I’m not a huge fan of Rockstar Games. If you read last year’s Review A Bad Game Day, you can see the fury I had with Grand Theft Auto V (and my opinion still stands on that) but I believe this game showed their side of true quality, provide a great sense of a cinematic level design, and a story that felt like the early 2000’s that I completely enjoyed. I can happily say that this is one of their best games they’ve ever release.
Max Payne 3 got a lot of things right. After being delayed for a while, they put the time to use to deliver a product so alluring, yet gritty, with a story that show our protagonist deal with lost, abuse, and redemption. We got to see Max deal with his emotions that was hard to get through. It’s not just a cover base, bullet time, adventure with snarky one liners but a game that actually has a balance in its challenge.
With most of the game taking place in Sao Paulo, Max narrates his adventure on how he ended up on this roller coaster of a job. Hired by the Branco family, Max is using the time to drink yet do his job as a body guard until things get hectic and he must go on this mission of saving Fabiana Branco. He’s also trying to unravel this mystery of attackers and what lies more to his partner Raul Passos. Of course there will be twist and turns but execution in the story and how it all reveals flows smoothly. Plus, Max being bald head for half the game is a great transformation for his look. It reflects more of his inner self.
Now the game play does has its ups and down to it. Some shoot outs do take long and can easily demolish you with some unfair hits, but it feels good when you can slow down time and get some great head shots in. When the last enemy dies, it shows a bullet going through one of his body parts to conclude the section you were in. Some sections have Max being in multiple set pieces. For example, he’s gliding on a rolling desk and shooting snipers outside the police station. It even does a Quick Time event that pays off.
Though most of the game is a flash back (which at points, there’s a flash back in the actual flash back that is the game), you learn what Max has been up to and what drives him to do the things he does. With clues you can find throughout the 14 chapters, you learn more of what Max is getting into and what led to him leaving his home in New Jersey. I believe when he comes to terms of his alcohol abuse and the realization of his actions, you don’t feel bad killing people just for progress or achievements but that you have to help Max do his job.
The boat fight in Chapter 5 is one the best sections in the game. It changes the flow of the cover base segments. Plus, blowing up boats and environments in this game feel so over the top but tremendous in play. I also like that Max will help guide you in his narration to the next area you have to visit.
It’s also a blast collecting the Gold Gun Pieces and running through the game with them. If you don’t care about trophies or achievements, it’s a good way to just run through the game and have to worry less about ammo.
I love this game and what it does to Max Payne. Telling his story and how he came to accept things, still be a detective, and become a better person. If you haven’t played this game, give it a go. Like Max say “If I’m gonna die, I’m gonna be a pain in the ass”. So be a pain in their ass and have a bullet filled ballet of fun.
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