Max Payne has led a hard life; a harder life than anyone should have to lead. Max just wants to do what's right and protect the innocent. What do most people do when the world continues to beat them down? They give up. But not Max. He prefers to pop an absurd amount of pills chased with whiskey no less. The pills and alcohol keep the depression at bay, yet nothing keeps his spirits up like shooting countless baddies in the face; all in the name of justice.
Now, all joking aside, Max Payne 3 isn't a typical third person shooter. It is very story driven, which isn't seen much in shooters these days. Max is hoping to start a new life for himself, away from all the chaos and bad memories of his home in New York. He takes up a job offer with his old friend, Raul Passos, as private bodyguards for a wealthy family in sunny Sao Paulo, Brazil. Everything is going very smooth. Nice parties, hard drinks and boring people. Max is “enjoying” himself for once. His peace is quickly shattered when a gang busts up a party and kidnaps his clients wife, Fabiana Branco. From here things quickly spiral into an adrenaline-fueled, thrill ride as Max tries desperately to save the ones that count on him the most.
Max hasn't changed a bit. Well, actually, he's changed quite a bit. But at his core, he's still good ole, Max. This installment of the series plays like the old ones for the most part. The biggest change is the cover system, which works like expected. Another addition is weight. Max feels clumsier in his most recent venture. Often turning too fast will cause his legs to get jumbled and running in the completely wrong direction, which admittedly gets annoying. Max still has his arsenal of weapons, with which he can dual-wield single-handed weapons and shoulder two-handed weapons with great precision. Bullet Time is also back and in spectacular fashion. At any time(as long as the meter is somewhat filled) Max can enter a super slow-motion run and take down countless enemies before they have the time to blink. Max can also dive through the air at the press of a button, in any direction, in sweet, sweet slow-mo. He does this all while aiming any weapon with deadly results. While using the shoot-dodge mechanic looks amazing, it often results in Max being quite vulnerable in a prone position. This means that using it often isn't smart and will lead to many deaths, especially on the harder difficulties. Unfortunate, because it really does look quite cool.
Max Payne 3 is a truly stunning looking game. The multiple locations visited come to life with brilliant detail, from murky, South American swamps to crowded Favelas. Each new location breathes fresh life into the game. Not only do the areas look amazing, so too do Max and every other character model. Max's many movements and animations bring him to life more than almost any other game on the market. Max is not a static character and is found in a new outfit almost every chapter. As multiple cut scenes fill this game, having this level of detail really improves immersion and is quite impressive.
The soundtrack, and all around audio, in this game is... absolutely fantastic. Max's gritty voice returns and really nails it, along with a host of other fantastic voice actors. Each bullet fired in slow-mo, or normal speed, sound great and hit there targets with penetrating rips. And the painful thuds of Max hitting the ground are powerful and cringe inducing. The ambient sounds that fill the more emotional scenes fit perfectly and bring what's happening on screen to life. The clubs feature authentic Brazilian beats that make for fast paced and intense gun play. The bit near the end of the game where the title track plays is simply amazing and shouldn't be ruined in a review. Just experience it....
Like most games on the market, Max Payne 3 has a form of multiplayer. A new Arcade mode is here which has players going through previously played levels and competing for high scores. Arcade modes are great and add a lot of re-playability for those with a competitive edge. The actual versus modes are pretty basic, classic team games and deathmatches. A unique mode, Gang Wars, has two teams pitted against each other in a five-round, objective based duel. In this mode the outcome of previous rounds affect the resulting rounds in favor of whoever won said rounds. Gang Wars; however, is the only real draw here. The Bullet Time is a nice touch to the mix, but ultimately not needed considering shoot-dodging here is just as effective as it is in the single player. Honestly, the versus multiplayer is just not needed here. It adds nothing, while at the same time, diminishes nothing. It is an enigma.
Max Payne 3 is a fabulous piece of work. The new and improved animations are a treat for the eyes and really deliver, even if Max's movements are clumsy on occasion. The stunning detail in the locations visited are something to behold and Max is looking better(that meaning graphically, not emotionally) then ever. Voiced wonderfully and matched with an amazing soundtrack, Max Payne sounds golden. While the versus portion of the multiplayer is utterly average, the new Arcade mode will give players a reason to return to Max's dark world. Max is a good guy, that bad things have happened too. But who knows? Maybe things are finally looking up. The only certain thing is this: Max is back.