When we last saw Max Payne, he was a broken, beaten man. He had lost his wife and his infant daughter to a conspiracy of drugs and violence that involved common street thugs, narcotics kingpins and even members of the US government. When he searched for answers with another revenge-driven vigilante, Mona Sax, he lost her too, sadly, after he started to fall in love with her. When https://www.trueachievements.com/Max-Payne-3-xbox-360.htm
opens, it's clear not much has changed for our anti-hero in the eight years he's been away. For gamers, on the other hand, plenty has changed, but some series staples make welcome, if somewhat questionable returns. Rockstar improved on what worked earlier in the series and fixed what was broken to offer a complete package of a shooter and a welcome return to one of gaming's most robust characters.Story
Max's personal losses will always take their toll on his psyche, but almost a decade later, he has found washing away the memories with hard liquor and chasing them down with painkillers seems to keep them out of his thoughts as best as he can hope for. He is disgruntled, disheveled, and disassociated with the world around him. He's no longer on the NYPD. He's no longer doing much of anything actually, besides drinking and passing out in his dirty hole in the wall of an apartment. One day, he finds himself in a bar (where else?), when he runs into an old face from his police academy days named Raul Passos. Raul sees the condition Max is in and after they escape a scuffle with some rich punks and their influential mob families, Passos offers Max a job: Private security down in Sao Paolo, Brazil. All he would have to do is look after an affluent family at their parties and public goings-ons and he'd have himself a new career. Sadly for Max, nothing ever goes as planned, and usually it goes to Hell.
The character of Max Payne is unquestionably one of the best protagonists in the industry. His inner monologues, thankfully returning and with the same voice actor, James McCaffrey, give great insight to the story as it unfolds. Like the previous two Max Payne
games, there is a wide list of names and faces to follow as his mundane job turns into a web of lies, murder, and competing motives. Max's sarcastic, weary perspective brings back the noir atmosphere of the previous games, but also act as an ongoing play-by-play of all of the otherwise hard to follow sequences.
Rockstar really fleshed out the character of Max into someone dynamic and worth following. Alongside the superficial story of what's going on, who's killing who, and where we're going next, there is a thought-provoking psychological dilemma. Why did Max take the job in Brazil? Why does he cling to protecting this family, who he previously didn't give a damn about, when they start being abducted and murdered? It seems obvious he relates this family's struggles to his own. Where he failed to protect the Paynes, he is driven to save the Brancos. Or is he? As the story goes on, we can't be sure his motivation is redemption or desperation, and that's the question Max Payne 3
poses over the course of its 12-15 hours of gameplay. It's heady stuff for a video game, but it is a sign that the industry as a whole is moving forward, and Rockstar is again at the forefront.
In addition to the story, you also have the options of playing out each of the 14 chapters in two Arcade modes
: New York Minute and Score Attack. Score Attack is familiar in that the better you perform the higher your score, like an old-fashioned 8-bit. You get more points for causing destruction, getting headshots, and stringing together kills. New York Minute is even better. You start with a minute on the clock and have to get to the end of the level by killing enemies and earning more time as you go. It's a race against the clock and upon completion, you unlock the Hardcore difficulty of the game mode. Each mode is complete with leaderboards that can be compared to members of your Crew
, friends list, or global records.Gameplay
It's difficult to remind myself that I still have to review the actual gameplay mechanics because the story and characters are so well done, but that doesn't mean the gameplay suffers at all. In fact, Max Payne 3
offers some of the tightest, responsive shooting mechanics of any game in the genre. In Red Dead Redemption
and Grand Theft Auto IV
, Rockstar struggled to perfect the gunplay, but it was acceptable because the games were made in a sandbox style and shooting wasn't the singular basis for the gameplay.
Don't confuse this game with those games. Rockstar has created a linear shooter with a working cover system and functional, but challenging, shooting gameplay to ensure gamers want to get to the end of the crime epic.
