by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
There is a cutscene in Max Payne 3 which takes place in a strip club where the camera switches back and forth between a topless dancer and the title character and a man having a conversation about men with guns. That’s the main indication that Rockstar has taken over the reigns in this critically acclaimed film noir franchise.
Rockstar’s influences are few, but noticeable. Many of the characters feel like they could easily be slotted into the next Grand Theft Auto game without anybody questioning it. The story too, wouldn’t feel out of place in other games from the developer. It is more compelling than your average gritty action game these days, but nothing you haven’t seen before. Payne’s internal monologue does a good job of guiding you through what he’s thinking and fleshing out the details, and his dry, jaded outlook on the world provides some decent comic relief at times.
More rugged than usual
Max is working as a bodyguard for a rich and infamous family in Sao Paolo, Brazil. He feels disdain towards most of the family and the lifestyle they lead, but a certain amount of loyalty to those in need and to those paying him – evidenced by an early section where Max puts himself in danger to save others by hanging from a helicopter shooting rocket propelled grenades out of the air. Early on, the wife of the head of the family, Fabiana, is kidnapped under Payne’s watch, and he feels responsible for the kidnapping due to his drinking. Following disaster after disaster, he decides to take it upon himself to get her back. The result is an epic trail of vengeance across Brazil.
Drinking and pill popping is a serious problem for Payne at this time in his life, having been living at the bottom of the bourbon glass for five years. All the substance abuse has taken a toll on his body, and although he can still dive through windows and down stairs, he doesn’t get up quite as quickly as you might be used to from previous games. On top of this, he somehow manages to look more rugged than usual. Other than that though, he’s still the same old Max Payne, with his signature John Woo style slow motion diving, punching and killing. Oh, so much killing.
Killing the final enemy in a firefight triggers a mini cutscene where you can control time, the camera focuses in on your bullet and you can continue firing, allowing you to utterly eviscerate the poor soul who was foolish enough to get in your way. It seems overly gory, and strangely out of place, as Payne has no real emotional reason to hate these people. Admittedly, these scenes do make for some really cool cinematic moments. The game tracks statistics such as how many kills you have achieved with a certain weapon, whether you did it from behind cover, or whilst in slow motion and so on. There is also a running total of how many men you have killed throughout the course of the game, and by the end that number is scary. Horrific, even. But then you grab a guy, push him through a window, enter slow motion and start firing at enemies below as you fall and you forget all about it whilst attempting to muffle an evil guffaw.
Gritty excitement, great cinematic moments and fun run and gun gameplay.
Multiplayer experience is nothing new. Occasional performance dip on highest graphical settings.