Max Payne is one of Rockstars longest and most successful franchises, a personal favourite of mine. When Rockstar announced they were going to release a current gen Max Payne I was ecstatic. Then I learnt that Remedy games were not going to return for Max Payne 3. Rockstar Vancouver the new studio at the helm was met with harsh criticism from fans and journalists alike. I would be lying if i wasnt one of them. The Finnish studio Remedy created the franchise after all. Things were not helped when the games setting was announced, of all places Rockstar Vancouver decided on Brazil, Which was frowned upon by almost all Max Payne 3 fans. Going from a gritty setting like the bronx that had set the noire mood of past games perfectly to a sunny São Paulo Brazil didn't seem like the best idea.
It wasn't all doom and gloom though. James McCaffrey the long time Max Payne voice actor was back and early screen shots looked promising. All things considered I'm glad Rockstar decided to give the green light for Max Payne 3.
The game starts with Max in Brazil working as a bodyguard for a powerful local executive called Rodrigo bronco. How did Max come to be in an unlikely setting such as Brazil you ask? Well Nine years have past since the previous game and Max is as worn out as ever. Retired from the NYPD Max spends his days at the bottom of whiskey bottles. One night Max is visited by an old colleague called Passos that offers him the bodyguard job in brazil. Since I do not want to give much of the story away ill make it short. Passos helps Max out its a tight situation and with no where to run Max agrees to take up the job and decides to go to brazil.
As you've all probably guessed things get sticky where Rodrigos wife gets kidnapped resulting in Max finding himself trying to piece together a situation that has gone quite out of control. Max finds himself in the middle of things trying to understand the untrustworthy Branco family's motives as well as being in a war zone in the middle of the favelas of Brazil, fighting against brutal Brazilian street gangs and the merciless and deeply corrupt Brazilian police force. The noire type story telling that has been such a staple feature in the franchise is gone. Although I agree that the noire type story telling is great. I don't think the essence of the game is gone like many people have said. Max is still Max as sarcastic and cynical as ever. The words gritty and Brazil don't go well together but the writers and developers have created a dark and memorable tale that is nothing less then what you would expect from a Max Payne game.
Bullet time, bullet time and shoot-dodging in bullet time! Arguably the main reason Max Payne has reached such critical acclaim as a 3rd person franchise. Many games have tried to replicate bullet time in their games like dead to rights and stranglehold but none of them have really got it right. MP 3's bullet time is as enhanced as ever. Watching out where you shoot-dodge in bullet time is now a huge factor. Bullet time into a wall and Max will realistically get knocked to the ground. Set pieces involving bullet time are a big part of the game. These set pieces are a blast to pull of and add variety to the games overall gameplay experience. Weapons are aplenty in MP 3 and max has a wide range of guns at his disposal. From his iconic Barrettas to ground shaking RPG's. Gun play is extremely satisfying where shotguns have the "umff" that make them a prime weapon of choice and you'll find that AK 47's are as loud and destructive as you would expect.
A new interesting feature is a slow-mo feature where you can follow the rampage of your bullets as they go through your enemies, entertaining at the least. Max's health system is as you would expect with an unhealthy diet of whiskey and pain killers regenerating his health. AI is pretty smart although quite systematic and predictable they put up quite a fight. At their smartest they will hide behind cover and try to flank you however the AI can be quite cheap in harder difficulty levels and frustration is guaranteed.
Multiplayer a new addition to the Max Payne and a welcomed one at that. The multiplayer consists of a wide range if modes that gamers are accustomed to such as deathmatch and team deathmatch and unique ones Payne killer . The max level is 50 and with every level you gain perks and attire that you can custom your character with. When the multiplayer was announced critics and fans assumed that bullet time would have to. be included, but how? Rockstar Vancouver incorporated bullet time in a way that surprised many. It worked very nicely. The MP does suffer from some lag on consoles and a few glitches here and there as well as some poor level designs. Overall the MP could have used some more polish that would have resulted in an amazing experience.
In the end max Payne 3 is a game that was down played since its announcement. Ironically its been a "maximum pain" ride. From the delays and game setting to the studIo change both critics and fans were doubtful. in spite of all the "Payne" Max Payne delivered on all fronts with amazing graphics and gameplay combined with an interesting story. Max Payne 3 is a worthy addition to the max Payne franchise.