Max Payne 3

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Max Payne 3 introduces a new dual wield system that allows the player to experiment with many different weapon combinations. The game's otherwise impressive mechanics are hampered by its poor controls and restrictive cover system.

Will Zhou, Copy Editor

While Max Payne 2 was generally well-received by critics and went on to receive several industry rewards, sales were disappointingly low. This may have been part of what prompted the transfer of the development of Max Payne 3 from Remedy Entertainment to Rockstar Vancouver, a studio best known for its school-based free-roam title Bully. In many ways, the game is a deviation from previous titles in the series, for better and for worse.

 

Art (7/10):

Max Payne 3 features art of quality on par with most other recent console titles. The art, as well as the game as a whole, is vaguely similar to the Uncharted series, sans any breathtaking vistas.

This game could have been released when the PS3 first came out with the same graphics quality. While this is not hard on the eyes, details like shadow resolution seem to be lacking; jagged outlines are especially visible when viewed close-up.

 

Animation (7/10):

3D models are supposedly synthesized “real-time” with the Euphoria engine, allowing for better destructible environments (pillars can be shot down to metal beams, windows can be broken, etc.) and dynamic, realistic characters. For example, during Payne’s diving animations he hits obstacles and falls down realistically, and enemies don’t simply ragdoll when killed as they did in Max Payne 2.

Previous titles in the series used comic book type cutscenes to aid in plot advancement and character development. This time, Rockstar has introduced full 3D motion cutscenes that are rendered using the in-game engine.

Rockstar calls this a “motion comic book,” which does a great job with the plot and helping the player view things from Payne’s perspective.

 

Gameplay (7/10):

Max Payne 3 allows for some control over gameplay, including four different button layouts, options for reticle acceleration, vertical sensitivity, and horizontal sensitivity.

Max Payne 3 also includes the cover system used in the Grand Theft Auto series, which is a mediocre implementation that doesn’t allow for moving from cover to cover.

Several strange bugs can be found throughout the game: sometimes, the audio would not play during the cutscenes, and/or the subtitles would be completely out of sync.

Other times, it would appear as if you had eliminated every enemy in an area but were still locked into the location as if you hadn’t. These aren’t game-breaking, but they are certainly strange for what is intended to be a triple-A title from a very well-respected studio.

 

Story (6/10):

It’s always refreshing to see a shooter that isn’t set in the Middle East. Unfortunately, São Paulo doesn’t really lend itself to some magnificent storytelling, following Payne as the Branco family recruits him as a bodyguard, while flashbacks reveal Payne’s history.

The game’s story as a whole seems to lack the sense of scale and the epic quality that many other titles capture well. By the end of the game the story takes a rather silly direction that has Payne on basically a one-man crusade after a complete and sudden lifestyle change.

 

Verdict:

So is this game worth $60? Not necessarily. It isn’t a bad game, but it isn’t exactly great. Character development is slightly better than other similar titles, but the story lacks dimension, and the gameplay is really crippled by console controls. The way the story ends wraps up most loose ends nicely, but the way Payne acts near the end, and the way his personality changes, is sudden and slightly unrealistic. Waiting for the PC version, with its improved graphics, extras, and much better controls may be your best choice.