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Max Payn3 - First Impressions - Destructoid




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See what I did there?



Oh boy.

Now I'll admit something I'm not proud of. And I'm especially not proud of it after playing Max Payne 1 and 2 for the first time only a couple months ago.....

.... well, that's exactly it. I waited until my later gamer years (21 is so old) to play some of the best examples of third-person shooting.

HATE ME ALL YOU WANT, but I at least was aware of the franchise around since the second one came out. And I've even owned a copy of both Max Payne 1 and 2 for at least 2 years or so. Which brings me to another problem I've faced and am still facing: I don't fucking play my own games enough. I honestly don't wanna bother counting the games I own that I either haven't played or finished. I think I might bleed out my wrists.

But lemme tell you. Playing Max Payne 1 for the first time was something else.



Unfortunately though, I was playing it on the consoles. Which has this particular game suffering from some usually, ever so wonky aiming controls.

Despite, I was pushing on through because of the occasional thrills I got from all that "shootdodging" and the great as hell story. Even though at this point I am wondering how I should take/should've taken the story. Serious? Parody? Serious with some slightly humorous undertones?????? I mean the actors were obviously... actors.. with hastily thrown-together outfits and often inappropriate smirks on their faces (especially from Max himself) and some things about the presentation/story could seem rather trope-ish for the noir-indulged.

Either way, it was great.

Thankfully, I am now enjoying it on PC with far superior controls and am having a blast. The gameplay now shines that much more than it did with my first experience. Gunfights are now exhilarating, the often close calls are now fun instead of frustrating and the story is, surprisingly, now taking more of a backseat. I guess I just know what happens and everything. Ya know.

I did dabble in Max Payne 2. But, only because I didn't wanna tarnish my experience with the first one at all, I quit for now pretty early on. But you better believe I'll be heading back soon after Max Payne 3.

Especially considering how even much more Max Payne 3 is getting me into the franchise and the sympathetic hero that is Payne himself.



Even when I had started up Max Payne 1, my hype for Max Payne 3 was only around a so-so level. Heck, it looked fun and was giving me an excuse to play some more of the games I hadn't yet touched, and that was good enough for me.

It wasn't until maybe a couple or so weeks ago that my hype for it suddenly shot through my apartment roof and I couldn't wait. I was even super pumped for the multiplayer and I don't think I've experienced such a thing since the near-release of Rainbow Six: Vegas 2.

So I've played up until around the end of Chapter eye eye eye and it's been great. With a few problems to note, as well as the positives.

For one, the positives. And there are many. Including the super smooth flow thanks to the seemless transition from cutscene to gamplay, the as-always awesome story and presentation from R* titles, incredibly high attention to detail in the environment, the surprisingly addition of GOLDEN GUN UNLOCKS(!!!!!!!) through collecting hidden gun parts and the also surprising amount of challenge.

I'm currently playing on the Medium setting, which is merely the second option of 5 difficulties, and I've died more times than I could keep up with. Granted, about half of them were due to naivety because of the difference in feel from Max Payne 1/2, but still. You can't exactly blatblatblat willy-nilly. Cover is a necessity and enemies aren't stupid.

From the very start of the game, even, the game has been impressing. Just from a simple press of the start button, a somewhat lengthy and superbly done intro scene starts up and leads into the main menus. Classy.

I've heard some complain that the famous shootdodge mechanic has lost it's super effectiveness. Which confuses me greatly, as I've been using it the exact same way as I've been in Max Payne 1. It's still a great means of getting from cover to cover whilst also taking out some baddies along the way with as little risk as possible. Now I don't know how some may've been using it, but it still works my way.

With that said, if you're not used to using shootdodge strategically, get ready to do so. Bullets will hurt considerably.

Also: Shoot dude once with the shotgun, leap into shootdodge, take painkillers (yes, the animation actually shows) mid-jump and immediately pull the trigger again for the final blow.. kill cam initiates.

MY GOD.



But damn, there's always at least some bad. Just like those nasty whiskey hangovers, eh Max?

Even after playing for a little while, the on-foot controls continue to occasionally feel a bit sluggish. It feels like a slower RDR. Which is... odd, considering the change in gameplay. Aren't shooters like Max Payne usually smooth and fast? The gunplay itself feels just fine of course, sort of like a refined GTAIV, but I do also find it a bit jarring that R* yet again insisted on using a modified GTAIV engine to make the game. That makes RDR, then LA Noire and now Max Payne 3. And Max Payne was already sitting pretty comfortably in it's older, much different (and a fair bit better, I think) gameplay engine.

Then there's the cutscenes. And it's not the film effects I'm hearing people whine about, it's that they're sometimes too long. I'm starting to already sense another case of Uncharted: Golden Abyss-cious, here (half gameplay, half cutscene... not to be confused with MGS4's 1/5th gameplay, 4/5ths cutscene). Only instead of numerous cutscenes, they're now just fewer but longer.

Despite their quality, they could've toned them down a bit.

At the very least, it seems R* remembers that Max Payne had an emphasis on story (a little too well).

Oh and there's a minor annoyance with the eventual disc-swapping (whoop, 360!). But it's only a very very minor one.



So far, it seems the game will certainly more than impress by the end. I may end up getting more used to using Max's feet and I know the story will end pretty impactfully. If all else fails, there's the New York Minute mode which I assume will take out a lot of those pesky (but awesome!) cutscenes.

Max has noticeably come a long way. In some cases, for the worse. However, the overall switch to the modern era under both of R*'s wings has been good to the old boy.



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