Max Payne 3 Review

Rockstar did have some good ideas in terms of MP3 multiplayer. Players can use Bullet Time against each other effectively, once they’ve earned the privilege. Activating Bullet Time only affects people within your line of sight or with you in theirs, so while it’s not a universal effect, it still has game-changing capabilities without being an instant-win button. Rockstar also added several other useful “Bursts” other than Bullet Time that can change the course of the game. Intuition, for example, can be activated to show where opponents are on the map; another burst gives you or your teammates better weapons; still another is a health boost. These Bursts build up as you kill guys and avoid death, and have three tiers of awesomeness.

Between the Bursts, the customizable equipment and the perks you can earn by spending money you earn in multipalyer, Max Payne 3 has the foundation of a cool mutliplayer mode. It breaks down, again, with a lack of serious innovation. Team deathmatch is as vanilla as it gets. There’s the Gang Wars mode, which has players battling through five scenarios in an attempt to overcome the other team in some slightly story-based gameplay, but even those game types aren’t too imaginative: hold turf, capture bags of money, shoot dudes. Payne Killer mode, the other big game type, has players ganging up to kill a single player who takes on the slightly souped-up role of Max Payne. Best him and you become him: It’s a juggernaut mode, and we’ve played it before.

The multiplayer of Max Payne 3 isn’t bad, by any means, it’s just not especially inspired. My time playing MP3 multi was dominated by the old bane of my existence: snipers. As in most shooters, he who is the best sniper is the winner of the game, and in a run-and-gun, fast-paced title like Max Payne 3, constantly being pinned down by distant, un-fight-able snipers was just not fun. Oh, and the game lacks any kind of mute function for teammates, no matter how close to the microphone they might be allowing a five-year-old to scream.

Hanging out with Max Payne again after all these years is great, and if there’s a reason to play it, that’s it. But Max Payne 3 ins’t a stellar game. It’s a competent one that puts on the shoes of its predecessors and finds them a little too big. Maybe five or six years ago, Max Payne 3 would have been impressive, especially in an evolving third-person shooter market. Today, though, it feels like a retread of a retread, without even adding the kind of elements we’d expect from Rockstar or Max Payne, like powerful stories and interesting design.

I still like Max Payne the character and his story in MP3. I still like the gameplay that Rockstar revitalized and modernized somewhat in this installment. And I still like the presentation of everything that goes on in the game. But Max Payne 3 by no means blows the doors off, and it doesn’t include much in the way of a reason to keep playing outside trying to climb the leaderboards of its points-based Arcade mode. There’s just not enough new here to warrant the full price tag.

Pros:

  • Quality voice acting
  • Great presentation
  • Max Payne is possibly the baddest of bad-asses
  • Max’s personal story is a great one, and a rarity in video games
  • Sufficiently old-school gameplay abounds, with modern sensibilities like cover
  • Bullet Time is still really fun
  • The Arcade mode can be addicting
  • Passable multiplayer with some good ideas

Cons:

  • “Passable” is about all the multiplayer ever becomes
  • Nothing really new or different here
  • The story fizzles and becomes convoluted and uninteresting
  • Levels are basically always the same situation: shoot, shoot, shoot
  • Too many enemy factions make it hard to care why you’re killing everyone
  • Cover system neuters run-and-gun gameplay a little too much
  • Collectible “clues” are really irritating and add nothing to the game
  • Fails to maintain the subtleties or intelligence of earlier titles in the series

Final Score: 70/100

Follow Hornshaw and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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11 Comments on Max Payne 3 Review

Austin

On May 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm

This review may be rather fair, but this is still one of the best games I’ve played all year.

Phil Hornshaw

On May 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm

@Austin

I must say I enjoyed playing it. It’s just hard to recommend at $60.

Swcloud

On May 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Good and FAIR review.
My only gripe with it is that you seem to fail to mention the complete lack of loading screens keeping the game constantly going without ever giving you a moment to pause.

Mr Glassback

On May 22, 2012 at 6:45 am

I thought the story and game were excellent on first playthrough and the opportunity for re playability is there with all the clues and golden gun parts, but the cut scenes are a pain in the arse. Only on second playthrough did I realise how many there are and how many of them cant be skipped.
Rockstar are the masters of DLC though so I won’t be getting rid quite yet.

JawaEsteban

On May 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Thanks for an honest and fair review, Phil. I’m going to buy MP3, but I think I’ll be waiting until it’s priced a lot lower than $60. Steam sale six months from now, or something similar. Good read.

Jwiggs

On May 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Whoever wrote this review is a retard, this game is amazing. The story is awesome, the fluid movements are uncanny, and the bullet time cam scenes are unforgiving. This game is brutal, they did an amazing job with the gore factor. Multiplayer has alot going for it as well (ROCKSTAR IS THE FIRST TO USE SLOWMO IN A LIVE GAME WITHOUT ANY ISSUES). If youre a fan of shootouts, a great story, and gore pick this game up.

PTTREAN

On May 30, 2012 at 1:01 am

I am enjoying the multiplayer a lot. It is more than passable. If you give it time and get used to the pace of it, it can be extremely addicting and tons of fun.

dogsoutside

On June 15, 2012 at 6:20 am

you people that complain about the price of a game make me laugh. You’d go out and drink at a bar for $100 plus, and not think anything of it. Stop complaining and grow up.

ThePrion

On June 15, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I completely agree with the review. As I was playing the game it felt forgettable in the first hour already. Rockstar’s touch doesn’t feel right to Max Payne, it’s just not his style wave the big guns and trigger such big explosions all around, it felt like I was playing John Woo’s Stranglehold all over again, repetitive all the way. It is well polished and technically great but lacks the finesse and even as said the weirdness of the previous titles that built up such a classic atmosphere. The story is anything but great, the conspiracy presented is ridiculous and surely convoluted, and being a brazilian myself I could only laugh at such naive depiction. Despite all the high hopes I had for the game, I can’t see it standing as a worthy and remarkable sequence for the series.

Tiagonal

On June 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I couldn’t keep off thinking about GTAV playing Max Payne 3.. The first was Max Payne was epic.. but now it’s a rockstar :(

Phil Hornshaw

On June 25, 2012 at 8:30 am

@dogsoutside

I’m failing to see the point of your comparison. What does a bar tab have to do with video game value?