It's almost surreal if you really stop to think about it. We've been waiting for a new Max Payne game since Fall of Max Payne, which if I recall correctly was all the way back in 2003. And all those nine years later, this game shows up. To say it's a step above what we had with the series before would be a textbook understatement. To say it's the best Max Payne game yet - well, obviously that's up for debate, but for me this is a foregone conclusion. Then again, it isn't exactly fair, as the new release has several generations of technology separating it from the previous entries, not to mention a lot of
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On PC, Max Payne 3 is a proper DX11 product, although it does suffer from that annoying tendency to have the in-engine cutscenes look a lot worse than the game proper. At any rate, if you like handsome graphics, this may not be the pack leader per se, but it's a decidedly nice-looking game with some
The options are not super-detailed, but give enough control over your experience to make it clear you're playing this on PC rather than console. The one thing that did bother me is that you can't get to the options screen when starting the game as far as I could tell, as you are basically forced to sit through the opening cinematic. You also have to sign up for Rockstar's Social Club in order to activate and play Max Payne 3. This gives us access to very detailed stats and of course the more in-depth aspects of the multiplayer, but does require one more password to remember, handing over your details, etc. etc. Rockstar games were awesome before without asking us to do this, and I'm not entirely sure it's necessary now.
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In the build up to the launch over the last year or so, somewhat of a debate arose whether or not this is a legitimate Max Payne title. If the dark streets of NYC are nowhere to be seen, and if there's no snow or rain, then surely it's not Max Payne? I think anyone who sees it like that is quite wrong, and I've already stated my assertion that to me this is the finest release in the franchise. First of all, the writing is good, with sarcastic/deadpan delivery coming in thick and fast. And you know it's Max Payne alright when you hear that good old mob-movie music playing over the title screen. In case you were worried, James McCaffrey is back as the voice (and in some cases the motion captured-person) of Max Payne, and he sounds just like he did back in the first two
There are plenty of characters about, all of them very well done with superb capture and voice acting. You will soon come to like your partner Raul Passos (performed by Julian Dean), and many of the the other characters. Since Max finds himself primarily in Sao Paolo this time, it's quite commendable that supporting and background characters do speak Portuguese, although overall the major dialog does go to English. The story is told "live" rather than via graphic novel style, and Max doesn't sound like a poet anymore - he talks like a real person instead of going on about rain pouring from the skies like sheets of lead, a damp cold chill descending on my soul. Well, that may not be an accurate quote but you know what I mean.
Continued on page 2. I don't want to give the story away and I only did play the first two hours or so, but suffice it to say Max has seen better days. He's still the same ascerbic character, but has more depth and emotion now, getting drunk, smoking, even openly crying right in front of us. To say he's down on his luck would not be accurate - Max is definitely in his element here. But the years have taken their toll on him. For anyone who's never played the first two games, the story won't be a problem. You can hop in and enjoy it on its own, though many of the references will be lost on you. Come to think of it, it's not made immediately clear why Max ended up in Brazil, but I'm guessing that exposition comes later in the story.
As far as action goes, this is basically a mix between classic Max Payne and your typical third-person cover shooter. Bullet time is back, and can be activated either on its own or by going into one of Max's bullet opera dives. The world is riddled with convenient stuff to take cover behind, which I'm sure many purists may find quite annoying. I mean, Max needs a cover mechanic? Personally I think he does, as this is a tough game. Even on normal, you get blown away by the many hundreds of opponets often. They are more bullet-spongy than the baddies in the first two titles, which can be odd at times
As a whole, cover and aiming work well, but can be a tad too sticky and slightly inconsistent at times. There's more variety to the settings, sniping from a helicopter, and lots of shaky cam, making Max Payne 3 somewhat reminiscent of Kane and Lynch 2, which is ironic because the latter was essentially an
You should definitely get back on the Payne train for this one. Shooter fans will love it for the non-stop action, story fans will get into the clever writing, and long-standing Max supporters will find a much more meaningful character to like. Haven't tried the multiplayer yet, but I hear it's quite alright, making this a very full package, which on PC clocks in at almost 30GB. I believe Rockstar have delivered the goods with this highly anticipated release, but do let us know what you think! Which quickly devolves into a shoot-out!
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