- Publisher: Rockstar Studios, Distributed by Take Two Interactive
- Developer: Rockstar Vancouver
- Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (reviews), and PC
- Released: May. 15th (NA) on Console, May. 31st (NA) on PC.
- Rated: M for Mature
“An Older, not-so-wiser Payne embarks on a hell bent bloodbath well worth a reunion to the series”.
It’s been many years since we positively visited the world of Max Payne in dirty New York City. In 2003, Fall of Max saw him team up with Mona to uncover the truth behind his Wife and Son’s murder. Remedy Entertainment was the original developers of the series and it seemed as though the focus went fuzzy shortly after the 2nd installments release. Then to wrap up the downfall of the franchise we we’re graced with that fantastic Mark Wahlberg. Oh wait, it wasn’t good at all. Needless to say, if Rockstar Vancouver wanted Max Payne to matter again, they were going to have to really pull something off. Which they did to near perfection.
The widowed Max is filling out the rest of his pointless life by being the head of security for Rodrigo Branco, a successful real estate mogul in Brazil. Like any good story, it all turns to shit when the wife of the billionaire is kidnapped and spirals rather quickly into the world of fucked up.
A lot of the story revolves around why Max was put into the situation, the other half is him trying to hunt down the wife. Mixed in between all of the dark story plots are sprinkles of Max’s history and eventual landing in his world of alcohol and “over-medication”. The overall mood of the game is dark and disturbed, but it’s done in such a way to not put off the player.
There isn’t a time in the story when you feel Max is fully capable and every corner he turns is darker and more fucked up.
In the normal vein of Max Payne, there is a heavy (and I mean HEAVY) influence of gun-play and bullet time. The action of bullet time in MP3 feels a lot more constructed and fluid. It’s an odd thing to have a protagonist that is always parallel to the ground when shooting hoards of baddies, but MP3 seems to pull it off without a hiccup. The world of third person shooters if chalked full with lumbering ogre type games, and MP3 does a really great job of setting itself apart from that umbrella. The movement is nice and slow, and the narrative during gameplay is welcoming and innovative.
Between full blown shoot-outs, Rockstar has instilled a nice mix of film grain, narrative, and Tarantino-like picture-in-picture. I was originally worried at how this tactic would sour my appetite for the story, but it played a fantastic part in the look and feel of the game making it one of the most enjoyable pieces of the MP3 picture.
Each weapon in the game has a nice unique feel to the way they shoot and the impact they have on enemy scum. Bullet time in MP3 also has a more tactile feel to it than in previous Payne games, or that weird Chow Yun Fat game Stranglehold. It is a perk that can make or break a bad situation. Timed right, you can clear a room using one bullet-time segment and it doesn’t regenerate that quickly. The general gun-play mechanics such as cover, shooting, interactions are well done and refined into a simple but elegant system. I could have used a little bit more control over the story progressing scenes, instead of watching in-game cut-scenes. However, the quality of the scenes were good enough to keep me entertained the whole ride.
The multiplayer in MP3 is awesome and designed to be easily picked up but fraught with pain to master. It’s very much in the vain of Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer but with the addition of the gritty MP world and a very well balanced multi-use Bullet time system.
The graphics of MP3 are without a doubt in running for the best available to date. I couldn’t get good screens or video (still figuring out our new equipment) but the quality of textures in this universe are elite to say the least. The above mentioned tweaks to general cut-scenes keep MP3 from falling into the trap of modern day story telling. The Beautiful vistas of Brazil, mixed with the dark seedy underbelly of New York is undeniably fluid. When you take all of that and add in amazing gunfights, it’s hard to take anything but a smile away from this game. There are a few moments where things break, or textures fade in and out but this isn’t enough to keep you from continuing on.
Rockstar seems to have gone out of their way to lend a hand in the transition between movies and games. It is an inevitable path and one that (given this quality of entertainment) I am completely warming up to.
I was never a HUGE Max Payne fan, but I had some fun with the original games. Now, I’m a massive fan and it’s all because of the hard work and detail that Rockstar has put into this revamp.
The story is really nice and gritty, which makes the subtle sense of humor delightful. The characters are generally flushed out well and fun to watch, which makes the portrayal of the tale very entertaining. Finally, the gameplay is improved from previous incarnations of this “Slow-Mo Trick” and is extremely graspable. I pray that the game succeeds overall just to give Rockstar the gulls to create another.
- Dark tone
- Well polished
- Detailed environments
- Surviving can be a challange
- Multi-player is fun!
- Few graphical breaks
- Long enough cut-scenes to take you out of “Action mode”
- The odd way Max holds his rifle/shotgun in his opposite hand while wielding a pistol
- Multi-player could have been more robust
- That Hawaiian shirt Max wears