There's a ton of guns to choose from, and even some guns have different variants like flashlights, laser sights, or automatic firing modes. You can always hold up to three guns, one large and two secondary. If you wield both secondaries at the same time, you'll drop your primary, because Max literally holds it in his hand. It isn't like other games where your arsenal, fit for a small militia, is stored conveniently under your jacket. The best part about dual-wielding is the ability to dual-wield any two one-handed guns at a time. It allowed for killer combinations like a .44 and a mirco-SMG. One thing missing from the past games was a melee function. Close-quarters combat often resulted in awkward spraying of your guns. Now Max is able to pistol whip or beat down any opponent who gets too close before normally finishing him off with a blast from his firearms. If an enemy has already fallen down due you can run up and stomp him, Dead Space
The cover system is simplistic, and deservedly so. Just like Max is slow to move due to his age and wear, he is also no tactician. Taking cover is crucial to survival, but you won't be turning corners or going cover to cover like an ex-Splinter Cell. Max moves with the same fatigue as we can hear in his voice. Rockstar's choice to not make him an action hero ensures some moments are very hard, but thankfully realistic.
Bullet Time also makes a return to the series, and it's better than ever. You build your Bullet Time meter by killing enemies or taking fire and to utilize it you have two options: Clicking in RS will slow down time immediately, or if you're feeling nostalgic, you can use Shootdodge and dive in any direction of your choosing. Bullets whiz past you as you try to line up the perfect shot in the stylish slow motion. As you land, you remain prone with a 360-degree firing range and your body twists and turns over to take aim. It's a new mechanic not seen in the series or any other game and if utilized intelligently, it can be a great tool to take out shooters. if you're near cover in this prone firing mode, you can safely revert back to the cover without harm. That saved my life countless times. Be careful though, Max reacts to the environment around him. If you dive into a wall or other obstruction, he'll brace for impact and collide with it head-on.
This is just one example of the amazing physics engine Rockstar has integrated into the system. Using an evolved Euphoria engine, as seen in previous Rockstar games, enemies now react to every bullet realistically. Shoot them in the leg and they'll limp to cover or fall down and crawl. Kill them with a few shots to the chest and they'll grab the wound with their last dying breaths before you finish them with a headshot and their now lifeless corpse falls differently than it was going to. It was fun to disable an enemy on a staircase and see them tumble to the bottom. Sometimes they'd also fire back at you from a prone position just like you can do.
The meter for Bullet Time, along with the health bar both pay tribute and return the series to its roots. While it is antiquated for a shooter made in 2012 to use health bars, it attests to the air of realism the game was going for. Due to the health bar, you'll often be looking for painkillers to heal yourself. A good way to keep your health in good shape is to fire in Bullet Time, just like the older games. You can eliminate a few enemies at a time with little damage recieved. However, you don't have to be totally reliant on it, as the game does allow for solid run-n-gunning as well, which comes in handy in the Arcade modes. When you do go down though, if you have any painkillers on hand, you'll enter Last Man Standing, which puts you into Bullet Time and gives you a few seconds to kill the man who shot you. Since the odds are heavily against you, and dying a lot should be expected, this allows you to prevent those restarts sometimes.
It's tough to do anything new with shooters, but Rockstar's interactive killcam was a lot of fun to play with. When clearing the room of the last bad guy, or killing your shooter in Last Man Standing you are given a slow motion presentation of each and every bullet riddling the poor guy. You can slow it down further with the A button, as well, which makes for a cinematic experience new to the genre as you follow that first bullet into his body and you choose to keep firing (or not) as he falls to the floor.
No game is free from criticism, however, even if Max Payne 3
comes close. On a few occasions, I experienced some bugs that required me to dashboard out and restart the game. Once I died right as I killed my enemy in Last Man Standing mode, and the game, seemingly not sure what to do, just froze up on a black screen. Another time, I entered a door that should have triggered a cutscene, but failed to do so, and I plummeted endlessly into the game world, a problem also seen in GTA IV.
