It's been over 9 years since we last saw Max Payne. So what's he been up to all this time? Well, he no longer works as a cop, and his apperance has changed dramasticly. He now lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil, doing private security for a wealthy busninessman, named Rodrigo Branco. Max also has a drink problem, well, he's a alcoholic. His life is upside down, and just when you don't think it could get any worse, it does. Rodrigo's trophie wife is kidnapped, and it's down to Max to find her. Without typing any spoilers, I'll leave it there.
Rockstar Games have done an incredible job with the back-story to Max's life. As soon as you start to watch, you will be dragged into the story just like a film. It's very engaging, and the visual style is astonishing. Custceens are represented in a comic-book style, followed by disorientated images and fuzzy colours. It does seem slightly overdone, but it's a nice way to represent Max's addiction to painkillers and whisky.
Max Payne 3 might look different to it's predecessor, but the main core mechanic
is still here. Max can once again enter bullet-time, allowing him to shoot enemies with greater accuracy in slow-motion. Players can either press the right bumper stick to enter bullet-time, or you can tap the RB button, resulting in Max diving into mid-air. Not only does it look great, it's totally thrilling, and intense. It adds to the nerve-wracking firefights, and even though it becomes repetitive, it still never gets old.
The controls are surprisingly fluid. You always feel in full control of Max. Max can rotate in
any angle, allowing him to pick off enemies from all direction, whether it be in mid-air
or lying on the floor. Each time you are down to your last enemy in an area, the game
will trigger a kill-cam. This shows a close up of your bullet whizzing into an enemies meaty flesh. Each enemy reacts close to realism, as they get shot in different parts of the body. It might seem disturbing to watch, but it's actually very fun and satisfying.
Max isn't all diving in mid-air though. The game does also feature a cover system, which
will need to be used occasionally. It feels very similar to the cover system in GTA IV. Entering cover allows Max to blind fire at enemies. It also gives you a chance to check
your surroundings. Whilst slow-mo makes picking off enemies much easier, it doesn't mean enemies give you an easy time. The AI in Max Payne 3 is surprisingly intelligent. They will constantly move to try and flank you, and it keeps you on your feat.
The single-player experience clocks in at around 10-12 hours. As well as this, you can also play Classic mode. This has you playing through levels of the campaign, trying to beat time limits and set a score. The classic New York Minute also makes a return, which was features in both previous games.
One of the biggest surprises to Max Payne 3 is actually it's competitive multiplayer. The bullet-time is also carried over here. It might seem confusing on how it would work, but it works surprisingly well. When an enemy is in your line of sight, you and your enemy goes
slow-mo, instead of everyone else around you.
There's a variety of modes available. From your typical deathmatch and team deathmatch mode, but one of the most interesting modes is Gang Wars. This is a five-round team mode that has a different objective from round to round. The first round could be having to find and kill a VIP, the second round could be to defend an area, or plant a bomb. Each
objective varies depending on the outcome of the teams score. It's a very interesting setup and takes multiplayer to an all new level.
With a compelling story, state of the art visual, and fun multiplayer, Max Payne 3 has
certainly been worth waiting for.
Review by Gareth Smith