'd start aiming, and get surprised that it wouldn't fire; all my gun did was click. Enemies have and use grenades, and Max did in the last 2 games, but not here.

Enemies are annoying. I'd give a dude a good shot in the head (or three from an automatic rifle), and he'd go down, only to get up 5 seconds later. This wasn't once or twice; this happened half the time! Am I fighting zombies? I might as well be, because I'm encountering hundreds of gang members. It feels like I'm depopulating entire neighborhoods of guys, because they keep coming. In a sci-fi setting it's more believable, because armies from several planets are coming for you. Or in an apocalypse, everyone fights because they're existentially screwed if they don't. But in these settings, it's only the local mob or drug lords.

The neat mechanic of collecting pain killers instead of health packs remain. However, they seem too few and far between. It's cool that when you run out of health, you enter bullet time for a few seconds to see if you can kill the guy that landed the last hit. Except that doesn't happen sometimes, because you ran out of pain killers. Other times, your clip ran out, and you die anyway.

I hated the cinematic presentation. I dug the comics from the last two games. Here, it's like watching a TV drama, complete with analog-TV-like glitching. Combined with the chromatic aberrations and bad SSAO, I could barely stand the quality. As characters deliver their lines, random words flash on the screen, as if to emphasize them. All that did was annoy me. I'm watching and listening; I already understand the importance of what's being talked about. Could the next game get back to the comic style?

There were several cutscene quick time events; all of which I hated. There was one where I would constantly die in, despite hitting the key it wanted me to. (I had to look that one up to get past it.) There was another time where I needed to defend someone that was downstairs from my position. Despite trying to run to and down the stairs as fast as I could, I could never reach him in time before he died, which failed the mission. Later, he would run through a bunch of mobsters, and I would stand on the high ground picking them off. Because everyone in this game has steel skulls, I could never pick them off in time before they killed him. (Turns out that I had to abandon the high ground and get closer to them.)

As for the actual quality of the writing, it was fine. Honestly, I was too annoyed by the presentation and gameplay to think too much about it. (If that was on purpose, good job!) There were plenty of gritty one-liners thrown in, just like the last games.

All in all, Max Payne 3 is a misfire of sorts. Without DLC, Max Payne 3 sells for $19.99 today on Steam (which is what Borderlands 2 goes for), and I think that's a bit much. Don't worry about the DLC, because those are all for the multiplayer mode, which I can't believe anyone asked for. Only get it if you're curious; it feels like Spec Ops: The Line, and that's better.

Posted under Gaming. 0 complaints.