Popping Pills in Max Payne 3 | First Playthrough
I’ve been really behind on games lately; between helping out here and work, I’ve let several games sneak right by me so I’ve been trying to find and play the ones I missed. One of those games I’m talking about is Max Payne 3. It came out in May and I’m sure I’m not the only one that wasn’t sure how it’d turn out, so I passed on it originally.
I have to say, before I get into anything, I really enjoyed this game after picking it up a few weeks ago. In a generation where I have few games that I revisit for the single player campaign, this one fits the bill perfectly. The story isn’t ground-breaking but it’s good. Graphics look really good at times and then things don’t look so great at other times but the real shine in this game, though, is it’s cinematic story-telling, technical achievement (we’ll go into that later), and super fun game play.
Max Payne 3 continues Max’s downhill story and from the start, you know that Max has issues. The excessive scenes of him drinking and smoking himself towards death happen a little too much but it really drives into your head the fact that this guy is a mess. Through that, you feel something for Max if you look past the repetitiveness; Max needs something to live for. His past is as screwed up as his present as you relive moments from his past until the story matches up with where Max is in the present.
Max’s background as a cop proves he’s a worthy candidate for being security for one of the most powerful families in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This all happens after a run-in with the son of a local mob boss in a bar where Max meets his future partner, Passos. Max manages to get into a scuffle with the local mob and Passos is his way out. This Passos character works for the private security company Max eventually joins and the story runs from there. A group of terrorists target the family he’s protecting and chaos ensues.
The cut scenes really propelled the story for me. I not only got to see, in detail, from Max’s perspective what was going on but the presentation of these scenes really set the mood for the story. One of Max’s addictions is painkillers and the cut scenes, as well as game play in some parts, show the blurred vision/distorted film filter look like a Tony Scott movie. It’s overdone a tad, but I think it ultimately helps the style of the game and set’s it apart from other third person shooters. This is my first Max Payne game and aside from the GTA series, I really haven’t played anything like it.
Storytelling is one thing but a game has to play well, too. Third-person shooters need to control well or it’ll just break the game. Thankfully, the devs over at Rockstar put A LOT of time into perfecting Max’s abilities as well as controls. The few quirks with the RAGE engine concerning movement are still there but it doesn’t hamper game play much. The attention to detail with things like reload animations and the way Max moves to the way he carries weapons is amazing when you look at it from a technical standpoint.
Gunfights look and sound awesome in this game and its one of the reasons I’ll keep going back to Max Payne 3. I found myself dying on purpose sometimes just to reload the checkpoint and try a section over again to make me look like even more of a badass. Pulling off stunts with Max’s Bullet Time was a necessity at certain points, but proved to be just good fun at other times. There were many occasions where I dove in bullet time just to get the drop on one guy. But hey, it looked freaking cool. A nice touch is your bullet in slow motion killing the last guy in an area; while in slow mo, you can keep pressing the trigger and sit back and enjoy the bloody mess you’re making.
Rockstar’s RAGE engine matched with Euphoria technology really made this game stand out from the rest. Load times are almost non-existent thanks to the loading being done during cut scenes. Gun fights are a spectacle with virtually everything in the environment taking damage and showing it in great detail. Everything down to glass breaking, papers flying off desks, lights being shot out, and concrete being broke off of columns really added to the fun of the game play.
I tried out the game’s multiplayer after the campaign and I have to say, it was a bit underwhelming. I didn’t have any friends to play with and I honestly didn’t have a ton of fun playing by myself. I may revisit it someday but the one or two unique modes like Paynekiller weren’t enough to reel me in. Like I said, though, that’s probably because you need to play with people you know, form a gang. As far as progression goes, it looked pretty standard with an in-game shop to buy guns with currency won during matches.
I’d say that if anyone is looking for a Red Dead-esque shooter, or any third-person shooter really, they should try Max Payne 3. I had so much fun playing the campaign that I didn’t want it to end. Multiplayer didn’t grab me like the campaign did, but all those awesome things I mentioned are there, too.
It’s a shame to hear that Rockstar didn’t benefit from having a title like this financially, but I don’t think they regret what they created. Max Payne 3 is a masterpiece of sorts, you just have to play it for yourself before you past judgement.