Sometimes the checkpoints can also be unforgiving as well, at least on Hard. Just as I would finally get over troublesome moments, I would die shortly after at another one and have to replay both parts again.Graphics/Sound
Rockstar has never represented the pinnacle of graphics, and they've often been criticized or laughed at for some of their visuals, like the lobster claws disguising as hands in the last generation's GTA offerings. They've gotten better with this generation though, and Max Payne 3
is certainly the best they've done so far. The facial expressions aren't as stiff as even RDR's and the blood sprays and spatters in a morbidly beautiful way in each killcam. The lip-synching is also noticeably improved and subconsciously teases you with ideas of what all of this will look like in GTA V.
As stated, James McCaffrey reprises his role as the titular character, and he does another amazing job. I didn't think voice acting could be any better than LA Noire
's, but Max Payne 3
is, in fact, better. Much of the game is spoken in Portugese, and it's clear Rockstar hired actual Portugese speaking folks, and not some people to just read off a paper. The game actually works better if you don't speak Portugese, because Max doesn't either, and you can join him in the confusion. The music never domineered a scene, but it supplemented the on-screen action very well and there are a few memorable riffs throughout the story.Multiplayer
The series' first try at multiplayer is largely derivative of other games in the genre, but a few unique additions make it stand out, if only a little. Firstly, the use of Bullet Time online works surprisingly well, despite people believing it could never work at all. You can play standard deathmatch, free-for-all or objective-based team modes, but the best mode is Gang Wars.
This mode infuses a narrative into the mix and also allows for each match to play out differently. The match is divided into rounds, and each game type after the first one is decided by the results of the previous one. If one opposing player does remarkably well on a team deathmatch mode, the next round may see your team have to eliminate him or her. Maybe you won an objective-based round, the next round will turn into a turf war with your enemies taking back what they feel belongs to them. The mode borrows plot points from the story mode and works in conjunction with it. I deliberately avoided this mode until I finished the story, fearing spoilers, but they would have been out of context anyways, so you needn't worry.
The last element that stands out for Max Payne 3
's multiplayer is the introduction of Crews. Think clans but on a much bigger scale. You can join a Crew of up to 300 people, and Rockstar promises to increase that number even more in the future. You can set rival gangs to compete with, earn XP just by having others in your Crew play the game, or track a ton of stats on the Rockstar Social Club
. The developers are touting that the Crews function will carry over directly into GTA V and other future multiplayer-enabled games, with your Crew intact. There's even a burgeoning TrueAchievements Crew
Much of the multiplayer feels like a third person Call of Duty
. The action is frantic and fast-paced on maps of varying sizes and landscapes, and you'll probably die a lot on some of the more popular game modes. You have perks, called Bursts, that come in three tiers. But, besides the aforementioned innovations, Max Payne 3
's online modes are, for better or worse, familiar. Achievements
This is not an easy list, but it is a fun one. There are a lot of difficulty level achievements, two of which you can only unlock after beating the game. You also have to do a range of missable things through the different missions like "Kill X number of enemies while Y". I missed a lot of these because I played on Hard and they'd be much easier on a lesser difficulty. There are a few collectibles too, namely golden guns, which come in parts scattered throughout each chapter, and Clues, which act as story supplements like newspapers, photos, or other things you may find in any given area. Luckily, the in-game menu tracks everything you have, even naming the items whether you have them or not. There are also a few multiplayer achievements, but the only one of any great length is the Level 50 achievement, a staple of Rockstar's games.
If you're looking for a completion, it's going to take well over 40 hours, and probably over 50 or 60, depending on how much you boost compared to playing legitimately online.Conclusion
Rockstar is a developer known for attention to detail, and Max Payne 3
stands as a testament to their commitment in that regard. Taking the reigns from Remedy meant filling some big shoes, but it's unlikely anyone was better suited to do it. The story stands as one of the most cohesive and thought provoking in a genre run amok with recycled alien invasions and bored military battles, and the gameplay adds a unique feel and tight gameplay without having to reinvent the wheel. If you're into the genre -- and who isn't? -- Max Payne 3
is a necessary addition to your gaming library.
The multiplayer is good but not great, but with a surprising amount of replay value and food for thought in the story mode, it's a game that stands out from the rest in the most abused genre in the industry's history. Max Payne 3
is the shooter that might ruin all other shooters for you.